Farewell, Sankaraiah: The Communist icon and freedom fighter is laid to rest with state honours!

Veteran Communist icon N Sankaraiah, who was a last living freedom fighter, was laid to rest in Chennai with state honours amidst nationwide tributes and condolences. Sankaraiah had passed away on Wednesday - November 15 in Chennai at the age of 102 due to age-related ailments. He was admitted to Apollo Hospitals earlier this week due to fever and cold and he also had reported a decrease in his oxygen saturation levels. 

His demise has saddened the Communist functionaries and fraternities and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin directly visited the hospital and paid his last respects to the deceased Communist comrade. The Chief Minister also announced that Sankaraiah's last rites will be held in full state honours. Sankaraiah's mortal remains were taken to his residence in Chrompet and kept for public's view to pay homage. 

His mortal remains were later taken to the Marxist Communist Party's office for public homage and several political leaders had paid their last respects. The last rites of a towering politician held on Thursday - November 16 and the funeral was conducted at an electric crematorium in Besant Nagar. Hundreds of people including prominent figures joined the farewell parade and raised slogans, celebrating Sankaraiah and remembering his unparalleled contributions. 

As part of the state funeral, police officers fired 30 rounds into the air to honour Sankaraiah. A freedom fighter and veteran Marxist Communist Party leader, Sankaraiah is regarded and celebrated as one of the architects behind establishing Communist Party in Tamil Nadu. Sankaraiah has a long political career spanning over seven decades and he was also incarcerated for eight years. Sankaraiah had also served as a Tamil Nadu MLA thrice - representing the Madurai West constituency in 1967 and from the Madurai East constituency in 1977 and in 1980. 

Sankaraiah had also served as Tamil Nadu's Secretary of Marxist Communist Party from 1995 to 2002. Born in 1921 in Kovilpatti, Sankaraiah began his public service during his college days in Madurai and as a student, he participated in the freedom struggle of India. He was one of the founders of Madras Students organization and was elected Secretary of Madurai Students Union. 

Sankaraiah has two sons - Chandrasekar and Narasimman and they are also the functionaries of Marxist Communist Party. In July 2021, he turned 100 and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and senior leaders met him and conveyed their wishes. In a statement, MK Stalin said, "When I hoped that he would get a speedy recovery, the news of his death had shocked and pained me." 

Senior Marxist Communist Party leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also paid his last respects to the deceased comrade. Vijayan took to social media and wrote, "The passing of Comrade N. Sankariah is a huge loss for the worker-peasant movement in India. His glorious legacy, as a freedom fighter, one of the founding leaders of the CPI(M) and a doyen of the peasant movement, inspires all of us to stand firm in building struggles to realise a socialist society. Farewell and Lal Salaam, Comrade!"