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
...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.
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.