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E. M. S. Namboodiripad
|1st Chief Minister of Kerala|
5 April 1957 – 31 July 1959
|Preceded by||office established|
|Succeeded by||Pattam Thanu Pillai|
6 March 1967 – 1 November 1969
|Preceded by||President's rule|
|Succeeded by||C. Achutha Menon|
|General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist)|
8 April 1978 – 9 January 1992
|Preceded by||P. Sundarayya|
|Succeeded by||Harkishan Singh Surjeet|
|Born||13 June 1909|
Perintalmanna, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||19 March 1998 (aged 88)|
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
|Political party||Communist Party of India (Marxist) (since 1964),|
Communist Party of India (before 1964)
|Children||Malathi, Radha, S. Sasi, E.M. Sreedharan|
|Residence||A house at Thiruvananthapuram, that the Communist party rented for him|
|Alma mater||St. Thomas College, Thrissur|
|Website||Government of Kerala|
|Part of a series on|
|Communism in India|
Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad (13 June 1909 – 19 March 1998), popularly EMS, was an Indian communist politician and theorist, who served as the first Chief Minister of Kerala state in 1957–59 and then again in 1967–69. As a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI), he became the first non-Indian National Congress chief minister in the Indian republic. In 1964, he led a faction of the CPI that broke away to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). He completed his graduation from St. Thomas College, Thrissur.
As chief minister, EMS pioneered radical land and educational reforms in Kerala, which helped it become the country's leader in social indicators. It is largely due to his commitment and guidance that the CPI(M), of which he was Politburo member and general secretary for 14 years, has become such a domineering political force, playing a vital role in India's new era of coalition politics.
Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad was born on 13 June 1909, as the fourth son of Parameswaran Namboodiripad and Vishnudatha Antharjanam, at Elamkulam, in Perintalmanna taluk of the present Malappuram district into an aristocratic upper-caste Brahmin family.In his early years he was a close friend of Comrade Sr.P.M. Mathew. He was associated with V. T. Bhattathiripad, M. R. Bhattathiripad and many others in the fight against the casteism and conservatism that existed in the Namboothiri community. He became one of the office bearers of Valluvanadu Yogaskshema Sabha, an organisation of progressive Namboothiri youth. During his college days, he was deeply associated with the Indian National Congress and the Indian independence movement.
EMS was married to Arya Antharjanam and had two sons and two daughters.
In 1934, he was one of the founders of Congress Socialist Party, a socialist wing within the Indian National Congress, and elected as its All India Joint Secretary from 1934 to 1940. During this period, he was also elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly (1939).
He remained committed to socialist ideals, and his compassion towards the working class led him to join the Communist movement. The Indian government considered him to be one of the founders of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala, forcing him to go into hiding. During the 1962 Sino-Indian war, he was among leaders who aired China's view on the border issue. When the CPI split in 1964, EMS stood with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). He was the leader of the Kerala state committee of CPI(M). He served as a member of the Central Committee and the Politburo of the CPI(M) until his death in 1998. EMS became general secretary in 1977, a designation he held until 1992. A Marxist scholar, he influenced the development of Kerala, of whom he was the first Chief Minister.
A Communist-led government under E. M. S. Namboodiripad resulted from the first elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1957, making him the first communist leader in India to head a popularly elected government. It was one of the earliest elected Communist governments, after Communist success in the 1945 elections in the Republic of San Marino (a city-state surrounded by Italy).) It was also the first time for a regional party in India to win state elections. On 5 April 1957 he was appointed as the first chief minister of Kerala. His government introduced the Land Reform Ordinance and Education Bill. In 1959, the Central Government dismissed his government through the controversial Article 356 of the Indian Constitution following "The Liberation Struggle".
Indira Gandhi convinced Nehru, who was hesitant to dismiss a democratically elected government, to make such a decision. Central Intelligence Agency's involvement in the ouster has been long suspected. Declassified CIA documents show that the first Communist government concerned them and "preventing additional Keralas became an important argument for augmenting U.S. assistance to India". According to the biography of former US Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, "the election results rang alarm bells in Washington"
He became the Chief Minister of Kerala for the second time in 1967 as the leader of a seven-party coalition (Saptakakshi Munnani) which included the CPI and Muslim League. Soon after becoming Chief Minister again, on 31 January 1968 he inaugurated Asia's first mechanised coir factory called Floorco in Pozhikkara, Paravur. This time his tenure lasted for two and a half years, and the government fell on 24 October 1969 due internal conflicts within the constituent parties.
Namboodiripad was the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 1960 to 1964 and again from 1970 to 1977. His vision of decentralisation of power and resources (People's Plan) and the Kerala Literacy Movement influenced Kerala society. He authored several books in English and Malayalam. Chintha Publication, Kerala has published all his books under the title, "E M S Sanchika". He also was well known as a journalist.
E. M. S. lead 2 ministries in Kerala
During the 1962 Sino-Indian war, other parties portrayed left-wing parties as pro-China, since both were Communist. Namboodiripad stated that the left was focused on solving the border dispute through talks.
Namboodiripad, Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, Joseph Mundassery, M. P. Paul and K. Damodaran were architects of "Jeevat Sahitya Prastanam", renamed Purogamana Sahitya Prastanam (Progressive Association for Arts and Letters). Though the party considered Kesari one of the visionaries of the Progressive Movement for Arts and Letters in Kerala, serious differences of opinion emerged between full-time Communist Party activists and other personalities, namely Kesari and Mundassery. In this context, Namboodiripad famously accused Kesari of being a "petit-bourgeois intellectual", an appellation he retracted. Namboodiripad also acknowledged some of the earlier misconceptions of the Communist Party with respect to the Progressive Literature and Arts Movement. This debate is known as "Rupa Bhadrata Vivadam", an important milestone in the growth of modern Malayalam literature.
Despite his age and failing health, Namboodiripad was still active in political and social fields. He actively campaigned during the 1998 general election. Soon after the results were declared, he contracted pneumonia, and was admitted to a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where he died at 3:40 p.m (IST) on 19 March 1998, aged 88. He was cremated with full state honours in Thycaud electric crematorium in Thiruvananthapuram.
Three more deaths occurred in his family within five years after his death, starting with his daughter-in-law Dr. Yamuna in August 2001, and later followed by his wife Arya Antharjanam in January 2002 and son E.M. Sreedharan in November 2002. His grandson (Sreedharan's son) Sujith Shankar is an actor, who debuted in Rajeev Ravi's Njan Steve Lopez.
The first democratically elected communist-led government in India actually came to power in 1957 in the southwest-Indian state of Kerala. Two years later this government was undemocratically toppled-by the union government and the Congress-I party with Indira Gandhi in the forefront. But the communists were reelected and led several of the following state governments.
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| Chief Minister of Kerala
| Chief Minister of Kerala
C. Achutha Menon
|Party political offices|
| General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Harkishan Singh Surjeet