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R. Sankara Narayanan Thampi

(1911 – 1989) – (Kerala)

R. Sankara Narayana Thampi (Aged 78) was born on 30 September 1911 in Alleppey, Kerala, India. He was a freedom fighter who initially served in the Indian National Congress, but later became a member of Communist Party of India and an activist. Thampi also served as the First Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly from April 1957 to July 1959.

Thampi completed his graduation from The University College, Trivandrum, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Law from the Trivandrum Law College. He began his legal practice in Mavelikkara at his father’s place. During his barrister years, he actively participated in the Harijan Upliftment Movement.

In 1938, Thampi joined the All Travancore Youth League and was elected to its Working Committee. The same year, he joined the State Congress. In August 1938, Thampi was arrested for his involvement in Youth League activities and sentenced to six months in prison. During the Second World War, he organized various anti-war activities in association with the Malabar Socialist Party.

Thampi was elected Vice President of All Travancore Coir Factory Workers Union and was fined Rs.1000 and imprisoned for two years for making allegedly provocative speeches at Punnapra, which led to mass rebellion. Thampi became disillusioned with the Congress and joined the Communist Party of India in 1947, along with other prominent leaders like E.M.S. Namboodiripad. He became part of the Executive Council and served as the District Secretary of the party in Kayamkulam.

Thampi was chosen as the First Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly in the EMS Cabinet on 27 April 1957 and held the position until the dissolution of the first Kerala Legislative Assembly on 31 July 1959. As Speaker, Thampi was known for his brevity and precision in his rulings. He set the standards of unbiased, equivocal, sharp, and decisive parliamentary political procedures. Thampi was a social worker throughout his life and worked for the protection of civil rights. He passed away on 2 November 1989.