Kerala’s ‘lal salaam’ to communist history through a museum

The EK Nayanar Memorial Academy Complex in Kannur, a hotbed of communism in Kerala, was inaugurated in 2018. A museum is being built in the complex to document communist history. Photo: Twitter/ @cpimspeak

A couple of months ago, communist leader EK Nayanar’s son handed over an old Philips pocket radio used by his late father to CPI(M) politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. At a function held at the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Krishna Kumar also handed over some diaries maintained by his father as part of the material collection drive organised to set up a museum at the EK Nayanar Memorial Academy Complex in Kannur.

As the work on the museum progresses, museologist Vinod Daniel, who is designing the project, says, “It is going to be one of its kind in the country.”

The museum on the first and second floors of the complex has three sections. “One is exclusively for the history of the Communist Party and its struggles since the 1920s. The second section will have the portraits of leaders and materials like old notices, banners and party flags. The third section will be dedicated to EK Nayanar. It will display his works and contributions to the party,” says Vinod Daniel, who is also a board member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

A ‘Martyrs’ Wall’ with the names of people who laid down their lives during the struggles of the Communist Party in Kerala will be the centre of attraction. Speaking on the challenges of setting up a museum without losing even a single episode in the history of the Communist Party, Daniel says, “We are in the process of making a ‘People’s Museum’.

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