Kochi: Has young Congress leader V T Balram, MLA, dented his own rating by raking up a less known facet of the history of the revolutionary leader, A K Gopalan, either ignoring or being ignorant of the fact that in the 1930’s he could have done little against the might of the Nambiar clan and re-claimed his first wife, who was spirited out home in his absence on the false pretext of her father’s death?
Intriguing why the highly educated, no-nonsense Mr Balram raked up muck, accusing Gopalan of paedophilia, while he had been never given to petty amorous dalliances of other politicians of the times. "Perhaps a misstep", said social commentator K Venu.
The allegation that Gopalan, himself a Nambiar, married Suseela Gopalan even while his first marriage was intact is without basis.
Did AKG abandon his first wife? Did he do any injustice to her? Who left whom? Did he marry a younger woman keeping the older one in the shadows as VTB insinuates?
Facts about AKG:
AKG did not marry a second woman while the first marriage was on - as Balram alleges. Neither did he abandon his first wife. The marriage was dissolved/annulled by her clan members who forced her to leave him, following a dispute relating to his ‘impertinent and unpardonable act’ of taken his wife to a Harijan colony. The caste-conscious Nambiar clan took offence and reclaimed their girl – forcibly I am told. She was unwilling to leave him but she had no choice. Later she was forced to remarry – which she did unwillingly. She had children and lived peacefully until she died.
AKG’s second marriage was in 1952 at the age of 48. Susheela was 22. Even by modern-day norms it is in order. Age-gap is not a criminal offence.
In AKG’s autobiography he writes about his growing affection for the young girl. Nothing more, nothing less. This is twisted out of proportion to brand him a paedophile. Being attracted to a 12 year old doesn't make you a pedophile.
The affection was mutual. The attraction was mutual. Where is the question of any form of abuse? There was no child abuse, no child marriage.
AKG first went to jail in 1930 at the age of 26. He served several jail terms until 1947. Even on August 15, 1947 he was not released. The best years of his life were dedicated to the people’s struggle. Marriage and romance weren’t his primary concerns.
AKG’s second marriage did not take place in 1947 when he was released from jail. It happened 5 years later. There was opposition from his family (presumably caste-based).
AKG was acknowledged as an exemplary parliamentarian even by those who staunchly opposed his communist ideology. He served 5 terms, until his death in 1977. He joined the Communist party in 1939 after being in the Congress camp for over a decade.
He says in his autobiography: "Memories of the Congress from 1927 passed through my mind. I felt proud of the role I had played in the Congress movement in Kerala. A man who was secretary of the Kerala Congress and its president for some time and member of the AICC for a long time was celebrating August 15 in jail!"
AKG worked for 7 years as a primary school teacher before quitting his job to plunge headlong into the freedom struggle. He focussed not merely on freedom from British rule but freedom from all forms of oppression, economic and social.