Marxist ideologue Govinda Pillai passes away

Govinda Pillai

P Govinda Pillai, veteran CPI(M) leader and Marxist ideologue, died at a hospital here, party sources said today.

He died late late night.

Pillai (86), who had been keeping indifferent health for quite some time, is survived by wife Prof Ramajmma, son M G Radhakrishnan, a senior journalist and daughter Parvathi, journalist, writer and activist. His son-in-law V Sivankutty is a CPI (M) MLA from state capital.

Popularly known as "PG", Pillai dominated the political and cultural domains of Kerala for over six decades as a front-ranking Communist, journalist, writer and aesthetic.

Though an ardent Communist and staunch Marxist ideologue, Pillai had been respected across political barriers on account of his deep scholarship and his contributions to the intellectual domain of contemporary Kerala. Pillai was elected to the Kerala Assembly in 1957, 1964 and 1967. He edited CPI(M)'s official organ Deshbahimani for nearly two decades and served in the party's state committee for decades.

He also had worked at the party centre in Delhi before the split in the Indian Communist Party in 1964.

Hailing from a well-to-do family from Pulluvzazhi in Ernakulam district, Pillai was educated in UC college in Aluva and St Xaviers in Mumbai. After the 1964 split in the CPI, Pillai stood staunchly with the CPI( M) and strongly defended its ideological and cultural positions. But he also had to face organisational actions for differing from the party line on certain issues, including his open criticism of the Chinese Communist regime for repressing the agitation at Tiananmen Square in early 1990s.

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