September 03, 2023

Homage to Comrade Sarojini Balanandan

COMRADE Sarojini Balanandan, a veteran leader who played an important role in building the women's movement in Kerala, passed away on August 29,  2023 at Kochi. She was 86. She was the former national vice president of the All India Democratic Women's Association and president of the Kerala state committee. She was also a member of the CPI(M) Kerala state committee for a long time.

Comrade Sarojini served as the panchayat member and panchayat president of Kalamassery in Ernakulam district, and later as Central Social Welfare Department Welfare Board chairperson.  She was the editor-in-chief of Equality, the magazine of the Mahila Association.  In 1996, she became the Left Democratic Front candidate for the Aluva constituency.

Comrade Sarojini raised her voice against price rise and women's oppression.  During the days of famine, a militant struggle against hoarding was organised in Ernakulam under her leadership.  She was the first accused in a case fabricated by the police in connection with the strike.  She was brutally beaten which broke her wrist and was in the hospital for a long time. She ably handled her domestic and political-organisational responsibilities even during the imprisonment of her spouse Comrade Balanandan.

Comrade Sarojini was an inspiring leader of women workers too and led numerous struggles for their rights.  Her demise is an irreparable loss to AIDWA. AIDWA expresses heartfelt condolences to her family and comrades and pledges to carry forward her legacy of struggles and sacrifice.

CITU Condoles Com Sarojini’s Demise

THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), in a statement issued on August 30, has paid homage to Comrade Sarojini Balanandan, senior leader of the women’s movement in Kerala.

Married to veteran trade union leader and former national president of CITU, Comrade E Balanandan, she joined the movement in the 1960s in Kerala. She had to face personal hardships as the wife of the trade union leader who had to spend his life in jail and underground.

As part of the women’s movement she led many struggles and faced police atrocities. She faced police lathicharge and was hospitalised for a week and then jailed during emergency for participating in a workers’ struggle.

CITU expresses profound grief at her demise and conveys condolences to her family members and comrades.