Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CITU Condoles the death of Com. R Umanath

CITU deeply mourns the demise of Comrade R Umanath, a veteran freedom-fighter, stalwart of the working class movement and of communist movement of the country who passed away on 21st May 2014 at around 7-15 am at Tiruchirapally after prolonged illness at the age of 93.

A life-long revolutionary, over seven decades of political and public life, right from his school days at Kozhicode; Comrade Umanath was a frontline organizer and leader braving atrocities, attacks and imprisonment during both, British rule and independent India. His entire life is a commentary of struggle and sacrifice for the cause of the country and its toiling people. Altogether he was imprisoned for nine and half years and underground life for seven years.

He joined the communist movement in his early young age as a whole-timer in 1940 to work in the-then Madras Presidency area despite pressing family obligation. In 1940s itself he was arrested by the British rulers and convicted for two and half years’ imprisonment. After his release from jail, he started working among textile, cement and beedi workers in Coimbatore area and among railway workers in Tiruchirapally in Tamilnadu organizing them in trade unions and led numerous strike struggles. He played frontline role in various capacities in building and leading the working class movement in Tamilnadu and also in other parts of the country. In early post independence period, the Left movement and the trade union movement had to face tremendous atrocities and attacks of hired goons and the police.

Comrade Umanath was one of the founders of CITU and was elected as the first General Secretary of the Tamilnadu CITU in 1970 and continued in that position till 1993 when became its state President till 1996. He was the national vice president of CITU From 1987 to 2010.

He was elected to the Central Committee of CPI(M) in 1978 and became its Polit Bureau member in 1991 and continued as PB member till Kozhikode Congress in 2012, where he was elected as a special invitee to the central committee. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1962 and 1967 from Pudukottai in Tamilnadu and in the Tamilnadu State Legislatiure from Nagapattinam in 1977 and was re-elected in 1980.

Comrade Umanath had always remained concerned for inculcating revolutionary consciousness among the workers and activists of trade union movement considering the leading role of the working class in fighting and ending the exploitative regime. During his work at CITU Centre in the late eighties and early nineties, Comrade Umanath contributed valuable inputs in formulating the organizational document of CITU which is popularly known as Bhubaneswar Document.

At his demise, the working class movement lost a great leader and guide. CITU Secretariat pays deep respectful homage to, recalls the great contribution and legacy of and salutes comrade Umanath and conveys heartfelt condolence to the bereaved comrades and family members of the departed leader.

Condolence Resolution: R Umanath

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its deep grief at the passing away of Comrade R Umanath, veteran leader of the Party at Tiruchirapalli. He was aged 92 years.
R Umanath was a member of the Central Committee of the Party from 1978 to 2012. He was elected a member of the Polit Bureau in 1991 and served in that capacity till 2008. He served as a member of the Tamilnadu State Committee and Secretariat of the Party for several decades.
He began his political activity as a young student by participating in the freedom struggle. He joined the Communist Party in 1939 while studying at the Annamali University in Tamilnadu. He left his studies to become a wholetimer of the Party.
Umanath became a talented organizer of the trade unions and played an important role in building the trade union movement in different parts of Tamilnadu. He was one of the founders of the CITU and was the first General Secretary of Tamilnadu CITU. He served as the General Secretary and later as the President of the State CITU for long years. He served as the national Vice President of the CITU till 2010.
Comrade Umanath served as a member of the Lok Sabha in 1962 and 1967. Later he was elected to the state legislature for two terms. He was a powerful speaker in Tamil and English and made a mark in the parliamentary forums.
The Communist Party was repressed by the British rulers in the years before independence. Com. Umanath was convicted along with other Communist leaders in the Madras Conspiracy case and jailed for two and a half years. He spent altogether nine and half years in jail both before and after independence. He also spent seven years underground, the last period being during the Emergency in 1975-77.
Com. Umanath was a staunch Marxist-Leninist. He set an example of the Communist style of work among the working class. As a member of the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee, Umanath made a notable contribution to the evolution of the Party’s ideological and political line.
Married to Papa Umanath, they both were an inspiring example of dedicated work and simple style of living.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) pays homage to the memory of this outstanding communist leader. It conveys its heartfelt condolences to his daughters U Vasuki and Nirmala Ravi.