M S Krishnan ( 1924 - 2000 ) an Indefatigable Leader

M.S. Krishnan (1924-2000), one of the illustrious sons of Karnataka was a popular public figure. He was an indefatigable leader of Trade Union movement for over four decades. He has left behind an enduring image of an essentially humble, compassionate, loving and trusted human being. An Engineer by training, he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and thus plunged into Freedom movement even as a student during the Quit India Movement. A career thus started in the service of the nation, it was a lifetime mission for him to organize the Poor and the downtrodden and lead them to struggle against the very roots of exploitation and secure their own emancipation from poverty into the world of freedom and equality. 

Teaching the weak and the oppressed to realize their Potential was central to his approach. Even as a student he campaigned for many constructive programmes, such as establishing self-help co-operative societies in aid of poor students, a commitment which he kept up throughout his life. One such act was the founding of Yeshwanthpur educational Trust, under which he built the popular Adarsha Girls High School. While communism was the ideology he embraced as the universal tool for social analysis and Political action, he was rooted steeply in the native soil. This gentleman born to aristocracy, sacrificed the comforts of a sheltered life and opted for privation, thus, identifying himself with the people whom he was serving. It was a life full of struggle, learning and application as is the won’t of an honest Communist. This often found himself on the wrong side of the law, and was in prison many a times.

Krishnan brought dignity to many posts he was repeatedly called upon to occupy, be it as leader of the Communist Party of India, Karnataka Unit or in the Party’s All India organs. He led the Karnataka Unit of the All India Trade Union Congress for over two decades and later served with distinction as the President of the all India body of the AITUC.
He was also the Vice-president of world Federation of Trade Unions. His tremendous popularity with the masses at the grassroots got him elected for four terms to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Malleswaram and Rajajinagar constituencies of Bangalore. He was a distinguished legislator and many of his colleagues even now recall his intellectual contribution in framing and piloting, by far, the most progressive legislation in India on Land Reforms during Devaraj Urs’ stewardship.