EMS Namoodiripad was the Chief Minister of Kerala between 1957-1959 and 1967-1969. He was a part of the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) and later was a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). He was born on 13 June 1909 in Elamkulam, Kochi.
In his college days, he was an active member of the All India Congress and was involved in India's independence movement. He was one of the founders of the Congress Socialist Party, a socialist wing of the Congress that was established before independence. He maintained his socialist ideals and joined the communist movement.
When the CPI was banned in the 1950s, he went into hiding only to emerge as the head of the first popularly elected communist government. He took office in 1959. His cabinet passed two important and controversial bills; the Land Safety Act and the Education Bill. The Land Safety Act or the Agrarian Relations Bill allowed tenants to be the sole owners of the land that they worked on. It also put a cap on land owning families and made sure that all extra land would be redistributed amongst the landless. The Education Bill looked to regulate the appointment of teachers and staff in schools. It also seeked to standardise the syllabi and the school fees. The measures outlined in these two acts disrupted the conventional methods that had been in place for years. As a result anti-communist protests known as the Vimochanasamaram, took place. The protests were especially led by the opposition whose members were landlords and land owners. The Vimochanasamaram eventually led to the overthrow of the Communist government in 1959.
Due to internal conflicts the CPI split in 1964 into the CPI and the CPI(M) (Communist Party of India (Marxist)). EMS Namboodiripad joined the CPI(M) and became the party’s Secretary General. In the 1967 elections, he returned to the Chief Minister’s post for a second term due to a 7 way coalition. He continued to be the Secretary General of the CPI(M) until his retirement. EMS Namboodiripan retired from politics in 1992 however he continued to write about politics until his death in 1998. His autobiography “EMS Atmakatha'' won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1970. He has written numerous books and articles on politics, communism and his experiences. He is also remembered to have ousted KR Gouriamma, the first woman minister of Kerala, from the CPI in 1994. This came seven years after EMS blocked her path to chief ministership after a public announcement that she would take the post.