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Marxists’ dialectical approach to Hinduism

Marxists’ dialectical approach to Hinduism

 Jun 23, 2017

Karl Marx said “religion is the opium of the masses.” He had also added “it is the hope of the hopeless and the soul of the soulless”. The two Marxian maxims sound contradictory. Now in Kerala, perhaps the last bastion of CPM, some of the recent actions and statements by Marxist Ministers also appear quite contradictory. Detractors of the Party attribute ulterior motives to the above dialectics.

Kadakampalli Surendran, G.Sudhakaran and Thomas Isaac are three prominent ministers of the CPM led LDF government in the state headed by PinarayiVjayan. They all belong to the major ruling party, CPM.Kadakampalli handles Devaswom while Sudhakaran and Isac handle Public Works and Finance respectively. Though all the three are not god fearing, Kadkampalli has every reason to be closer to god as he is the custodian of temples,being the Devaswom Minister. But he always enters into one controversy or the other. Eating “forbidden meat” in public, Kadakampalli roused a controversy. Even before the controversy over beef eating subsided, the Devaswom Minister earned the wrath of devotees again by his alleged act of disrespect to the Sankaracharyaof Sringeri Mutt, Swami BharathaTheertha, who is on a visit to Kerala, the home state of AdiSankara, was last week invited to consecrate a temple pond in Thiruvananthapuram which was renovated by the state government. The Sankaracharya sent his spiritual heir to the function to perform the rituals. On reaching the venue, the junior Sankaracharya felt embarrassed on realising that the special seat meant for him on the dais was removed by Minister Kadakampalli before a large gathering of devotees at the last minute. Without wasting time, the Acharya left abruptly thereby conveying the message to all those present including the Minister and other dignitaries. Knowingly or unknowingly, Kadakampalli was thereby kicking up a controversy. Despite earning the wrath o the devotees, he was not at all apologetic about the incident. He stood by what he did arguing to the media that he was perfectly right in removing the special seat meant for the saint.

A few days later, raising many eyebrows, two other CPM ministers namely Sudhakaran and Thomas Isaac rushed to Alappuzha to have darshan of the Sankaracharya. While Kadakampally’s act in Thiruvananthapuram was alleged to be one of gross insult to the pontiff, his cabinet colleagues of the same party showed utmost respect and regard. They both waited patiently for some time at the Sankaracharya’s camp at Alappuzha, offered him fruits on a platter in traditional style and stood before him with folded palms like devout devotees. They took Swami BharathiTheertha’s blessings and received the prasadam.Significantly, only a couple of weeks back Public Works Minister Sudhakaran while addressing a function in Alappuzha has made some adverse comments on AdiSankaracharya. Sudhakaran expressed the view that when compared to the late CPM leader E.M.S.Namboodiripad and saint SreeNarayana Guru, AdiSankara’s contributions to the society were very little. The remarks at the SankaraJayanthi function had come in for criticism. Now many ask the question whether damage control exercise is in accordance with the Party directive to assugethe wounded feelings of the majority community due toSudhakaran’s unfair comments andKadakampalli’s indecent behaviour.


As the dialectics of the CPM ministers’ recent actions and statements are being debated, yet another Party leader hit the headlines by having darshan at the GuuruvayurSree Krishna temple. A senior leader of CPIM,RithabrathaMukherji, MP, who was on a visit to Kerala, as member of a parliamentary committee found time to go to Guruvayur temple, have the Lord’s darsan and accept prasadam. Religion, as Marx rightly pointed out, proves to be the hope of the hopeless and the soul of the soulless. Nevertheless CPM critics dub these as nothing but attempts to keep the emerging Hiindu vote bank in good humour for fear of erosion in their traditional Hindu votes.


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