THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:On his 95th birthday, K E Mammen, a well known freedom fighter and lone anti-corruption whistleblower, was hyperactive even while confined to a hospital bed at a private hospital at Neyyattinkara.
His mood swung between exuberance and perturbation on meeting many personalities. And didn’t tire of talking about the fall-out of the lack of administrative will power in the state.
Lying on a bed in room number 506 surrounded by his close companions and press photographers, he was garrulous especially about how the tentacles of corruption is eating into the system. He also lashed out against the Congress in his usual style gesturing with his hands to highlight his point and said that the party had lost all its sheen.
“The Congress is in an ‘avial’(entangled in unnecessary elements) form now. It has lost its prime principle called ‘secularism’. Everywhere corruption is making the front page headlines. I have no issues if the government tried to scuttle my pension over the comments I made,” Mammen told ‘City Express’ with slight undertones of sarcasm.
After a few minutes of silence, he expressed his wish to meet singer K J Yesudas. An ardent fan of the singer, Mammen sang a few lines of the hit song penned by Vayalar Rama Varma, ‘Manushyan mathangale srishtichu, Mathangal daivangale srishtichu’. His associates Narayanan Thampi and K A Rahim joined him to provide chorus.
“Yesudas also is fighting against corruption and communalism. Two years ago, he visited me at my residence to greet me on my birthday,” he added.
He also shared another wish. He said that he wants to die inside a prison fighting against corruption till his last breath. Earlier in the day, speaker N Sakthan and Health Minister V S Sivakumar visited the hospital and greeted him by draping ‘Ponnada’ and placing a Congress cap on his head.
Mammen again expressed his angst over the corruption plaguing the state and asked the ministers to follow Gandhian principles. Sakthan said that Mammen is one of the greats who fought for the country’s independence. "I wish many more years of healthy life so that he is here to guide us,” he said.
CPM leader M Vijayakumar and CPI leader Panniyan Raveendran also visited him. This is the second consecutive year that his birthday is being celebrated in a hospital room. He was admitted to the hospital on December 14, 2013.
CM, Wife Meet Mammen
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his wife Mariamma Oommen met K E Mammen on Friday evening and conveyed their birthday wishes. During the visit, Mammen requested CM to proceed with the latter’s decision to cull the stray dogs plaguing the state. CM’s wife Mariamma seconded his request. After spending fifteen minutes with him, Chandy left.