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My love for english and scent of politics

It was during this time that the seeds of my ardour for a life in politics were sown. With a lot of encouragement from my father I developed a great desire to read about the changing political developments in the country in the pre-independent days. One of my daily duties when I was young was to read the newspaper invariably The Hindu aloud to my father especially the editorials and special articles appearing in the editorial page. I also read speeches made by prominent leaders. This exercise was my father’s way of inculcating in me a love for English language and the correct way to read and write it. Most of what I read must have gone over my heard as I was too young to understand. He used to explain several things that I really needed to know. My father continued this practice later when he was working in Lahore and used to send me long winding letters and I replied the same way. The only difference was that my father would send back my letters corrected for spelling and grammar. Needless to say all our correspondence was in English. It laid a good base for my later exercises in writing for newspapers and magazines as my mastery over the language became near flawless. Many years later it became a fetish in me to collect and preserve important newspapers many times only cuttings of important news items and articles as preserving the whole newspaper became very cumbersome and impracticable. Those were the days when the movement for freedom was picking up. I still recall the day when Gandhiji gave the call for the Quit India Movement on the 9th August 1942 and we in the school actively participated in the movement by offering Satyagraha in our school. There was heavy police bandobust in front of our school premises. A large number of students were at the gate blocking the entrance. Unwittingly I was also in the crowd. Suddenly there was firing and I saw with my own eyes one of the student leaders fall hit by a bullet. This somehow made a lasting impression in my mind although I was barely 11.

I grew up admiring the deeds of our freedom stalwarts. It was also about these times that I saw many of the political leaders at close quarters, for I never missed the public meetings addressed by the leaders. I had also a fancy to collect the pictures of our national leaders and went to the extent of writing to a publisher in Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) who used to publish small booklets containing the pictures of all our leaders (which I still possess in spite of all these years).

I remember the day when two of Kerala’s leaders arrived in our town, one Mr.Abdur Rahman, after release from prison jailed for his political activities and the other Mr.Kozhipurathu Madhava Menon, after assuming office as a Minister in the first Congress ministry after Independence in the then Madras Presidency. I was among the hundreds of enthusiasts waiting at the railway station to receive the Minister. After the train steamed in I managed to jostle in close to the Minister and was photographed by the press photographer. The picture with me standing very close to the Minister was in the front page of the newspaper that evening and I became a familiar face to all my friends and relatives.

Once I was attending a public meeting addressed by the famous Socialist Leader, Sri Jayaprakash Narayan and I managed to sneak close to him and sit at his feet. This was when I was preparing for the SSLC Public Examination and I had to get special permission from father. His permission was obtained after I proved that I was preparing well for the exams and I needed some relaxation. This divergence of interest affected my studies and from what would have been a brilliant academic career my studies suffered greatly without my realizing it. My performance in the school took a nose dive and I barely passed the S.S.L.C. public examination that year. The death of my mother during this period had a great impact in my young life as it opened the door for a complete change in my life uprooting my family from its moorings and throwing a well knit unit into total disarray. It is not that every family suffers due to the death of an important member but in our case it lost its anchor which left it to drift.

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