Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Com. C.Radhakrishnan, a luminary in the field of labour relations and former Vice-President of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation, the country’s largest trade union body, passed away in Mumbai on Tuesday, 23.02.2016 after a short illness. 

Over nearly six decades Radhakrishnan, one of the pillars of the National Railway Mazdoor Union, worked tirelessly along with his dear friend, Comrade P.R.Menon, to organise lakhs of railwaymen including thousands of casual workers who were given permanent employee status as a result of protracted campaigns for the cause.

Com Radhakrishnan was one of the leaders who organised the 1974 railway strike, spending months underground, as he steered workers across the railway network. He was eventually arrested and spent time in jail for his part in organising the strike. Later he was dismissed from service and for three years he fought his case in court, eventually winning it categorically , being reinstated with his tenure, wages and reputation intact.

A keen humanitarian, Com Radhakrishnan was deeply involved in development work, working tirelessly for the upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden. His friends and lakhs of railwaymen remember him steering relief work during disasters including the devastating earthquakes in Kutch and Latur, in Vishakapatnam and other regions after the Tsunami and in great parts of the country where tribals live in abysmal conditions.

When the union decided to do development work in a tribal belt in Maharashtra where children die routinely of malnourishment, he suggested that they relook the way aid is given to them. The result was that each of the homes in that tribal village were given a goat and hens so that the children got milk to drink and the family made an income selling eggs. “He was a man of the masses, his heart beat for the worker at the grassroots level and he knew the pulse of the workers since he himself had worked his way up from the lowest job in the hierarchy, “ a long-time colleague recalled.

When he retired, Com Radhakrishnan chose to follow his passion , working with the union , first as it Working President and then as an adviser, a post that he stepped down from in end 2013. To his end, he lived a simple life, living in a rented home which was open at all times to his countless friends, colleagues and the workers whose lives he touched.

Radhakrishnan is survived by his wife, Pramila and four children. His first born, Sabita, is a lecturer in the United Kingdom, his second daughter, Sudha Menon is an author and a journalist, his son, Salil is a sales and marketing professional in a multinational and his youngest daughter works as a senior communications professional with the Tata group. 
Red salute to Com C R


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