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Mainstream, VOL LII No 9, February 22, 2014

Parvathi Krishnan Is No More

Saturday 22 February 2014

As we go to press, news has come that veteran CPI leader Parvathi Krishnan, who played a leading role in mobilising working women under the banner of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), has passed away. She died in a hospital in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)—where she and husband, former CPI Secretary N.K. Krishnan, stayed and worked among the local working class—in the early hours of Thursday (February 20, 2014). She would have turned 95 on March 15. She is survived by her daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter who reside in the United States. Her husband had departed several years ago.

A noted trade unionist and distinguished parliamentarian, she had her education in Madras and England. While studying at Oxford she became the President of the Oxford Majlis. She was actively associated with the Indian students movement in Great Britain during World War II.

On her return to the country she, along with her husband whom she had met in the UK, plunged into the communist movement and became a wholetime worker of the CPI like N.K. Krishnan and her brother, Mohan Kumaramangalam, the prominent Communist leader and Supreme Court advocate who subsequently joined the Congress under Indira Gandhi and became the Union Minister for Steel and Mines before his untimely death in a plane crash in 1973. Parvathi was for sometime the General Secretary of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA).

Entering parliamentary politics after three-and-a-half years of underground life, she was elected to the Rajya Sabha (1954-57), Second Lok Sabha (1957-62), Fifth Lok Sabha (1974-77) and Sixth Lok Sabha (1977-80). She did leave a distinct mark as an MP and always raised issues of the toiling people in Parliament.

She was close to N.C. and in the seventies looked after the managerial work of Mainstream for some time.