November 22, 2015

Condemn Venomus Attack on Kerala by RSS Mouthpiece

Pinarayi Vijayan

THE venomous attack mounted on the glorious traditions of Kerala in The Organiser, the RSS mouthpiece, needs to be condemned by one and all, transcending the barriers of political affiliations. Perturbed by the uncompromising determination of the Left-progressive-democratic forces of Kerala to fight against the Sangh Parivaar’s divisive machinations, the RSS organ unleashes a smear campaign against not only the Left forces but also the rich secular tradition of the state, which has been able to stand apart with its heritage of renaissance and harmonious living of various sections.

The intolerance of the Sangh Parivaar forces fully gets reflected in The Organiser article, which seeks to deplore the state of Kerala and its glorious past. The Sangh focusses its attack on the Communist Party as it is the only guarantee for the secular fabric of the state. The Organiser knows pretty well that so long as the Communist movement is here, the Sangh Parivaar will remain a failure in its attempt to disrupt the secular polity of the state. Hence this attack. It was the Communist Party which championed the cause of ‘United Kerala’ (Aaikya Keralam) and fought for the re-organisation of the state on the basis of language. It was the Communist movement which brought in feelings of equality and self-confidence in the minds of the downtrodden. As a result of such interventions, the Communist movement has become an inseparable part of the mind of the people.

It is against this background that one should scan the follies, falsehood and nonsense, arrayed in the article published in The Organiser. On the one hand, the author seeks to black out the real history of Kerala and on the other it tries to present a distorted version which suits the political convenience of the Sangh Parivaar. The unpardonable tirade of the RSS journal seeks to tarnish the unblemished images of even the illustrious leaders such as Comrade EMS and Comrade AKG, whom the people belonging to various sections hold in high esteem, keeping politics apart.

In the article, titled ‘Kerala: God’s own Country or Godless Country?’, the RSS arrays a series of points which are totally unfounded and baseless. It only defames the state, its people, the immensely rich cultural history of its renaissance movements and the popular democratic struggles and movements. One should have the patience to have at least a glance at the historical background before penning down things relating to history. Had it been so, an article like this one would not have come up.

A peak into history makes it clear as to what actually the Left in general and the Communist movement in particular has contributed in making Kerala a modern, secular state. The achievements of Kerala are unique and are often referred to as ‘Kerala Model’. The great social reforms movements led by a galaxy of eminent people like Sree Narayana Guru added glory to the social renaissance of Kerala. Taking a cue from the renaissance movement, the Communist Party carried forward the fight against social discrimination to the heights of the struggle against the socio-economic discrimination with a new vigor. On the one hand it fought against the caste-based discrimination and on the other, it confronted the economic exploitation of the dispossessed. The emergence of modern Kerala is a direct result to the struggle carried forward by the Communist movement.

It is against this backdrop that one should analyse the contributions of eminent leaders like EMS and AKG. These and other activities of such illustrious sons of Kerala have immensely contributed in changing the socio-political fabric of the state, which stands out as a model to other states of India. These achievements of the past have made Kerala a proud unit of the Indian Union.

Cutting across the rural-urban divide and gender disparity, the development experience, heralded by the Communist movement, has made a deep imprint all over the state, and it gets reflected in the extremely respectable standard of food and nutrition security of the people, social security that covers even the unorganised sectors, a balanced female-male ratio, which consistently remains well above the all India average, the human development index which remains comparable to that of the top ranking countries of the world, the remarkable cultural accomplishments like cent parent literacy, wide reading habits etc. The assumption of power by the Communist Party in 1957 and the Party-led governments that followed really altered the peasant-labourer relations to the core, and added a new dimension to the rural scene, by instilling a fresh confidence and equality feeling among the labourers. It was this Party which made the landless tillers, the owners of land and it was in this process that the Party put an end to the system of evicting the agricultural labourers from their huts by the ruthless landlords.

The legislation that redefined the agrarian relations, land relation and peasant-labourer relation etc. changed the society lock, stock and barrel, thanks to the intervention of the Communist movement and its governments. As soon as the Communist-led government assumed office in 1957, an order was issued banning all evictions of landless tillers. Up to that point of time, the landless agricultural labourers who were the tenants of the landlords used to be thrown out of their hutments even without any provocation; not only from the huts but from the land too they were forcibly evicted. In effect the agricultural workers belonging to the lower strata of the society were in every respect bonded labourers who were at the mercy of landlords. The legislation enacted by the EMS government made the landless labourers the real owners of the piece of land where they were put up by the landlords as their exploitable work force. A number of steps in the direction towards land reforms re-drew the social structure of Kerala defending the interests of  the people who had nothing to lose. The government put ceiling on land holding, took over the surplus land and distributed it among the landless poor. Though the subsequent dispensations did try to do away with this, the land reform implemented by the Left government helped to bridge the social gaps in a big way. The land reform instilled self-confidence in the minds of the dispossessed and they rose up with a fresh sense of equality feeling and pride that confronted the landlordism, which had been the hallmark of the erstwhile establishment. It was the Communist government, which was very particular in materialising the slogans of the peasant struggles, that brought about this change, which is nothing other than a real social metamorphosis.

In terms of health and education, Kerala stands on a high pedestal and can be easily recognised to be more or less in tune with the developed countries in other parts of the world. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen observed “To achieve as much as Kerala has done for a population of its size is no mean record in world history”. It speaks for itself. Thus the term ‘Kerala Model’ came into currency late in the 70’s or early in 80’s as something worth emulating. It is because of the struggles waged by the Communist Party and many a legislation enacted by its governments that universal education became almost a reality in Kerala, enabling millions of children to have access to school education unlike in other states. This intervention strengthened general education in a big way.

Thanks to the Communist movement, the society has undergone a sea change. The relentless struggle which aroused the consciousness of the people against casteism, landlordism, feudalism and the inhuman system of untouchability changed the discriminating relations prevalent during the initial decades of the 20th century. The challenges mounted against the feudal suzerainty by several uprisings of the peasants and workers have greatly contributed in changing the history of Kerala.

It is quite evident that the Congress-run governments that emerged in between sought to undo what the Left had done to Kerala. Those Right-wing governments did try to demolish the gains attained by the state at the initiative of the Left. Despite all such efforts, the people of Kerala, with unflinching alertness, guarded what they achieved during the Left regimes.

The very title of The Organiser article -- `Kerala God’s own Country or Godless Country -- itself is an insult to the dignity of the people of Kerala. The article alleges that for over fifty years, the Communist activism has been spreading violence in Kerala. In fact, it is the Sangh Parivaar forces which are on a spree of violence and the statistics available with the crime records bureau prove this beyond doubt. Hundreds of Communists became martyrs while defending secularism and the Sangh Parivaar affiliates became killers while doing away with secularism, which is  a constitutional clause.

It is to be noted that 17 CPI(M) workers have been brutally killed by the RSS in Kerala since the assumption of  power of the present UDF government This includes the cold-blooded murder of a primary school student, who was the child of a CPI(M) activist.

The article speaks of bringing mullahs on the pay role of the government and keeps mum on paying salaries to the priests of Hindu temples from the exchequer i.e. the cash chest of the Devaswom board, which is being run by the government. This only smacks of the communal double standard of the author of the Organiser article.

The article, written in the wake of the beef controversy, alleges that EMS used to visit the houses of Dalits and attend their social functions, of which dishes of beef were a part. Is it wrong to visit the house of a Dalit? Is it improper to dine with them? The author is being led by some sort of an inhuman castist attitude, which is the indelible birth mark of the Sangh Parivaar. From the observation it is quite evident that the Sangh Parivaar’s ultimate objective is to have a theocratic nation sans the Dalits. So cruel! So brutal! Let us make it very clear that CPI(M) is proud of having the heritage of a leader, who in spite of the fact that he was born in a Brahim family, chose to be with the Dalits. It only shows his humanity, which is very much part of his Communist personality.

This inhuman attitude of the RSS is borne out of their unflinching affinity towards the system of chathurvarnya, which wards off the vast chunk of the public away from the mainstream of the nation’s public life. Some people say that Hinduism does not have the hierarchy associated with the semetic religions anywhere in their structure. But the truth is that the system of chathurvarnya, which keeps the Brahmins at the top and the Shudras at the bottom of the  social strata itself is the  hierarchy enforced by the Hindutva forces. The RSS is bent upon bringing the dark era of  of chathurvarnya back in this modern age and this attitude gets thoroughly reflected in the article, which is inhuman to the core. The RSS strenuously tries to glorify the era, which was marked by the inhuman discrimination and ruthless exploitation of the people at large. A social system run as per the dictates of Manusmriti -- which stipulated that  (a) the shudras should not be allowed to have access even to alphabets, (b) the shudras should not be offered any new clothes other than the spoiled ones, and (c) the shudras should not be offered any fresh food other than the leftover- is sought to be glorified and brought back. The urge for this is quite evident in the RSS  article.

Even the food habit of the people is being made an instrument to disrupt the harmonious living of the people. Food habit varies from person to person and religion to religion. The consumption of pork is permissible in some sections whereas it is blasphemous for some other sections. Some people eat beef whereas some others do not. In a world of varying food habits, one should not enforce his or her food habit on others. One particular dish should not be accorded any special sanctity and another dish should not be condemned. If a particular food habit is thrust upon by someone on the other, it would only sow the seeds of disruption in the society. That is exactly what the RSS does by enforcing an illegal ban on beef. This needs to be resisted. It is every body’s knowledge that some of the RSS leaders figure prominently in the list of the exporters of beef and meat. On the one hand they amass foreign exchange by exporting beef and on the other make a hue and cry over its consumption.

The RSS is spreading a lie, when its column says that Abdul Nazer Madani is a coalition partner in Kerala. An instance of the fascist way of spreading canards! On the one hand, the author talks of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and on the other champions a hate campaign against the Muslims and writes that no one other than Indians should be a hero to Indians. When Shivaji figures even in the lessons of school books, the RSS seeks to give an impression that the book on Shivaji is banned in Kerala.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, a hardcore anti-Communist, is depicted in the article as a Communist-minded CM. The observation makes the entire article a laughing stock, to say the least. It also betrays his poor understanding of Kerala, about which he wants to talk a lot. When such an organisation  seeks to tarnish the image of Kerala by saying that Kerala is the state which has the highest number of people afflicted with mental ailments and various psycho somatic diseases, it is proper on the part of saner elements to ignore it even though it is an insult to the entire people of Kerala.

The magazine seeks to depict Kannur as a ‘Killing Field’, hiding the fact that it was RSS which went on a killing spree against the workers and the sympathisers of the CPI(M). RSS does this not only in Kannur but throughout the length and breadth of Kerala. If we go by the statistics of the crime records bureau, one can find that Kannur is not the district which tops the list. Yet, the magazine tarnishes Kannur, as it remains the citadel of the Left.

The district of Kannur has all along been the target of  the RSS for both its physical attacks and the psychological warfare. They always try to portray the district in poor light and depict it as a place of violence and arson. Violence erupted only when the RSS started trying to finish off the peaceful life thereby attacking the CPI(M) which has a long drawn history of having defended the minorities and progressive forces. The CPI(M) is the  Party which even at the risk of the lives of its workers tried  to quell the Tellicherry riot which was triggered off  by the communal forces. The CPI(M) workers were prepared to lay down their lives in the process of rescuing the innocent lives from the fire of the riot. This is why the RSS trains its guns on the CPI(M), the presence of which is the only political guarantee against the designs of the communal forces to foment trouble. But for the CPIM, the RSS could have easily carried out their plans of communal riots. One should remember that during the A B Vajpayee regime too, money, arms and personnel were pumped into Kannur by RSS and deliberate attempts were  made to single out and attack Kannur.

Though Malappuram was granted the status of a district, considering the backwardness and the geographical size, it too is sought to be presented on communal lines, with the sole purpose of insulting the people of that area, the Left and Comrade EMS. The ultimate aim is to have a communal polarisation, against which the Left forces are the only guarantee. The steps taken by the EMS ministry and the subsequent LDF  governments  have contributed greatly in ensuring the development of the backward district. The RSS wants to undo it and ensure that the district is relegated to  backwardness. It is with this objective that they unleash a series of unfounded campaigns  such as ‘ghar wapasi’, ‘love jihad’ etc. against the district.

There is a genuine apprehension among the public as to whether the targeting of the district with bad intent is with the objective of making Malappuram a foot hold for unleashing a fresh series of communal riots. People have to be vigilant against such ill - motivated designs of the RSS, which even in the article under discussion deliberately makes a mention of the district in a highly bad taste.

It is not surprising that a communal organisation, which draws inspiration from the observation that the concept of democracy is a myth in practice, is at work to defame the CPI(M) which adopts a democratic form and path. Both Fascism and Nazism rose by spreading lies and canards in quick succession. Here, The Organiser, which moves close on the heels of such forces also resorts to the spreading of falsehood. The RSS aims at nothing other than this. However, one should notice that The Organiser has stooped to the level of a broom, meant not for cleansing but for tarnishing.