CITU deeply mourns the demise of Comrade R Umanath, a veteran freedom-fighter, stalwart of the working class movement and of communist movement of the country who passed away on 21st May 2014 at around 7-15 am at Tiruchirapally after prolonged illness at the age of 93.
A life-long revolutionary, over seven decades of political and public life, right from his school days at Kozhicode; Comrade Umanath was a frontline organizer and leader braving atrocities, attacks and imprisonment during both, British rule and independent India. His entire life is a commentary of struggle and sacrifice for the cause of the country and its toiling people. Altogether he was imprisoned for nine and half years and underground life for seven years.
He joined the communist movement in his early young age as a whole-timer in 1940 to work in the-then Madras Presidency area despite pressing family obligation. In 1940s itself he was arrested by the British rulers and convicted for two and half years’ imprisonment. After his release from jail, he started working among textile, cement and beedi workers in Coimbatore area and among railway workers in Tiruchirapally in Tamilnadu organizing them in trade unions and led numerous strike struggles. He played frontline role in various capacities in building and leading the working class movement in Tamilnadu and also in other parts of the country. In early post independence period, the Left movement and the trade union movement had to face tremendous atrocities and attacks of hired goons and the police.
Comrade Umanath was one of the founders of CITU and was elected as the first General Secretary of the Tamilnadu CITU in 1970 and continued in that position till 1993 when became its state President till 1996. He was the national vice president of CITU From 1987 to 2010.
He was elected to the Central Committee of CPI(M) in 1978 and became its Polit Bureau member in 1991 and continued as PB member till Kozhikode Congress in 2012, where he was elected as a special invitee to the central committee. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1962 and 1967 from Pudukottai in Tamilnadu and in the Tamilnadu State Legislatiure from Nagapattinam in 1977 and was re-elected in 1980.
Comrade Umanath had always remained concerned for inculcating revolutionary consciousness among the workers and activists of trade union movement considering the leading role of the working class in fighting and ending the exploitative regime. During his work at CITU Centre in the late eighties and early nineties, Comrade Umanath contributed valuable inputs in formulating the organizational document of CITU which is popularly known as Bhubaneswar Document.
At his demise, the working class movement lost a great leader and guide. CITU Secretariat pays deep respectful homage to, recalls the great contribution and legacy of and salutes comrade Umanath and conveys heartfelt condolence to the bereaved comrades and family members of the departed leader.