Kannur: Kerala is infamous for political violence. Budding politicos either survived bids on life or perished as rivals pursued them on streets, alleys and even college campuses. It was only recently a fiery student activist perished as opponents knifed him. Kerala Minister A K Balan is a lucky survivor; strangely he was saved by an activist belonging to his rival group and that scary incident happened one day in the early 1970s.
Balan was an SFI activist during his student days. He was saved by one Edakkad Lakshmanan, a KSU member at that time. They have been close friends since that fateful day. The other day Balan called on his old friend and saviour as he is not keeping well.
Balan kissed Lakshmanan on his forehead and said, “If not for you, I would have lost my life on the campus that day.”
Both men shed tears of joy. Though belonging to opposing political groups, Balan and Lakshman share a lifelong bond. The Minister, while visiting his old collegemate at his house in Thazhe Chovva in Kannur, recalled how the friendship was formed.
“In 1973-74, I was the SFI chairman at Brennen College, Thalassery. Regular skirmishes occurred between SFI and KSU activists in the college during those days. However, no weapons were used during the fights,” said Balan.
However, everything changed one day. Some people came to the campus with a knife and stabbed Ashraf, an SFI activist. The next target of the assailants was Balan. They charged at him, but Lakshmanan intervened. Along with some friends, Lakshmanan formed a protective wall around Balan, saving his life.
“If Lakshmanan had not stopped the assailants, I could have been an easy target. Ashraf, who was admitted to hospital, succumbed to his injuries a few days later,” remembered the Minister.
Hearing Balan, Lakshmanan wept again. Balan held him close and kissed him on the forehead again.
Lakshmanan, who worked as a journalist and teacher, continued his friendship with Balan even after their college days. Balan had earlier visited his saviour when he was admitted to hospital recently.
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