Eulogizing the colour green may not be a good idea. The Opposition in Kerala says eulogising green is part of propaganda by religious extremists to spread communal tension.

Voices Monday, June 30, 2014 - 05:30
Keerthi Prakasam| The News Minute | June 30, 2014 | 1:20 PM IST  The colour green is the new problem in southern most state of Kerala. Kerala is known for its greenery, green paddy fields, long green leaves of coconut and palm trees adding to the serenity of God's Own country... With all the green around, Kerala can even be called a green state. However, if you take into account the controversy that has been doing rounds in Kerala due to the color green, you might not support the colour any more. Yes, green is the new red in Kerala. And red always means danger. Eulogizing the colour green may not be a good idea. The Opposition in Kerala says eulogising green is part of propaganda by religious extremists to spread communal tension. And if you are a Muslim associated with a “Muslim” party, who declares that Kerala is a green state, you are in for a lot of trouble. On Saturday, the Kerala media dragged state Education Minister Abdu Rabb, a leader of the state government’s main ally the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) into the middle of – “The Green-board Controversy”. It all starts like this. Tirurangadi in Malappuram, is the Education Minister Abdu Rabb’s constituency. A Government Upper Primary School in Tirurangadi replaced blackboard in a single classroom with a green board during renovation work. The funds for this renovation came from the local MLA- Abdu Rabb’s Development Fund. After this, according to the media, protest from “various quarters” lambasted Abdu Rabb, for everything short of terrorism. The Opposition’s main problem was that green is a colour found in IUML flags. Though many experts, and the Minister himself suggested that the colour green for boards in classrooms is better for children's eyes. But the Left is convinced- Green is not just a colour, it is motive. CPI (M) senior secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that “Any bid to communalize education will be resisted”. And hence, in no time, the green boards which are internationally used in schools and colleges, suddenly became the symbol of the mysterious motives of Muslim organizations. The Minister, Abdu Rabb was quick to point this out too. He kept reiterating that just because he is Muslim or because his party has a Muslim background, one cannot ascribe unnecessary meanings to something as 'trivial' as boards. The Minister also added that his Ministry has not given an official order to change into green-boards. Further, Rabb also added that these boards are internationally accepted to be more soothing to the eyes, stays longer and needs less usage of chalk powder. But these arguments have been rejected, by the Left and by the media. The issue further found its way into the prime time debate slots of Malayalam news media. Slowly, the media celebrated the significance of the colour green, the Left was left far behind. Of course, it added leverage because Abdu Rabb was already in news for another controversy. The Minister has apparently transferred an ailing principal to another school, for “disrespecting” him during a public event.  But the Kerala media's efforts to connect the two events and make the green controversy big has been rejected by many- at least on social media. An average person can differentiate between news and manufactured news.  Post by Sanjeev Ram. Post by Rafeek Muhammed. Post by Shabir Shamsudhien. Whether the Education minister has any sinister plans to "communalise education", only time will tell. But the controversy over one green board has proved yet again that sometimes the media is colour blind. Also proved is the fact that for a large section of the media, green and even saffron are not just colors, they are much more- they are religions on their own. 

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