MADURAI: Freedom fighter and Communist veteran Mayandi Bharathi passed way at the age of 98 due to illness at a private hospital here on Tuesday. He was hospitalised with breathing difficulties three days ago.
A man of action, he plunged into the freedom struggle at the age of 14 while in school. Witnessing a lathi-charge of freedom fighters for picketing shops selling foreign clothes and liquor, was what proved to be the turning point.
“Whenever Mayandi Bharathi boarded a train or alighted, it was because he was arrested for participating in the struggle. None can recall how many times he was arrested,” recollected 89-year-old Lakshmikanthan Bharathi, close associate of the departed leader.
Mayandi Bharathi was inspired by communist ideology. When the British hanged firebrand socialist Bhagat Singh in 1931, he took an active part in the public procession in Madurai. The death of Mayandi Bharathi, in his view was a great loss to the country. Recollecting an unforgettable incident he said, ”When Mahatma Gandhi visited Madurai during 1930s he blessed Mayandi Bharathi. Myself and my father C Krishnaswami Bharathi were witness to that. Gandhiji put his hand on the forehead of Mayandi Bharathi and blessed him, a rare honour,” said Lakshmikanthan, also a former Madurai district collector.
Despite old-age, he participated in the Republic Day celebration this year. Earlier, on December 4 last, he met U Sagayam, High Court-appointed Legal Commissioner to investigate illegal granite mining in Madurai district. Besides advising Sagayam to take additional protection, he urged the youth to fight corruption.
A powerful orator, he had also authored many books. He wrote and edited the CPI mouthpiece Janashakti (1944-83) and CPI(M) daily Theekathir (1964-91).
Till his death, Mayandi Bharathi stayed in a single-room house.