In a poignant moment, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) bids farewell to a stalwart leader, Comrade N Sankaraiah, who passed away on November 15, 2023, at the age of 102. A luminary figure in the realms of trade unions and peasant movements, Sankaraiah’s legacy is deeply etched in the history of India’s liberation struggles.
Comrade N Sankaraiah’s illustrious journey embodies a lifetime of dedication to the cause of the working class, peasantry, and the oppressed. He was a veteran freedom fighter, spending eight years in incarceration during the anti-imperialist movement against colonial rule.
Joining the Communist Party in 1940, Sankaraiah’s commitment and vision were unwavering. As the General Secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha from 1986-1989 and President from 1992-1995, his tenure was marked by resilience and visionary leadership. Notably, during India’s economic liberalization, he spearheaded the formulation of AIKS’ pioneering alternative agricultural policy in 1993. This policy challenged the neoliberal paradigm of export-oriented agriculture, advocating for land reform, distribution of land to agricultural workers and poor peasants, irrigation expansion, public investment in agriculture, fair crop prices, reduced input costs, accessible loans, comprehensive crop insurance, and similar progressive measures.
Sankaraiah’s centenary was celebrated in 2021, where he exhibited his altruism by donating a ₹10 lakh cash prize for COVID-19 relief. His departure marks the loss of a towering figure who consistently put the collective cause above personal tribulations.
A prominent leader in the formation of the CPI(M) in Tamil Nadu, Sankaraiah’s contributions were multifold. A three-time elected member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly, his impassioned oratory and dedication against economic exploitation and social oppression made him a resounding voice for justice.
His enduring legacy extends beyond his passing. Sankaraiah’s undying commitment to democratic and progressive movements in India persisted until his last breath. His visionary leadership, wisdom, and tireless dedication to the marginalized and oppressed shall continue to inspire generations within the AIKS and the broader left democratic movement.
The AIKS, led by President Ashok Dhawale and General Secretary Vijoo Krishnan, pays homage to Comrade N Sankaraiah, pledging to uphold his ideals of a democratic, secular, and socialist society, ensuring that his legacy lives on in the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.