Berlin Kunhananthan Nair signs off with ‘unfinished’ life story

When the factional feud in Kerala CPM was intense in the first decade of this century, Berlin sided with
V S Achuthanandan.

Published: 09th August 2022 06:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2022 06:45 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KANNUR: While offering condolences on the death of veteran Communist Berlin Kunhananthan Nair, who breathed his last on Monday evening at Narath in Kannur at the age of 97, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote, “He had spent decades dispatching the news from East Germany and socialist block to the world.”  

Though the CM’s official condolence message was limited to his journalistic contributions, Berlin has had a long history of association with the Communist Party.  He got his party membership from P Krishna Pillai in 1939. At the age of 16, Berlin was the youngest Communist Party member to participate in the first party Congress at Mumbai in 1943. When E M S Namboodiripad was elected as the CPI general secretary, Nair was appointed his private secretary. When the Communist Party split in 1964, he stood with the CPM.  

When the factional feud in Kerala CPM was intense in the first decade of this century, Berlin sided with V S Achuthanandan. His autobiography ‘Oli Camerakal Parayathathu’ has a chapter severely criticising Pinarayi, which triggered a controversy.  

But Berlin changed his stance later and repented in public for “misunderstanding Pinarayi Vijayan”.The public criticism by Berlin against the state leadership of CPM earned him a suspension for anti- party activities in 2005. However, he was re-inducted in the party in 2015. Ahead of Kannur hosting the 23rd Party Congress of CPM in April, Berlin shared two wishes with reporters who met him.He wanted to apologise to Pinarayi personally and also wanted to attend the Party Congress. However, Berlin did not get an invite.

He was born in 1925 as one of the 16 children of Ananthan Nair and Sreedevi of Chirackal.In 1962, he went to Berlin as the official correspondent of party publications in Germany and thus he got the prefix ‘Berlin’ in his name.His interviews with USSR president Crushchev, Yugoslavian president Marshal Tito and Cuban president Fidel Castro earned him a cult status among Communist Party workers in India.


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