Senior journalist, CPI(M) associate 'Berlin' Kunjananthan passes away at 96

He was a correspondent of the now defunct pro-Left weekly ‘Blitz’ in erstwhile East Germany, and his long stay there earned him the prefix 'Berlin'.
Berlin Kunjananthan
Berlin Kunjananthan
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Senior journalist, writer and CPI(M) fellow traveller 'Berlin' Kunjananthan Nair died on Monday, August 9, party sources said in Kannur. Kunjananthan (96), had not been keeping well for the past few years and he passed away at his residence in Narath village due to age-related ailments. Closely associated with the undivided Communist Party and with CPI(M) after the split in the party, Kunjananthan became European correspondent of the Left publications in India in the early 1960s. He was the correspondent of the now defunct pro-Left weekly Blitz, and his long stay in erstwhile East Germany earned him the prefix 'Berlin' with his name.

During his nearly three decade-long career as a journalist in East Germany, Kunjananthan was in touch with many leaders of the erstwhile socialist block. Joining the communist movement in his younger age, Kunjananthan became the founder secretary of Balasangham -- children's organisation wing of the then undivided Communist Party -- in 1935. He became the party card holder in 1939. A year later he was jailed in connection with the Morazha incident – a famous peasant movement that occurred in Morazha in Kannur during the independence struggle.

Kunjananthan was the youngest representative of the Communist party's first party congress held in Bombay in 1943. He worked underground in Bombay for the party during the 1945-46 period. Later, he worked for the party in Calcutta and New Delhi. When EMS Namboodiripad became the general secretary of the undivided Communist party in 1957, Kunjananthan was appointed as his private secretary.

In 1958, he went to the Soviet Union and graduated from the Party School in Marxism-Leninism and Political Philosophy. Kunjananthan had attended the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that took place in Moscow in 1959.

Kunjananthan was expelled from the CPI(M) in 2005 after he took sides with VS Achuthanandan to criticise the party then headed by Pinarayi Vijayan. He returned to the party fold 10 years later in 2015. Kunjananthan has also authored several books. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly VD Satheesan condoled Nair's death.

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