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Marxists play moral police

Marxists play moral police

Author: VR Jayaraj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 27, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/178844/Marxists-play-moral-police.html

In Kerala, the Reds have taken on the task of moral police. They have issued instructions to petty officials to monitor the movement of women to prevent them from going 'astray'!

Marxists are supposed to be crusaders of gender equality and stories from the old Eastern Bloc and the erstwhile Soviet Union also tell us of this Communist trait. But in Kerala, where trade in land and tender female flesh flourishes, things are a bit different. Communists in Kerala are more conservative than the worst kind of traditional conservatives when it comes to curtailing the freedom of women.

The April 24 order of the Urban Affairs Department under the Local Administration Department, looked after by Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty, a CPI(M) central committee member who has always respected the conservative outlook of Kerala's Muslims, is a revealing example of this Kerala Marxist attitude towards women.

The Government order asked the municipal and corporation bodies of the State to constitute committees to monitor the movements of women in their jurisdiction with a view to prevent them from going "astray". The order has not contained any definition of the phrase "going astray" but this had to be done with the same care taken to prevent female foeticide. Naturally, Kerala's women felt offended as the order rang like a terrible affront on the very concept of their modesty. They took up the issue seriously and wanted to know who the custodians of women's modesty were and how they were going to decide the ways in which a woman could "go astray".

Women bodies protested that the Marxists in the State were turning a moral police far more dangerous than the Taliban and the Sri Ram Sene. They pointed out that the LDF Government led by the CPI(M) was no different from the religious fundamentalists like Abdul Nasser Madani with whom the party had struck an alliance in the just concluded election.

"Do they want us to be wrapped in black cloaks like Afghan women do or do they want us not to enter restaurants like the Sri Ram Sene insists? Or are they telling us that women should not love men of their choice? I think they are telling us all this," a women's right activist in Kozhikode said.

Trapped in a difficult situation in the face of the protests, the LDF Government chose to remain silent but the women's wing of the CPI(M), the All India Democratic Women's Association, could not do that. So its Kerala president, Ms TN Seema, a State committee member of the CPI(M), offered an excuse that the whole issue was the result of a translation error committed by some employee in the Local Administration Department. She claimed that the employee had erroneously translated into Malayalam the section in English, "to prevent trafficking in women" into "to prevent the wayward going of women".

However, women in Kerala are not ready to accept this excuse. They have their reasons. They point out that even former firebrand communist KR Gowri would tell you how the CPI(M) had regulated her relations with her husband TV Thomas, another Communist. This had caused serious problems for the couple affecting even their simple man-woman relationship, they say. "There is no wonder that a party with such past now wants the women to live according to the traditional and conservative ways of the society," said the women's right activist.

Other women rights groups say that the Marxists in the State have been practicing the method of regulating even man-woman relationships all the way. They refer to reports about how the Marxists enforce their conservatism on the people in the so-called party villages, especially in the violence-torn Kannur district. Party insiders say that the responsibilities of the local committee members and office-bearers in such party villages include the maintenance of moral decency of the men and women, especially the youth, in their jurisdiction.

"No love affair can grow in such villages without the permission of the local Marxist moral police, who usually are the local or branch committee members, and any serious affair would be taken up on the party level. For example, if a girl from a CPI(M) family falls in love with a youth belonging to another party, inside or outside the village, it would become a huge issue in the party," said a CPI(M) activist, who is still in the party in Panur, Kannur. He said any attempt to violate the writ of the party in such matters could result in an undeclared excommunication of the couple and their families. "Even attacks cannot be ruled out in such situations," he said.

The local party bosses deny all such allegations but admit that they do a monitoring of each and every development in the villages they control. These may sometimes include love affairs, "because it is our duty to ensure that girls do not fall into traps set by flesh trade mafia," says a party functionary in Koothupaamba, Kannur.

But what then is the role of police in checking immoral activities if the political parties take them up themselves? The functionary replies that in most such cases "we as well as the families do not want the police to get involved."

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