Sabarimala 
Kerala

Women wall only to fortify casteism, defeat spirit of renaissance

The veiled yet scathing attack by CPM veteran VS Achuthanandan on the proposed Government-sponsored 'women wall’ on January 1 to fight “attempts to destroy the renaissance values” has come as shock for his bete noir Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The decision for the women wall was after a meeting with various Hindu organisations last week.

The growing movement to prevent entry of young women after the Supreme Court verdict on September 28 rattled the Pinarayi Government. The unexpected surge of people, including women, and the BJP-RSS combine taking political advantage by usurping the movement forced the Pinarayi Government to devise ways to counter it. Thus was born the women wall idea inviting caste-based organisations to the meeting to strengthen the spirit of renaissance.

Achuthanandan minced no words when he said at a public function that mimicking rituals of Hindutva and caste-based forces was not class struggle.

Moving along with caste-based organisations (often under the guise of community ones) and organising agitations was no communist way of revolution, he said.

“It is a fascist government which tries to appease caste-based organisations. We cannot go on those lines,” he said, making clear that the present Government's tactics were against the spirit of communism that the present Government swears by.

Many party insiders as also LDF constituents have been unhappy over the way the Sabarimala issue was being handled. They feel a large section has been isolated from the party and the ideals it is supposed to stand for. The women wall was yet another attempt by the government to destroy social harmony by raising the caste flag.

The composition of the organisations that attended the Chief Minister's meeting is clear indication of the social wedge that Pinarayi proposes to create. While invitations were sent out to all Hindu community-based organisations, the Nair Service Society (NSS) stayed away from the meeting. The Brahmins association, which participated in the meeting, later announced distancing itself from the wall. The Yogakshema Sabha, the organisation of Kerala brahmins of which communist leader the late EMS Namboodiripad was active in its formative days, is also not a party to the whole Pinarayi exercise.

Among the 176 organisations that participated in the meeting, the biggest is the Sree Narayana Dharma Parpalana (SNDP) Yogam. Founded by one of Kerala’s greatest social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, the yogam is now led by Vellappally Natesan whose fluctuating stands on crucial issues is well-known. The yogam's political arm BJDS is in the BJP-led NDA camp.

Incidentally, Vellappally is the chairman of the committee to take forward the women wall and CP Sugathan, state general secretary of Hindu Parliament Board, is the joint convenor. Sugathan was in the forefront of the protests at Sabarimala against the entry of women.

If renaissance and attempts to destroy its values and 'push Kerala into the Dark Age' was what Pinarayi really intended, other Christian and Muslim organisations which have had a major role in Kerala’s renaissance as also associations of rationalists whose contribution has been substantial, should also have been invited to the meeting.

Pinarayi's attempt for short-term political gains has been to rope in only a section of Hindutva forces against which the lone voice has come from none other than the only living founder of the CPM.

The credibility of those supporting Pinarayi makes the whole exercise go against Left ideology. There is no reason for the wall to fail, given the CPM's party machinery. But the party has nothing to gain through this exercise, though caste-based organisations can draw political mileage, defeating the spirit of renaissance.