We normally see political leaders living in flexes propagating unreal claims. But here is a leader who is really a man of the masses. He is K N Balagopal. The certificate of his genuinity has not come from his party supporters, but a girl who had a chance to feel the warmth and affection he possesses.
K N Balagopal has made an indelible impression as a member of the Rajya Sabha. His legislative interventions in the upper house of Indian parliament as well as his perspective of inclusive, sustainable development have been nationally noted and lauded. Apart from his role as a representative of the people, his organisational responsibilities in the CPM too have helped him to connect easily with the common masses. An out-and-out humanist, Balagopal has made many interventions to help out and uplift those in need of social and financial assistance.
Balagopal is contesting the general elections as a CPM candidate from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala. This has prompted S J Divyamol to come up with a post in Facebook, about her experience of interaction with him. Her touching words have become a huge morale booster for the candidate. Perhaps Divyamol’s comment stands at a much higher level than the Sansad Ratna Award that Balagopal bagged in 2016, for being the Best Parliamentarian of India.
K N BALAGOPAL: THE MAN WHO HELPED ME REALISE MY DREAM
K N Balagopal, to me, is a large-hearted man who is solely instrumental in turning my and my small family’s biggest dream into a reality. Most of us will have someone who would turn around our lives so drastically and dramatically. Their presence is so critical and definitive that our lives would’ve been so hopelessly different but for them.
A year ago, the day I secured the first rank in M.Com from the University of Kerala, a telephone call came to me. As I answered, I was wonderstruck hearing the soft, benevolent voice at the other end: “Hello, this is me, K N Balagopal.” Then, my life started flowing in a different course.
Why has such a busy, well-known man bothered to call me up and congratulate quite an ordinary person like me, I kept wondering! My father earns a livelihood by making floral garlands for a temple close to my house. I know he struggles a lot to make both ends meet. And, none of my family has any affiliation with any political party. Still, I was completely amazed that the CPM district secretary has personally called me up and congratulated me. At that time, most of the newspapers carried reports on my securing top honours in the university-level exams.
We never owned any land, nor we had a home of our own! My father, so deeply engaged in the struggle to earn our daily bread, could never even dream of saving enough money to buy a piece of land and build a home there. We lived in a small, insecure place and Balagopal Sir learned of our plight from some local SFI leaders. One day, while my mother and I were sitting on the verandah of our small house, my phone rang. “Divyamol.. this is K N Balagopal.” I had his number with me. I have saved his number on my phone when he called to congratulate me earlier. I never expected him to call me again, but felt proud to have that memory. I didn’t tell him anything. I literally had no words.
He told me that as part of the SFI state conference, it has been decided to build houses for three students who still don’t have a home of their own. And, one of the beneficiaries would be me! Unable to believe my ears, I was on the verge of tears. Balagopal Sir called me up in his capacity as the organizing committee chairman of the SFI conference. Later on, I came to learn that he himself has made the proposal to build a home for me.
There were many obstacles still. The SFI will bear all the expenses of building the house. But the required land should be provided by us. My small family -my dad, mom and myself -approached many people and finally managed to collect four lakh rupees, a major portion of which as a loan from our friends and neighbours. But fate still had some other plans for us, at least momentarily. After all, I was quite used to being a puppet in the hands of fate; poverty and physical injuries came back to haunt me every now and then. The day the land was to be registered in our name, my mom collapsed apparently due to hypertension. My friends and SFI comrades immediately took her to the KIMS Hospital, Kottiyam. There we learned that she suffered a stroke, and was likely to be paralysed for life. She was immediately shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
For me, it was the cruellest of all setbacks in life yet. I called up Balagopal Sir for help as I had nobody else to rely on at that moment of grave crisis. I don’t really remember what I did tell him. I was literally crying all through that conversation. Sir immediately contacted the hospital authorities and ensured the best of medical care for my mom. She gradually came back to life but all the money that we have collected for buying the land was exhausted from her medical expenses. As for me, my mom was everything. So I decided to let the dream of a house of my own go. Collecting such a big sum of money all over again was totally impossible for us.
But miracles occurred again! A few SFI leaders came home one fine morning to inquire about my mom’s health. In the middle of the conversation, they told me: “Divya, we shall purchase the land for your house next week. Com.Balagopal has made all the arrangements.” My mom and myself were moved to tears. Thus we managed to buy 3.5 cents of land at Panamood, Anchalummood. And, Balagopal Sir personally came to lay the foundation stone.
The biggest dream of my life is much closer now. Construction work will be complete in the next two months. Party workers are also helping with the building of the house. In the meantime, Balagopal Sir has also intervened to secure a temporary job for me, another big help!
I heartily hope Balagopal Sir should be elected to the Indian parliament from Kollam. He is a great humanist and such a benevolent leader of the masses who can easily connect with the sorrows and aspirations of the common man. I have nothing to do with any of these political organisations. Still, he bothered to help me achieve my life’s dream, and even overcome my worst personal crisis. Balagopal Sir should become our MP. He can wipe off the tears of many hapless people like me.
I don’t want to be known as a university rank-holder any longer. Now, I need only the reputation as the girl for whom the SFI has built a house and thus helped her fulfil her biggest dream in life. That’ll be my best and greatest memory ever. Divya wants Balagopal to be elected to the parliament. After reading Divya’s experience many others also do. An ideal people’s representative is the one who impresses with his work, not with empty rhetoric. K N Balagopal’s worth and merit shouldn’t be ignored just because he doesn’t feature in propagandist flexes and hoardings. Proud that Balagopal is my friend and comrade.