Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has penned an emotional note on his beloved comrade-brother Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who has died.
It is hard to believe that comrade Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is no more. It causes immense pain. He wasn't brother-like, he was my brother. We walked the same path, together.
Even when he was troubled by illness, Kodiyeri, the leader always thought about the party.
In his final days, he kept thinking about how to strengthen the party and resist the attacks it faces.
When he knew that the illness would prevent him from fully exercising his duties, not only did Kodiyeri voluntarily give up the party secretary post, he insisted on it.
Till a few days, before he fell ill, Kodiyeri used to be present at the party office of AKG Centre to attend meetings, and take initiative on ideological and administrative matters.
He applied his mind and body for the benefit of the party even as he suffered.
He showed immense mental strength to tackle the illness from the initial stage. When asked about his illness, he told mediapersons: 'Shouldn't we face it rather than sit and cry.'
It was the comrade's style to face any problems courageously. He stood tall, both in front of the illness and political troubles.
Balakrishnan was an able student leader who shone in organisational politics and got energetically involved in matters concerning society.
His political life was a blend of calmness, bravery and ideological resoluteness.
Balakrishnan was at the forefront of the communists who strived for communal harmony during the riots in Thalassery.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan became the SFI state secretary. That was a time of severe persecution and intense victimisation. Kodiyeri's leadership was able to transform SFI into an active organisational force even in that adverse situation where freedom and democracy were deeply compromised.
Comrade Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the student movement's valuable contribution to the progressive revolutionary movement. Balakrishnan has always upheld an approach in party matters that is a mixture of both strictness and clarity.
Even during the student organisation activities, he was able to intervene clearly and lead comrades to the right consciousness, be it organisational matters or ideological problems.
As soon as the state of emergency was declared, a protest demonstration was held in Thalassery under the leadership of Kodiyeri. He was arrested and had to undergo brutal beatings in jail.
We were incarcerated at the same time. We slept on adjacent cement beds in Kannur Central Jail, in the 8th block. I was very weak after suffering the police brutality. Balakrishnan helped me with brotherly concern. It was an experience that revealed the depth and meaning of the bond between comrades.
Impichibaba, VV Dakshinamurthy, MP Veerendra Kumar and Bafaki Thangal, among others, were there in the jail. Kodiyeri turned prison days into days of study.
Undoubtedly, Kodiyeri was the invaluable leader the communist movement received from the land of Comrade CH Kanaran. That factor promoted Balakrishnan as the CPM Kannur district secretary at an early age.
Between 1990 and 95, as Kannur district secretary, he led the party in the district through turbulent times. Special mention should be made of the leadership role played by Kodiyeri as a secretary in keeping the party strong against the threats and challenges of that time which was full of incidents like Koothuparamba firing, KV Sudheesh's murder etc.
It did not take long for Balakrishnan to take care of the entire affairs of the party in Kerala and become equally loved by his party comrades across the state when he rose to the position of a member of the state secretariat.
Whether it was at the organisational level, in the legislative assembly, or administrative leadership as a minister, he was able to intervene and gain recognition.