OBITUARY Naxalite pioneer Mandakini Narayanan

Deepak Kapur


KOZHIKODE: Mandakini Narayanan, a pioneer of the naxalite movement in Kerala, died at her residence here on Saturday, family sources said. She was 81 and survived by her daughter Ajitha, a comrade-in-arms for her mother and a leading women rights activist.


Gujarat born Mandakini was involved in Kerala’s first Naxalite strike in 1968 came to be known as the Thalassery-Pulpally case, along with her husband Kunnikkal Narayanan and daughter Ajitha.


On November 22, 1968, a group of about 300 armed people had made an unsuccessful attempt to attack Thalassery police station. After 48 hours, a group of peasant revolutionaries attacked the police station at Pulpally in Wayanad, killing a police wireless operator and injuring several others.


Mandakini was arrested in 1970 and again in 1975 during the Emergency. Born in a Brahmin family at Bhavnagar, Mandakini was attracted to Communism while she was in Mumbai, where she met her Malayali husband Narayanan.


After marriage, they settled down in Kozhikode where Mandakini worked as a teacher in a Gujarati School. After the decline of the Naxal movement in Kerala, she had been active in human rights and cultural spheres and the pro-Left women rights groups saw a mother figure in her. 


A large number of people turned up at her home here to pay last respects.

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