RSS Prachark R Venugopal

RSS Prachark R Venugopal

Veteran RSS Prachark R Venugopal left for his celestial abode on 11th June 2020 at a ripe age of 96. From childhood he was Sangh Swayamsevak, later on to take austerity he became Pracharak in 1946. He was son of Nanikutti Amma and Nilambur native of kochunai of Kerala State. He was educated in Palakkad victory Collage and Banaras University. His friendship with Ma. Dattopant Thengdiji during his student life attracted him to RSS. He later on followed Thengdiji to become state General Secretary BMS Kerala, Later on to be elevated to the position of All India Working president BMS. He retired form BMS work around 2005. He was All India Organising Secretary by then. He was born 2nd Feb 1925.
His contribution to India’s no 1 Central Trade Union – BMS, not only is limited to his contribution as a chief of Kerala. He also built international relations as capable delegate to International Labour Organisation (ILO). Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh after membership verification of 1989 was promulgated as No 1 Central Trade union in year 1994. Since then Venugopalji deservedly assumed the responsibility to lead Indian delegation to ILO conference for years to follow.
Those were tough years for developing countries, India included. Emergence of WTO in year 1994 changed the Global Trade relations and changed the pattern of global governance.
Hitherto the global trade was governed under United Nations system through UNCTAD. The consensus evolved on global floor through UNO set up by GATT – General Agreement on Trade and Tariff. These global bodies were coordinators and created understanding through ameliorating practices.
However the trade and tariff regime of WTO, unleashed the terror and scare. The new trade order was tilted to favour the rich nations. This was new global aggression of first world countries to capture Global control through subtle and soft weapons, under the garb of Trade. The global relations were extremely strained.
There came up an attempt to subjugate ILO and tither it to the control of WTO. The plea taken by ICFTU the leading body of trade unions on floor of ILO, was to create environment of forcing member states of ILO to ratify labour standers or suffer the trade sanction to be levied through WTO in case of alleged misconduct.
As the ILO labour standers were created by the rich countries, they were perhaps suitable to their world of work. But the developing countries were at a great squint. There is no floor obtainable to be shared globally on foundations of equitable relations so far as the resources were concerned. There is unfathomable distance between rich and poor and chasm is impossible to scale.
India was in precarious situation. She had lost the steam and was forced to take on to the course of globalistion in year 1993. WTO came in to being in year to 1994. On this back drop a proposal to link ILO as subservient to WTO was mooted by ICFTU.
The delegate from United Kingdom was chief of British Trade Union Congress. His name was Lord Bill Bratte. As a representative ICFTU, he represented workers global group on the floor of ILO conference. His position at ILO conference was that of spokesman of workers group on this tripartite forum alongside those from Employers and Government. They all three are equitably weighed and assume the rank of Vice Chair to this ILO conference.
It so happened, that in year 1996, as a matter of practice the meeting of Workers group meant to elect their vice chair to be voted in by the labour delegates, took place two days prior to inauguration at Geneva. Lord Bill Bratte was proposed by and was elected unanimously as vice chair.
The tradition is to hear from this spokesman, the consensus view of the Labour obtained on Global level and their position on issues to be debated at the conference, vis a vis that of Employers and Governments.
Lord Bill took to podium. He narrated at length the woes of labour on global level. While discussing, he made a statement that there was unanimous global considered view that the precondition for fair trade was to bring in labour standard.
R Venugopal was elected unanimously to represent India’s 400 millon labour and speak on their behalf. He was very much present in the said meeting. He did vote Lord Bill in. But somehow the position taken by labour spokesman on the core issue of developing countries was not at all acceptable to BMS, as no consultation on the issue took place. It must have been equally tough for delegates from other developing countries. May be due to sudden shock they were tongue tied.
But R Venugopal (Adoring Karykarthas addressed him “ Venu Vattan) however was made of different material. His stealth emerged out of his dedication to labour cause and his undying sprit of patriotism. He rose up to retaliate. Everybody in the house of labour was taken aback. After permission from the chair he was forthright in stating that he did not agree with Lord Bill, as there was no conscious in the labour group on this position taken by Lord Bill, he thundered. His statement was short but had diabolic power of high explosive. There was stunning silence in the house for some time only later to be followed by applause from sanction of delegates.
ICFTU think tank, policy makers and the stooges from ILO and the agents of WTO present in the house, all were shocked. The chair however defused tension by announcing that the controversial stance is being reconsidered.
The session concluded and the controversy took back burner. Now its almost 25 years old story. But no one has dared to raise the issue again and it was victory hands down for the poor and developing countries of this globe.
Mananiya Late Venu Vattan saved the day for India and for her sovereignty. The other poor and developing countries were saved from jaws of WTO. Late Shradhyea Thengadiji opening praised grit and valor with which Venuji fought the global war single handedly.
This great son of soil will go down in the labour history of India with golden letters for this exclusive feat. Venu Vattan, we all will remember you and so also Indian labour will adore you for your historic win.

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