Kannur: In a touching reunion, 93-year-old EK Narayanan Nambiar, who was imprisoned for participating in the 1946 violent peasant struggle in Kavumbayi village of Kerala, met his first wife after 72 years, leaving them both speechless and teary-eyed.
As the two sat quietly and wiped away tears, Sarada, now 89, said she did not harbour any anger against anyone. "I am not angry with anyone," she told Narayanan.
"Then why are you quiet? Why are you not saying anything?" said Narayanan as Sarada sat quietly with bowed head.
Sarada was 13 and Narayanan 17 when the two entered into wedlock. Just ten months into their marriage, Narayanan and his father Thaliyan Raman Nambiar, who led the Kavumbayi agitation, went underground. They were caught two months later and imprisoned for taking part in the land struggle.
The young bride was sent to her parental home as Malabar Special Police knocked at her doors at odd hours in search of Raman and Narayanan.
"Their house was ransacked and set on fire...," Narayanan's nephew, Madhu Kumar said.
Narayanan was sent to prison for eight years. He served his term in three jails at Kannur, Viyyur and Salem.
His father was shot dead in Salem jail on February 11, 1950 and Narayanan, a living legend of the struggle, had 22 shells pierced in his body, of which three could not be removed, Kumar said. A few years later, Sarada's family decided to marry her off to another person.
After his release in 1957, Narayanan also got married again.
Years later, Sarada's son, Bhargavan, an organic farmer, bumped into relatives of Narayanan. As they discussed their family history, it dawned on them that their families were connected. It was then decided that the long-lost couple should meet.
A meeting was arranged and Narayanan, now a widower, came to see Sarada at Bhargavan's home at Parasinikadavu along with some of his relatives.
At first, Bhargavan said, his mother refused to step out and talk to Narayanan, but after much coaxing, she agreed.
Both were quite for some time and wiped away tears.
They were emotional, Bhargavan said.
Bhargavan' family also arranged a 'sadya' (elaborate lunch) for Narayanan and the two families promised to meet soon.
Sarada, who was widowed 30 years ago, had six children of whom only four are alive.
Narayanan's grand daughter, Shanta Kavumbayi, has penned a novel on the Kavumbayi peasant struggle titled "December 30".
In December 1946, the people of Kavumbayi village in this district raised their demand for 'punam' cultivation. It is a type of shifting cultivation.
A strong police contingent was sent to the spot. The peasants resisted the armed forces which led to the killing of five farmers in the firing.