T. V. Thomas

T. V. Thomas (2 July 1910 – 26 March 1977) was an Indian communist leader from Alleppey, Kerala.[1] He was the Minister for Labour and Transport in the First E. M. S. Namboodiripad ministry (5 April 1957 to 31 July 1959), Minister for Industries in the Second E. M. S. Namboodiripad Ministry (6 March 1967 to 21 October 1969) and in the Second Achutha Menon Ministry (25 September 1971 to 25 March 1977).[2] He was also the Opposition Leader in the Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly (1954–56).

T. V. Thomas
1st Minister for Labour & Transport, Government of Kerala
In office
5 April 1957 (1957-04-05) – 31 July 1959 (1959-07-31)
Preceded byEstablished
Succeeded byK.T. Achuthan
ConstituencyAlappuzha
Minister for Industries, Government of Kerala
In office
6 March 1967, 25 September 1971 – 21 October 1969, 25 March 1977
Preceded by
Succeeded byP. K. Vasudevan Nair
ConstituencyAlappuzha
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
1957 (1957)–1959 (1959)
Preceded byEstablished
Succeeded byA. Nafeesath Beevi
ConstituencyAlappuzha
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
1967 (1967)–1977 (1977)
Preceded byA. Nafeesath Beevi
Succeeded byP. K. Vasudevan Nair
ConstituencyAlappuzha
Leader of the Opposition, Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly
In office
1954 (1954)–1956 (1956)
Member of the Travancore–Cochin Legislative Assembly
In office
1954–1956
In office
1952–1954
Personal details
Born(1910-07-02)2 July 1910
Alleppey, Kingdom of Travancore
Died26 March 1977(1977-03-26) (aged 66)
NationalityIndian
Political partyCommunist Party of India
Spouse(s)K. R. Gowri Amma
As of 12 January, 2012
Source: Kerala niyamasabha

He entered politics through Travancore State Congress and was its State Committee member. He later joined the Communist Party of India when it finally took shape in Kerala in the early 1940s. When the Communist Party split in 1964, he chose to remain with the parent party, CPI.

Council of Ministers (1957–59); T. V. Thomas is fourth from left

He was one of the first generation trade union leaders in Kerala and was actively involved in the Indian independence movement. He was also instrumental in organizing coir workers and farmers in Alleppey and was the leader of Punnapra-Vayalar uprising. Thomas was a visionary leader and as Minister for Industries, he was responsible for building up infrastructure for the industrial sector in Kerala which had blazed a path of industrialization but unfortunately was not carried forward by the succeeding ministers.[3]

He was married to a veteran politician and former minister K. R. Gowri Amma. Their private life has been subjected to public scrutiny because when the Communist Party split in 1964, Gowri Amma joined the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist); Thomas remained with the CPI. Though they were both ministers in the United Front government in 1967, they were estranged and belonged to different political parties. The couple separated in 1965 on ideological grounds but lived together in the same house. Thomas died on 26 March 1977 aged 67, after a long battle with cancer.

Thomas was an atheist like most of his contemporary communist leaders. A controversy erupted in 2015 when former archbishop Joseph Powathil claimed that Thomas wanted to come back to Christianity and receive the Holy Communion while in his deathbed. However, several of his contemporaries including Gowri Amma rejected the claims, saying Thomas had never abandoned his faith in Communism.[4][5]

In popular cultureEdit

The 1990 Malayalam film Lal Salam was partly inspired by the life of T. V. Thomas and Gowri Amma. Mohanlal played Comrade Stephen Nettooran (inspired from Varghese Vaidyan), Murali played Comrade D. K. Antony (inspired from T. V. Thomas) and Geetha played Comrade Sethulakshmi (inspired from Gowri Amma).[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "SHRI. T.V. THOMAS". Firstministry.kerala.gov.in. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Kerala Niyamasabha: T.V. Thomas". Stateofkerala.in. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Birth centenary celebrations of T.V. Thomas begin". The Hindu. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ KPM Basheer (17 November, 2005). "Once Communist idol, Gouri now bows to a temple ritual". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "TV Thomas never received the Holy Communion: KR Gouri". Malayala Manorama. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Rewinding to the Times When Malayalam Cult Film 'Lal Salam' Swayed the Masses". The Wire. Retrieved 27 January 2021.