Farmer MLA' dreams of carbon-neutral Wayanad

Atop the one-storey house is a three-layer cage from which emanates the clamour of quail.

KOZHIKODE: At a time many people's representatives across the board have been in the eye of a storm for accumulating unaccounted money and wealth, C. K. Saseendran, MLA, lives a life that is unique. The feel one gets when one steps into his simple home at Ponnada near Kalpetta, Wayanad, is that of entering the house of an ordinary farmer.

With hens clucking around, the chorus joined by dogs barking and close to home is the shed where cows are resting after being milked. Atop the one-storey house is a three-layer cage from which emanates the clamour of quail.

A partyman to the core, his victory to the state legislature did not bring any change in style, appearance or activities at this home. The only difference is the vehicle of the MLA in front of the house which is parked at the party office during the night due to lack of space.

When DC caught this short, but stern 'face' of CPM in Wayanad at his home on Friday, Mr Saseendran was busy feeding hens after his routine milking of cows and sale of milk. Spread across one acre, there are separate cages for each variety of poultry- the ordinary hens, the black variety of the egg which has medicinal qualities, the turkey and the quail. Walking amid the ripe, reddish coffee berries, Mr Saseendran, says that he enjoys being with the birds.

Even before becoming an MLA - after his victory against media magnate M. V. Shreymaskumar - selling milk was his mainstay. Then he was the CPM district secretary. Now he uses a milking machine. Milking and sale of milk get done in the morning. "So I would be free to contribute sufficient time for political activities", he said.

Though hailing from a Communist background, Mr Saseendran had his entry into the movement during his days in SFI at Guruvayoorappan College, Kozhikode. Later he shifted his domain to Wayanad and became the SFI district secretary in 1980. He shot into the limelight for his role in successfully building up the Adivasi Kshema Samithy (AKS), the tribal arm of CPM at a time C. K. Janu was the lone face of tribal rights.

Earlier when he was leading the agitation of the landless, many including district collectors and police officials mistook him for another tribal chief. So down to earth was he sans footwear and always careless about his appearance. AKS managed to secure land for around 5000 tribal families. "There is no doubt that Janu was instrumental in bringing tribal issues to the limelight. But she failed to ensure the support of mainstream society", he added.

Ensuring own house for all adivasi families, transforming the entire community into self-reliant individuals, branding Wayanad Coffee and nature of Wayanad into carbon-neutral standard are among his achievemenmts. "Branding Wayanad Coffee as one growing in a carbon neutral nature will fetch the best price globally for the farmers", he said.

Known as a crusader of the tribal-farmer cause, Mr Saseendran he was more comfortable in the robe of a CPM leader than the present one of a 'legislator'. "As a legislator I have many limitations", he adds. Known for his support to nature conservation efforts, he has always supported all those who support nature. When there was much hue and cry against the restrictions brought in by former Wayanad district collector Kesavendra Kumar on construction of buildings of more than three floors, CPM stood behind him. "But we are not against quarrying for the needs of people, but not for the luxury of a few", he added. But he is sad about the delay in the Wayanad rail project on which he refused to comment.

He is humble enough to say that whatever victory he had won was the victory of his party. "Only party is important not the individual", he added.

His wife Usha is a part-time sweeper in the district cooperative bank. He has a daughter Anagha and son Goutham Prakash.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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