Veteran CPI leader and former MLA Thengamam Balakrishnan died here on Wednesday. He was 86. He suffered a cardiac arrest in his house at Kadappakkada on Wednesday and though he was rushed to a city hospital he was pronounced brought dead.
A Communist to the core, Thengamam was former chief editor of Janayugam, the party mouthpiece then published from Kollam.
Even in his old age, Thengamam, as he is fondly known, was an active presence in the social and cultural spheres in the district. Though he had kept away from mainstream politics, he was an active member and patron of various cultural and charitable organisations. He has also gained recognition as a profound orator and columnist.
He was born as the eldest son of Madhavan and Naniamma of Thengamam on April 1, 1927. Influenced by the freedom movement and national leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Thengamam began his public life through erstwhile Students Federation. Even during the student life, he was arrested and suffered police brutality for his public activism. This April, on the occasion of his 86th birthday, Thengamam chose a destitute home in the district to celebrate the event.
He had served as member of Kerala Public Service Commission, vice-president of Kerala Grandhasala Sangam and editor of Grandalokam. He is survived by wife Nirmala, son Sony B Thengamam (State Information Commissioner), daughters Kareena (Press Information Bureau) and Kavitha (HLL).
The body will be kept in the Kadappakkada Sports Club at 12 noon and at the MN Smarakam (CPI district headquarters) at 2 pm on Thursday for the public to pay homage. The cremation will be held at Polayathode crematorium on Thursday at 4pm.