Kakkilaya fought for beedi, cashew factory workers

Last Updated : 04 June 2012, 18:25 IST

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Veteran freedom fighter and well-known CPI leader B V Kakkilaya was known for taking up people’s cause died in Mangalore on Monday.

He had fought against exploitation and oppression and had oganised weavers, beedi workers and tile factory and   cashew factory workers throughout undivided Dakshina Kannada district way back in 1943 itself.

He had taken part in a jatha from Bangalore to Goa to free Goa. He has held many important positions in the Party including that of secretary of the Karnataka CPI.
Despite his poor health, he had taken part in a protest organised by the CPI, demanding the release of Mangalore University student Vittal Malekudiya and his father Linganna, who were arrested on charges of being a Maoist sympathiser, by the police, in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mangalore on May 18.

 It was his last public programme. Born on April 11, 1919 Bevinje Vishnu Kakkialaya was the youngest son of Vishnu Kakkilaya and Gangamma. His father died when he was three years old. He had his early education in Kasaragod and then joined St Aloysius college in Mangalore where he did his graduation in chemistry. He joined the freedom struggle when he was a student, was arrested and imprisoned in 1942 during the Quit India Movement.

He was elected to the first Rajya Sabha from Madras Assembly between 1952 and 1954. He was the MLA representing Bantwal  from 1972 to 1978 and Vittal constituency from 1978 to 1983. He was also instrumental in bringing about Karnataka Land Reforms Act of 1974 and had worked closely behind the scene with the then chief minister Devraj Urs.
Kakkilaya was instrumental in building the Communist party. He was also a much acclaimed trade union leader, who built the AITUC in Karnataka, with M S Krishnan.
As a writer

He has written several books and has won several awards for his literary works, including the Kannada Sahithya Academy Award. B V Kakkilaya along with M S Krishnan and S M Nayak had set up Navakarnataka Publications Pvt Ltd. He remained as its chairman till the end. Some of his works are— ‘Communism,’ ‘Bhoomi mathu akasha,’ ‘Maanavana nadige vijnanadedege,’ ‘Karl Marx: Baduku, baraha,’ ‘Bharathiya chinthane, Hindu dharma, Communism’ ‘Bharathada muslimarau,’ a traslation of Sacchar committee report and others.

His autobiography was ‘Bareyada Dinachariya Mareyda Putagalu.’ Kakkilaya’s wife Ahalya passed away in 1998. He is survived by his four sour sons—  Dr Srinivas, Dr Venkatakrishna, Dr Harish and Suryanarayana.

On the eve of his turning 90, friends and well wishers had organised a felicitation and released a special felicitation volume “Nirantara” in Bangalore. The book had  contributions from eminent scholars and social activists across the country on current issues dear to this revolutionary leader, articles on his life and work, written by associates.


The veteran was honoured with Karl Marx Award for his immense contribution to the Communist movement in the country by the Indian Institute of Marxist Theory and Practice, Dharwad, two years back. He was also honoured with Suvarna Karnataka Ekikarana Award on the occasion of golden jubilee celebration of unification of Karnataka, on November 1, 2006. Other awards are ‘Neerpaje Bheema Bhat award,’ Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy award and son on.

K R Sriyan, a close associate of Kakkilaya said “when the CPI was banned in 1948, it was B V Kakkilaya who strengthened the party by remaining underground  in undivided Dakshina Kannada district. He was a organiser and freedom fighter since his school days. Though he was born in a well to do family, he worked for the welfare of the poor.”

“When the CPI was divided in 1964, we few joined the CPM. However, Kakkilya, Shantharam Pai, Lingappa Suvarna and Monappa Shetty remained with the CPI. He was very bold leader and was a good orator.”

Published 04 June 2012, 18:25 IST

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