Freedom fighter Ma Ve Singaravelar, one of the founding fathers of the Communist movement, was remembered by fisherfolk on his 68th death anniversary. They paid floral tributes to the memorials and samadhis of his forefathers at Lady Willington Institute of Advanced Study in Education on Kamarajar Salai, here recently.
Singaravelar was the first Indian to celebrate May Day and also the first to form a Trade Union in India for the welfare of the labourers.
Several world leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi had visited Singaravelar’s residence at Door No 22, East Coast Road, which was a well known landmark in Chennai until it was confiscated by Lord Willingdon because of Singaravelar’s involvement in nationalist activities.
A training school was opened at his residence and named as Lady Willington College. It was inaugurated on December 19, 1922.
While paying floral tributes to Singaravelar, the fisherfolk insisted that the State set up a memorial for the leader where he had once lived. “We learnt that the government had decided to build a memorial in a land at Tondiarpet, near Washermenpet, where people from non-fishing community live in huge numbers. This will lead to unnecessary problems while we celebrate his birth anniversary and commemorate him,” said K Bharathi, president, South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association.
Bharathi also pointed out that no government so far had taken measures to hand over the properties of the family back to the legal heirs of Singaravelar who are still alive. “The consecutive governments also failed to name the college after Singaravelar,” he noted.
Singaravelar neither sided with the CPI nor the Congress and therefore, he left both movements and started his own party. He was also a pioneer of the self-respect-movement. Bharathi says that it is only fisherfolk who remember his contributions and raise their voice in his favour. “Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has been taking several measures to ensure the safety of fishermen. We hope that she takes a favourable decision to honour the leader who hailed from the fishing community,” he added.