KOZHIKODE: Arathil Kandath Narayanan Nambiar, aka A.K.N. Nambiar (1896-1986), the son of erstwhile Malayalam litterateur, Vengayil Kunjiraman Nayanar, is prominent among the forgotten heroes of Indian independence movement.
A fervent patriot and a pro-communist, the life of this less known Kerala diplomat is full of adventures that unfolded at international venues like Berlin, London and Prague amid Nazi invasion and second World War.
A fierce anti-imperialist, he was incarcerated by British and Nazis. At the same time, Nambiar was a close aide of Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose.
“He was a true freedom fighter who made a no-holds-barred effort to utilise all foreign relations to fight imperialists,” said V. Balachandran, a former RAW special secretary who had worked closely with Nambiar.
Regarding the recent revelations of UK records that Nambiar was a Soviet spy, Balachandran said it was not a confirmed statement but a usual ‘suspected Soviet spy’ reference as intelligence sleuths often put on doubted persons. “Media just sensationalised it,” he said.
Quoting British intelligence reports, Balachandran told DC that Nambiar first met Nehru in Brussels in 1927 at the venue of the anti-imperialist congress. He asked Nehru to call him as Nanu, as he was called at home in Thalassery. In February 1933, he was arrested by Gestapo associated with an arson case in Reichstag.
According to Balachandran, he met Subhash Chandra Bose in Prague in 1934. Though both differed on the relations with Nazis, their friendship blossomed. Both jointly floated Free India Centre and the Indian Legion in Berlin for India’s independence.
After the surrender of Germany in the second World War in 1945, British army captured Nanu from Salisbury village in Germany. Post-1947, upon Nehru’s persistence, he returned to India in 1948 and worked as a diplomat. In 1984, he settled at Uday Park in New Delhi with Balachandran. In 1986 January 17, the great warrior passed away.
Born in a feudal family at Eranjoli in Thalassery, he spent his childhood there, including studying up to fourth forum at Brennen School. In 1919, he married Suhasini Chadopadyaya, the first woman communist member in India, who is also the sister of Sarojini Naidu. In 1958, Padma Bhushan was conferred on him. Balachandran will publish a biography of Nambiar soon....