After almost three years, having celebrated the ‘secular’ Sree Krishna Jayanthi, it seems the Left in Kerala is set for another such gimmick in the state. In a move the left dubs as one to 'counter Hindutva forces gaining ground in the state — the party has decided to observe the Ramayana month from July 17, the first day of Karkkidakam - the Malayalam month according to the calendar followed by Keralites.
Talking to The News Minute, T Thilakaraj, state convenor of Samskritha Sangham, said they will organise a month-long lecture series on Ramayana.
“There are different versions of Ramayana available. We will be discussing three types of Ramayana. Eminent speakers who have done thorough research will address gatherings in all districts and will interpret Ramayana in a historical perspective to a secular audience,” he said.
The Ramayana text read normally at Hindu homes is Adhyatma Ramayana, the celebrated Malayalam translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana by Thunchath Ezhuthachan.
So far, the Left in Kerala, especially the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has viewed the reading of the Ramayana as a religious ritual only.
However, this year, it seems the Leftists will also ‘actively’ take part in the Ramayana ‘spirituality’.
Thilakaraj, who is also an active CPI (M) member, said that state-level seminars, conventions and debates will be organised.
The Left ‘supported’ Samskritha Sangham was constituted a year ago by a group of academics and historians based on their love for Sanskrit.
However, Thilakaraj said that he is surprised seeing the headlines of CPI (M) celebrating Ramayana month.
“We are not a feeder organisation of CPI (M). We are not at all connected with CPI (M). However, many members, including me, in the Samskritha Sangham are party members,” Thilakaraj added.
Meanwhile, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the CPI (M) state secretary, told The News Minute that Samskritha Sangham’s move will dent RSS’s ulterior motives in using Ramanaya and communalising society.
“Samskritha Sangham is a group of people who have knowledge in Sanskrit. There are students and pro vice-chancellors among them. They are going to organise Ramayana ‘education’ regularly in different places. Accidentally, the inaugural programme fell in the next month, which is followed as Ramayana month by Hindus,” Kodiyeri said.
When asked about support for Samskritha Sangham by CPI (M), he said that the Sangham has the capacity to carry out programmes without CPI (M) support, however, there are many party members actively involved with it.
“Samskritha Sangham wants to expose the RSS. We are confident that they will be able to do so,” he added.
In 2015, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had said that there was a need to celebrate a ‘secular’ Sri Krishna Jayanthi, to counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) tactics of using communalism as a political tool.
In an interview to The News Minute, Isaac had said that parents love to see their children dressed like Lord Krishna and the CPI (M) was only giving them an opportunity to do it, and there is nothing wrong in that.
“Some local committees in Kannur are encouraging it, there is nothing wrong. We have told those local committees there is nothing wrong in it. When the BJP used such occasions to further their communal agenda, we need to counter it,” he said, adding that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) views this as a very secular move, an alternative to counter BJP’s propaganda.
“This is not religious or communal. The UDF is indirectly supporting the BJP to suppress us, and that is their political propaganda,” he had said then.