(Last Updated on : 01/11/2012)
Prakash Karat is the present General Secretary of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist), from 2005. He is a graduate from the Madras Christian College, and later went on to study politics at the post graduate level at the University of Edinburgh. Prakash Karat is the founder of the student wing of CPI (M), named Students Federation of India (SFI). He was the president of the Federation from 1974 to 1979. Prakash Karat is also a well known author and has written 5 books on politics and the state of the country. He became the 4th General Secretary of the CPM in 2005.
Early Life of Prakash Karat
Prakash Karat was born on 7th February, 1948, in Letpadan, Burma, in a Malayali family. His father was an employee in Burma Railways. Karat stayed in Palakkad till he was 5 years old, and then returned to Burma. His family left Burma in 1957. When he was thirteen, he lost his father and his mother and took up the job of an LIC agent and settled in Chennai
. Prakash Karat later did his schooling from Madras Christian College School in Chennai. He has been the winner of all India essay competition in the Tokyo Olympics. As an award he was was sent on a ten day visit to Tokyo in 1964.
He also studied in Madras Christian College to complete his graduation in Economics. On the completion of the course, he was honored with a gold medal for the best student in the college. Later, Prakash Karat got a scholarship and attended University of Edinburgh for a Masters degree in political Science. He completed his MSc degree on the thesis Language and Politics in Modern India' from Edinburgh University in 1970. it was in Edinburgh that he made his first entry into student politics After returning to India, Karat joined Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
, to pursue his Ph.D.
Prakash Karat started his political activism with anti-apartheid protests at Edinburgh University. This act of objection even got him rusticated. While doing his Ph.D., Karat worked as a supporter to A. K. Gopalan, leader of the CPI (M). Prakash Karat also founded the Students Federation of India (SFI), which is the student wing of CPI (M).
Career of Prakash Karat
Prakash Karat was 2nd President of the SFI, from 1974 to 1979. While in Jawaharlal Nehru
University, he was spotted and groomed by EMS Namboodripad. During the Emergency, he went underground and was arrested twice. His political career took a U-turn when Karat was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI (M) in 1985. In 1992, he became a member of the Politburo, which the central decision is making body of the party. In 2005, Prakash Karat was elected the 4th General Secretary of the CPM which represented an unprecedented generational shift for a party used to the appointment of veterans.
It was at this time that he emerged as a very important leader of the party when the CPM, along with the three other Left parties, was giving crucial support to the UPA government in New Delhi.
Publications of Prakash Karat
This former student activist is also the Managing Director of the Leftward Books which is a leading Left wing publishing house. He is also the member of the editorial board of the Marxist, a theoretical journal of the CPI (M).
Apart from this, Prakash Karat's literary talent ranges, from being the author of the book- Language, Nationality and Politics in India, published in 1972. He has edited 2 books- A World to Win, which contains essays on the Communist Manifesto and Across Time and Continents: A tribute to Victor Kiernan, which was published in 1999 and 2003 respectively. He has also written 2 more books, namely, Subordinate Ally: The nuclear deal and India-US strategic relations and Politics and Policies, both in 2008.
One of the most widely famous books that was written by Prakash Karat are “Across Time and Continents: A tribute to Victor Kiernan” in the year 2003.
Personal Life of Prakash Karat
Prakash Karat is married to Brinda Karat, who is also the member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India, Marxist. She worked for the Air India Office London before joining the party. Prakash Karat has strictly followed the partys stand of working as an opposition from within the government. He is often heard making fiery speeches about Indias national interest. From foreign policy to economic reform, Karat can always be found opposing the governments stand.