When E.M.S. Namboodiripad came to Mumbai in the 1950s as the Chief Minister of Kerala, a large number of people received him at the airport and several government vehicles waited to take him to the government rest house. But he sent them all away saying he was in the city for party work. He chose to stay in the two room flat of party comrades, Suman and Prabhakar Sanzgiri with their two children, one of them still in the cradle. Namboodiripad was the first Communist Chief Mminister in India. From the airport Namboodiripad came straight to the office of the then undivided CPI office at Khetwadi in south Mumbai and told Mrs Sanzgiri that he was going to stay with the family. She told him of the difficulties he might encounter but he insisted and the Sanzgiris were more than happy to have him amidst them.
The experience is recalled in a recently published book in Marathi by Mrs Sanzgiri, a senior CPM activist. The autobiographical account is important for several reasons. The one single experience mentioned above throws light on the strong moral fibre of many Communists of those days. And there are lessons to be learnt from such experiences today when even young politicians routinely reveal property worth crores of rupees in their declaration before the election commission.
Books like these bring to life the daily struggles in the lives of committed political workers and ordinary people. More such books by activists are needed because of the inspiration they provide and the rich source of information they give to the present generation and future historians.