Homage to Comrade Anathalavattom Anandan

Centre of Indian Trade Unions(CITU) pays respectful homage to veteran trade union leader, All India Vice President and Kerala State President of CITU, Comrade Anathalavattom Anandan who passed away today (5 October 2023) at Thiruvananthapuram. He was under treatment for cancer. He was 86 years old.

Comrade Anandan was born on 22 April 1937 in Anathalavattom in Thiruvananthapuram district. Anandan started his political activities during his school days itself. He worked as a coir worker and organized the coir workers. In 1958, he has organsied a mighty struggle of coir workers demanding an increase inwages. This was when the first communist government was in power and the mill owners were denying the rights of the workers.He became the undisputed leader of the coir workers in Kerala through innumerable struggles facing severe repression. He led many state marches of coir workers including the one in 1973 to protest against the local police killing of Comrade Ammu, a coir worker at Vazhamuttom in Thiruvananthapuram district. He led the famous Coir Strike in 1975.He took the lead in forming cooperatives of coir workers as well. He served as the General Secretary and President of the Coir Workers’ Centre, Kerala since 1973. He was also the general secretary of Travancore Coir Thozhilali Union from 1970 to 1995.

He had organised many sections of the most downtrodden sections of the working class in Kerala. An uncompromising leader to the cause of the working class, he led many unions of various sections, ranging from the traditional sectors, unorganized sector as well as the most modern organsied sector. He led unions of Press Workers , Sawmill Workers private transport workers, toddy tappers,  Serifed Employees, SIDCO Employees and so on. He served as the president of Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association (KSRTEA), Kerala Financial Corporation Officers' Association, Kerala State Co-Operative Bank Employees Federation, Khadi Board Employees Association, and Travancore Titanium Officers' Association.

Comrade Anandan has faced many hardships and state repression in his seven decade long public life. He has been arrested and detained on several occasions, as well as injured during protests. He led a ‘hunger march’ throughout Kerala in 1975 just before emergency. During the Emergency, he went underground for a year and a half and was declared a wanted fugitive under infamous MISA. He was arrested in November 1976 and detained until the lifting of the Emergency.

Comrade Anandan was actively involved in CITU since its inception and had attended all the All India Conferences of CITU from the foundation conference and he was elected as the President of the CITU Kerala State unit in 2013. He has also been a member of the All India Working Committee of CITU since 1979 and was elected as an All India Office Bearer in 2013 and continued in the position till date.

Comrade Anandan was a member of state secretariat of CPI(M).

He lived a very simple life and was a popular leader of the people. He served as the President of Chirayinkeezhu Grama Panchayath from 1979 to 1984, and was then elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly three times from Attingal Constituency in 1987, 1996 and in 2006. He always raised issues of the working people in the Assembly. He was the Chief whip of the Government from 2006 to 2011 in the Left Democratic Front ministry.

Anandan served as the director of the Kerala State Coir Marketing Federation (Coirfed) from 1979 to 2001, and was the Chairman of Coirfed in 1989. He has also served as the Chairman of Foam Mattings India Ltd and Vice Chairman of National Coir Research & Management Institute (NCRMI).

He is married to Laila and has two children.

At this political juncture, loosing a comrade like him who was uncompromisingly dedicated to the class struggle and the working class ideology is a great loss to the working people of Kerala, CITU and the working class movement in particular. CITU dips its red flag in salute to the memory of the departed leader and conveys our heartfelt condolences to his family and the comrades.

Issued by
Tapan Sen,
General Secretary
CITU Secretariat

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