People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 23, 2007
COMRADE P RAMAMURTI BIRTH CENTENARY
An Exceptional Leader
COMRADE P Ramamurti was one of the pioneering leaders of the Communist Party and the working class movement in India. The birth centenary observance of Comrade PR which begins on September 20, 2007 is to be commemorated in a manner which brings to life his great contributions as a communist leader, organiser of the working class, ideologue and brilliant parliamentarian.
Like other great communist leaders, Comrade PR began his journey as a political worker while being a student. From the thick of the freedom struggle and the Congress party, PR joined the Congress Socialist Party and took the final step of embracing Marxism and the Communist Party. This political journey mirrored that of the great communist leaders of South India like P Sundarayya, E M S Namboodiripad and A K Gopalan. It was not accidental that all these four leaders were part of the nucleus which formed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964. He remained in the leadership of the Party, in the central committee and the Polit Bureau for long years.
Comrade PR began organising workers in the trade unions in 1936. From then onwards began his lifelong mission to build a working class movement which would be armed with the revolutionary ideology to achieve socialism.
One of the founders of the Communist Party in Tamilnadu, PR’s was a life of courage and sacrifice. He spent eight years in jail and five years underground. He was elected to Madras Legislative Assembly in 1952 while in jail – an event which made a big political impact.
Recognising his leadership abilities, he was elected to the central committee and the Polit Bureau in the third Congress of the Party in 1953.
A file photo of First Polit Bureau of CPI(M) with Comrade PR seated at the extreme left in the front row.
The outstanding feature of Comrade PR was that he was a versatile leader. No other person matched him in combining so many skills. He was unmatched in his ability to conceptualise the Party’s ideology and convey it with great lucidity to the working class. He was a brilliant orator in Tamil, English and Hindi. He was a skilled writer who could turn out erudite pieces on the most complicated subjects. He was an able organiser and a skilled parliamentarian.
It was these qualities of PR which proved to be of great value to the Party and the working class movement through all the ups and downs of the political history of the country.
His steadfast adherence to Marxism-Leninism found him in the front ranks in the fight against revisionism in the Communist movement. He played a significant role in the struggle against revisionism and the formation of the CPI(M). In all the ideological polemics in defence of the Marxist approach in the early sixties, the contribution of Comrade PR could be seen. At the international level when revisionism and Left sectarianism developed, he fought unerringly against both deviations.
With the formation of the CITU, it fell upon PR to be the key organiser. He steadfastly fought for the line of unity and struggle. His role in the building of the CITU was substantial. Comrade PR was always in touch with the workers and could gauge their mood and work out the appropriate tactics for developing the movement.
His strong intellect and personality earned him respect from all political circles. He had access to leaders across the political spectrum and they heard his views with attention. He was held in deep affection by all Party cadres and the trade union workers who could meet him at any time with their problems.
We recall here the tribute paid by B T Ranadive on the demise of Comrade PR : “PR was moulded by these struggles he waged in incessant defence of the people, the Party and the basic Marxist principles. He was moulded by the immense sacrifices he had to make for carrying on these struggles. His sacrifices, his principled fight for the purity of Marxism-Leninism and his brilliant intellect, all combined to produce a unique personality and an exceptional leader. Very few persons are able to render such long standing service to the Party in their life.”
The birth centenary of P Ramamurti should be observed as an occasion for propagating the thought and practice that he lived for. Building the working class movement; educating the working class to play the political role of leading the fight for social transformation and creating a society free from class and caste exploitation – these were the cherished ideals of PR which we must pledge to work for and carry forward.