Ayillyath Kuttiari Gopalan Nambiar was popularly known as A K Gopalan or AKG. He was born on 1st October 1904 in Kannur District
in north Kerala
. During his school days he started literary societies and brought out students' magazines. He started his career as a school teacher. While the Indian political atmosphere was getting electrified under Mahatma Gandhi
, A K G jumped into the fray and took part in the Khilafat Movement
. It transformed him into a dedicated fulltime social and political worker.
In 1927 he joined the Indian National Congress. He was arrested for participating in the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. While in prison he imbibed leftist thinking and became a member of the Congress Socialist party. Later he joined the Communist Party, when it took shape in Kerala in 1939. He led the hunger march from Malabar to Madras in 1937 and the Malabar Jatha in support of the movement for a responsible government in Travancore.
During the Second World War, he was again arrested, but he escaped from prison and absconded till the end of the war. The post war anti-imperialist upsurge led him again to jail and on the eve of freedom on 15th August 1947, he was behind bars. Released after a few weeks, he became a member of the Lok Sabha and remained so for 5 consecutive terms till his death on 22nd March 1977.
He wrote extensively. His autobiography, 'In the Cause of the People,' has been translated into many languages. Other important works include ' For Land,' 'Around the World,' 'Work in Parliament,' and 'Collected Speeches.'