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The rot runs deep in Kerala

The rot runs deep in Kerala

Author: Arun Lakshman
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 23, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/177903/The-rot-runs-deep-in-Kerala.html

More than the bloody nose received in Election -09 what's worrying Kerala's Communist masters more is the fact that it no longer has a deep reservoir of intellectual support at its disposal

In the 1950s, a play called Ningal enne Communist aki ("You made me a Communist") captured the imagination of a generation and planted the flag of the Communist intellectual establishment in Kerala. The identity of the real author is not known, but it was part of the KPAC movement led by G. Janardhana Kurup, N. Rajagopalan Nair and KS Rajamani. Its theme was considered radical as it highlighted the myriad social evils for whose redress Marxism-Leninism was advanced as the natural and best panacea. The authorities banned the play, but it thrived in the underground and soon became one of the jewels in Kerala's intellectual tradition.

Sixty years on, a lot of people wonder where all that revolution fervour vanished. Today, the CPI(M), the chief custodian of the Leftist movement, attracts more anti-socials than social workers. Scams and much finger pointing later, a lot of people are wondering what the name of the hypothetical sequel would be. Most agree on Nee Aare Communist Aki? - what sort of person have you made a Communist?

The humiliating defeats suffered by Communist candidates in all but four constituencies in the recent Lok Sabha election did not surprise even the most diehard cadre. Much like the Bengal situation, a greater sense of loss has engulfed the intellectual scene. For decades, the Communist 'movement' commanded the biggest reservoir of creative artistes and academicians. But that's a thing of the past now.

The arrogant ways of CPI(M) leaders has led to the erection of a wall between the Kerala chatteratti and the rulers of the state. The policies formulated by the Atchutanandan government failed to meet the needs of the people. The much touted political alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) led by the Islamic fundamentalist leader of dubgious credentials, Abdul Nasser Madani, did notg do any good to the party's image. It caused the defeats of Marxist candidates in the traditional bastions of Kannur and Vadakara.

The Madani affair has torn the party away from a lot of prominent members of the state intelligentsia. A large number of noted writers including Dr Azad, Narayanan KC Umesh Babu, Kunhappa Pattanur and other avowed Leftists deserted the party.

As is their wont, the Communist camp responded with a frontal attack on the media, which they were sure was in cahoots with some 'right wing' elements and rebels. The late MN Vijayan, a writer whose works almost read like the official mouthpiece of the CPI(M) fell foul of the party leadership. He was even chased on the streets of Thrissur by party goons. His last words, uttered at a press conference in Thrissur, was that the CPI(M) had become a party with leaders and no supporters. He collapsed in the middle of the press conference. His words proved prophetic. The election results have vindicated him.

There was a time when some of the brightest minds in Kerala were drawn to the CPI(M). The late G. Aravindan, the maker of some memorable films, attracted a large number of peers to the fold. But after his death, many of the loyal artistes have been driven out. A classic example has been one of Kerala's bestfilm maker Kamal ,who was invited by the CPI to contest as a Left independent candidate from Ponnani against the Muslim League's candidate .The CPI(M) official leadership put a spoke into Kamal's wheels with the theory that Kamal was associated with the late MN Vjayan. Dr Azad and Umesh Babu came out in the Press with strong protests, much to the embarrassment of the party leadership.

Another factor which worries the CPI(M) and its arrogant official leadership is the drifting away of the basic and neutral Left voters from the party .There is a feeling among the general public that the CPI is a much better party when compared to the arrogance of the CPI(M) and that it could be supported . It is a different story that the CPI lost all the four seats it contested in the elections. However, senior CPI leaders admit in private that the CPI(M) has played spoil sport in all these four constituencies. Reason: they did not trust the CPI any more because of its newfound conscience

Disapproval of the Marxists is also being seen in the print and visual media. Two of Kerala's most popular newspapers. Mathrubhumi and Malayala Manorama, have become strindent critics of the CPI(M) and are quite antagonistic of the CPI(M) and its official leadership.

The Managing Director of Mathrubhumi, MP Veerendrakumar, is the state president of the Janata Dal (Secular). The CPI(M) and its official faction did a grave mistake by kicking him and his party out of the Left Front. It may be recalled that the Janata Party was one of the founder constituents of the Left Democratic Front in the state in the aftermath of the Emergency. With the exit of Veerendrakumar , Mathrubhumi turned hostile to the CPI(M).Malayala Manorama has always been antagonistic to he CPI(M). But when these two major newpapers turned against the Communists, the situation became too hot for the party.

- The writer is a columnist


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