A WORLD TO WIN    #19   (1993)


Reminiscences on Comrade Sanmugathasan

By M.N. Ravunni ...What is not so known is his consistent internationalist role in assisting and encouraging the anti-revisionist struggle within the Communist Party of India...

When the CPI leadership degenerated into the worst type of national chauvinism during the 1962 Indo-Sino war, he continuously wrote articles in the Thozhilali, a Tamil journal published by the Ceylon Communist Party, exposing the real culprits causing the war and the aims of the imperialists as the Indian comprador state....

After the breakdown in Indo-Sino relations it was exceedingly difficult to get copies of CPC ideological documents exposing the Khrushchevites. This put our group in difficulties, especially since the revisionists were well supplied with CPSU material. Comrade Sanmugathasan stepped in to help us. He arranged regular supply of CPC literature, translated most of the important documents into Tamil and Malayalam and got them printed in Sri Lanka for our use. I remember reading translations of important texts of the Great Debate such as 'On Togliatti' and 'More on Togliatti' made available by him. This assistance played a major role in spreading the activities of the anti-revisionist group centred in Madras throughout Tamilnadu and Kerala.

In 1964 the CPI split and the CPM was formed. But its leadership soon revealed its revisionist colours. Without violating the norms of fraternal relations Comrade Sanmugathasan consistently criticized their errors. When the 7th Congress of the CPM adopted a resolution 'On Revisionism', he promptly responded with a long critique exposing the revisionism embodied in those views. I happened to be the courier for reaching this critique to the CPM leadership which arrogantly rejected it. But its significance remained as a good direction to the communists within the CPM to continue their struggle and rebel.

When the Naxalbari armed rebellion broke out in 1967 Comrade Sanmugathasan and his party saluted it. Though I had shifted to Kerala by this time, he soon found out a channel to keep up clandestine connections with us. An article written by him 'Only Mao Tsetung Thought can lead the Indian revolution to victory' was published in "Liberation" (organ of the All India Co-ordination Committee of Revolutionaries) and was adopted as one of the four basic texts. In Kerala alone thousands of copies of its Malayalam translation were published in several editions. Comrade Sanmugathasan also took care to raise criticisms of what he perceived as the sectarian errors of the co-ordination Committee....

...Comrade Sanmugathasan was of invaluable assistance to us fledgling communists struggling against revisionism. We have yet to redeem his trust and take up our own internationalist responsibilities.

Comrade M.N. Ravunni is a veteran communist who played an important role in the struggle against revisionism during the '60s. He actively participated in the emerging revolutionary Marxist-Leninist movement sparked off by the Naxalbari armed rebellion and was jailed for 13 years. He is currently a member of Kerala Communist Party and is at present secretary of its Propaganda Committee.