Press Statement

Comrade Suseela Gopalan

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its profound grief at the passing away of Comrade Suseela Gopalan, member of the Central Committee, outstanding communist and a prominent leader of the women’s movement. Suseela Gopalan died after a prolonged battle against cancer. She was aged 71 years.

Suseela Gopalan belonged to a family which played an active role in the historic Punnapara-Vayalar struggle. As a student, she was expelled from college for setting up a student organisation. As a young student, she began her activities among the coir workers under the influence of her uncle, Karunakara Pannicker. She joined the Communist Party in 1948 at the age of 18. She made her mark as a trade union leader of the coir workers. She was married to A.K. Gopalan in 1952 and since then both of them made a rich and varied contribution to the communist movement. Suseela Gopalan joined the CPI(M) after the split in 1964 and became a member of the Kerala State Committee. She was elected to the Central Committee of the Party at the 10th Congress in 1978 and remained in the committee till the end.

She led many struggles of the coir workers and other struggles of the working class and was throughout associated with the trade union movement. She served as the Kerala State and all India Vice-President of the CITU.

She was one of the founders of the All India Democratic Women’s Association and became its first General Secretary in 1980. She was the President of the AIDWA till her retirement due to ill-health this year.

Suseela Gopalan was elected to the Kerala State Legislative Assembly in 1965 while in jail. She was elected to the Lok Sabha for three terms. She was the minister for industries in the LDF government in Kerala between 1996 and 2001.

She was a leader with close ties with the people and always available to take up their problems. She had a warm and friendly personality which endeared her to all sections of society. In her passing away, the CPI(M) and the Left movement have lost a staunch champion of the working class, an ardent advocate of women’s rights and a devoted Marxist-Leninist.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) pays its respectful homage to the memory of Suseela Gopalan. It conveys its heartfelt sympathy to her only daughter, Laila, her son-in-law, Karunakaran, her sister and other members of her family.