‘Berlin’ journalist Kunjananthan Nair dies aged 96
Senior journalist, writer and fellow CPI(M) “Berlin” Kunjananthan Nair died on Monday, party sources said here.
Nair, 96, had not been doing well for a few years and his death came at his residence in Narath village here due to age-related illnesses. Closely associated with the Undivided Communist Party and the CPI(M) after the party split, Nair became European correspondent for left-wing publications in India in the early 1960s.
He was the correspondent for the now defunct pro-left weekly ”Blitz” and his long stay in the former East Germany earned him the prefix ‘Berlin’ with his name.
During his roughly three-decade career as a journalist in East Germany, Nair came into contact with many leaders of the former socialist bloc.
Joining the Communist movement at an early age, Nair became the founding secretary of Balasangham – the then undivided Communist Party’s children’s organization wing – in 1935.
He became the party cardholder in 1939. A year later he was imprisoned in connection with the Morazha Incident – a famous peasant movement that occurred in Morazha in Kannur during the struggle for the independence.
Nair was the youngest representative of the First Communist Party Congress held in Bombay in 1943.
He worked underground in Bombay for the party during the period 1945-46.
Later he worked for the party in Calcutta and New Delhi. When EMS Namboothiripad became the General Secretary of the Undivided Communist Party in 1957, Nair was appointed Private Secretary.
In 1958 he went to the Soviet Union and graduated from the Party School in Marxism-Leninism and political philosophy. Nair had attended the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union held in Moscow in 1959.
Nair was expelled from CPI(M) in 2005 after siding with VS Achuthanandan to criticize the party then led by Pinarayi Vijayan.
He returned to the party fold 10 years later in 2015.
Nair is also the author of several books. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Opposition Leader VD Satheesan offered their condolences on Nair’s death.
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