Varkala Radhakrishnan

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Varkala Radhakrishnan
Constituency Chirayinkil
Personal details
Born (1927-08-21)21 August 1927
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Died 26 April 2010(2010-04-26) (aged 82)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Political party CPI(M)
Spouse(s) Late Prof. M. Soudamini
Children 1 son and 2 daughters
Residence Thiruvananthapuram
As of 23 September, 2006
Source: [1]

Varkala V. Radhakrishnan (21 August 1927 – 26 April 2010) was an Indian politician and member of the 14th Lok Sabha. He also has served as the speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly. He represented the Chirayinkil constituency of Kerala and was a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) political party. Radhakrishnan held the Chirayinkil seat from 1997 to 2009.

An accomplished lawyer-turned-politician, Radhakrishnan hailed from Varkala, and represented the Varkala legislative constituency for several years. Radhakrishnan was an alumnus of Government Law College, Ernakulam.

Radhakrishnan was born in Varkala, a place around 50 km from Trivandum, the capital of Kerala State in India, as the eldest of four sons of Vasudevan and Dakshayani. His maternal grandfather, Manampur Govindan Asan, was a well known Sanskrit Scholar and contemporary of Sri Narayana Guru, the great social reformer who lived in Kerala during the 19th Century. The great Malayalam poet, Kumaran Asan was a student of Govindan Asan.

Radhakrishnan did his schooling at Varkala. After finishing matriculation, he had to discontinue further studies due to some financial difficulties in his family. He took up teaching to support his family. Afterwards, he completed his under graduate course at Union Christian Colleague, Alwaye. Subsequently he did his graduation in Economics from University College, Trivandrum and majored in Law later on.

He joined the Communist Movement by becoming a member of the Communist Party of India during the 1940s. He became the president of the Varkala Panchayat in 1957, when the first democratically elected Communist Government took office in Kerala State.

He was married to Saudamini in 1957, a college lecturer in History at the time who later on became the Professor and Head of the Department of History at the Maharaja's College for Women in Trivandrum. Radhakrishnan and Saudamini had two daughters and one son. Prof. Saudamini died in 1994 from complications arising out a cardiac surgery. She was a great source of support to Radhakrishnan, managed and held the family together, when he pursued his political career.

After marriage, Radhakrishnan shifted his political base to Trivandrum from Varkala. He set up a brilliant practice for himself at the Trivandrum Bar in Criminal Law and was one of the most sought after lawyers of the time. He also continued his political activities along with his legal career and contested various elections as a candidate of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) with whom he was associated ever since the party was formed in 1964. He contested the State Assembly elections in 1960, 1965, 1970 and 1977 and lost. He also lost the Parliamentary Elections in 1971 from Chirayinkil Constituency in Kerala. During 1967-68, he served as Private Secretary to the then Chief Minister of Kerala, E.M. Sankaran Namboodiripad.

Radhakrishnan tasted electoral success in 1980, when he was elected to Kerala State Assembly from Varkala Constituency. He was subsequently re-elected from the same constituency in 1982, 1987 and 1991. During 1987-91, he served as Speaker of the Kerala Assembly. He was known for his impartiality as a Speaker and had on several occasions chided the Government and its ministers in the Assembly during its sessions for their shortcomings in respect of legislative conduct in the Assembly. He was also an expert in constitutional matters and his comments were always sought by the media with regard to interpretation of provisions of Indian Constitution.

Radhakrishnan shifted his area of activity to the National Stage when he won the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) from Chirayinkil Constituency in 1998. He was re-elected from the same constituency in 1998 and 2004 as well, serving as a MP for 12 years. During his time as an MP he was very active in parliamentary debates and was involved in various parliamentary standing committees such as Finance, Member's Privileges etc. He toured the country extensively in pursuance of his parliamentary committee work. He was also a member of Panel of Chairmen in the Lok Sabha (who are called upon to regulate the proceedings in the absence of the Speaker and Dy. Speaker).

Radhakrishnan did not contest the elections in 2009 to the Lok Sabha, but continued to be actively involved in politics till his death. He was a District Committee Member of the CPI (M)and was also President of All India Lawyer's Union (AILU) and a farmer's organisation affiliated to the party.

Radhakrishnan died battling injuries he suffered in a road accident when he was on his regular morning walk on 22 April 2010. As it appears, he was knocked down by a truck from behind. He was rushed to the Trivandrum Medical College Hospital with rib fracture and other grievous injuries. The rib fracture had punctured his left lung which affected the pulmonary functions. Due to his advanced age of 83 years, one complication after another developed and the doctors had to give up leading to Radhakrishnan breathing his last on the morning of 26 April 2010. He was accorded a State Funeral at his birthplace Varkala, later in the evening. Thousands of people from all walks of life gathered to have a last glimpse during his final journey to Varkala that day.

Radhakrishnan was known for his extra ordinary simplicity. He had a clean image unlike many of his ilk, led a spartan life style with little regard for any luxury. He did not even have a cell phone to himself, which even his personal assistants had. He was an affable person, liked good food, the simple things in life and was quite popular among his comrades, constituents and people at large in Kerala. He was fondly called as "Annan" (big brother in Malayalam) by everyone including his political adversaries.

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