Comrade Thalmann Pradeep Pereira

Vivek Monteiro

THE state secretary of the Goa state organizing committee of the CPI(M), Comrade Thalmann Pradeep Pereira passed away at a hospital  on August 6, after a five day battle with a severe lung infection and multiple organ failure. He was 54 years old. Com Thalmann Pereira was born and brought up in the communist movement of Goa. His father Comrade Gerard Pereira, a prominent freedom fighter, was the founder of the Left trade union and communist movement in Goa. His mother Comrade Dr Luisa Pereira was an important leader of the dock workers and other trade unions.

On principle, the Pereira couple admitted their children to the Vasco Municipal School attended by working class children. Com Thalmann excelled in his studies standing first in the Vasco city in the SSC board exams. In college, he organised the students in struggles against fee hikes and for bus concessions under the banner of the Students’ Federation of India. Thereafter he was in the forefront of each and every struggle of the working people of Goa in recent decades. He was vice president of Goa Mine Workers Union, Waterfront Workers Union and many other unions in Goa. In addition to his work in the organised sector, he led the struggles of street vendors in Ponda city and the struggle of slum-dwellers against eviction in Vasco in recent years.

As a member of the legal profession he was universally respected as a brilliant lawyer who represented the downtrodden and oppressed sections regardless of their ability to pay fees. He was a founding member of the All India Lawyers Union in Goa and worked actively to build the AILU in Goa and the Western India region.

He initiated the organisation of farmers whose lands were polluted by the mining industry. Under his leadership, for the first time in Goa the powerful mine owners were compelled to pay compensation of several crores of rupees to the affected farmers in Bicholim taluka. Com Thalmann was the general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha , Goa state committee.

He initiated the organisation of the Social Justice Forum in Goa, which organised protests against injustice and oppression of tribals and dalits in Goa, including  the recent mob attacks against the Vanarmare tribal community.

Com Thalmann was that rare kind of person who is both a mass leader as well as a profound intellectual. He was a founder member of the D D Kosambi study circle and contributed actively to its discussions on a wide range of subjects including economics, history and politics. He was also active on social media till the last day before his sudden and unexpected health collapse.

His funeral on August 7,  was attended by a large cross section of sorrowing citizens from all walks of life including the leading representatives of many organisations . Speaking at the cremation ground in Vasco, CPI(M) central secretariat member Dr Ashok Dhawale recalled his early association with Com Thalmann in the founding period of the SFI. He stated that Com Thalmann  was a communist leader of outstanding calibre whose absence is a huge loss for the party and the Left and democratic movement.  He worked with total commitment and dedication for the objective of combating the rising trend of communalism and authoritarianism in India and building a broad secular and democratic political alternative based on equality, brotherhood and justice. He appealed to the activists assembled there to take this work forward. In conclusion Com Thalmann’s son Satyajit expressed thanks on behalf of the family, and pledged to continue the unfinished work of his father. This is the best way we should remember him, he said.

Com Thalmann Pereira is survived by his wife Rita Dey Pereira, son Satyajit,

sisters Zarina and Lara, and their spouses.

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