A fitting farewell for Congress veteran PT Thomas; Rahul Gandhi, Pinarayi among mourners

Thousands line streets from Upputhodu to Thodupuzha and then to Kochi to have a final glimpse of the ‘king of his convictions’, funeral held as per his wishes

Published: 24th December 2021 06:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2021 08:51 AM   |  A+A-

CM Pinarayi Vijayan pays last respect to MLA P T Thomas at Thrikkakara Community Hall on Thursday. Opposition leader V D Satheesan, Minister P Rajeeve, MPs Benny Behanan & Hibi Eden and MLA K Babu are

Express News Service

KOCHI: By around 6.30pm on Thursday, the Ravipuram crematorium in Kochi was chock-a-block. The state honour of three rounds of fire by the police was over. But the hundreds of people who had gathered to have a final glimpse of the departed leader were still not dispersing. Finally, the family pleaded with them to leave so that the pyre could be lit.

It was a farewell that PT Thomas would have been proud of. His last journey from his birthplace Upputhodu to Thodupuzha in Idukki and then to Thrikkakara, the two constituencies which he represented, and finally ended in Kochi, a place where he spent his youth and where he emerged as a seasoned politician. 

It’s also the city where he cultivated friends across the political, academic and cultural spectrum, and found his life partner.  His close friends and party colleagues ensured that his last wishes were followed to a T — no wreaths or flowers on his body, song ‘Chandrakalabham’ played softly and cremated without any religious ceremonies.

As the Vayalar’s song played softly in the air, wherever the body was kept, people broke into tears as they bade adieu to the Congress leader. The mortal remains of PT, as he is fondly called by party colleagues and friends, were consigned to flames at Ravipuram crematorium in the evening. 

Congress ex-president Rahul Gandhi consoles Thomas’ wife and sons
at Ernakulam Town Hall | A Sanesh & Albin Mathew

His elder son Vishnu lit the pyre while the funeral rites were performed around 7pm. While Congress national leader Rahul Gandhi who was on his two-day constituency visit to Wayanad rushed to Kochi and consoled the bereaved family, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan flew down to Kochi and paid his respects at Thrikkakara Community Hall, after receiving President Ram Nath Kovind in Thiruvananthapuram. The funeral procession left Thodupuzha block Congress office by 8.30am and the journey took about three hours to reach his home at Palarivattom as his cortege had to be stopped at Muvattupuzha, Kolenchery and Vyttila to enable the Congress workers and public to pay their last respects. 

Party workers, family members and people from his native place accompanied the hearse.  Hundreds of people waited patiently at Muvattupuzha for hours to have a final glimpse of the leader as earlier it was announced that the procession would reach here by 4.30am. However, the funeral procession arrived by 9am, nearly 41/2 hours behind schedule.

Party workers raised the slogans like ‘Nilapdinte Rajave, Jeevikkunnu Njangaliloode’ (King of convictions, you continue to live through us) to extend solidarity to the leader who stood firm on his stances including Gadgil Committee Report on the Western Ghats. 

For one moment, it looked as if the river of mourners would never end, further delaying the final journey to the DCC office and to Ernakulam Town Hall. Police had a tough time controlling the crowd. By 11.30am, the body was taken to the DCC office in a specially decorated KURTC bus accompanied by family members and senior party leaders.

P T Thomas, a four-time MLA and one-time MP, and working president of Congress state unit, died at Christian Medical College in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday while undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp