In a bid to counter the Sangh Parivar’s celebration of religious festivals, Kerala’s CPI (M) appears to be organising its own celebrations, sometimes of other unrelated ones.
This year, on the occasion of Janmashtami, the CPI(M) is observing the birth anniversary of Chattambi Swamikal, a social reformer.
Although the birth anniversary of Chattambi Swamikal falls on August 25, the CPI(M) is beginning its celebrations a day earlier to coincide with the Sangh Parivar’s celebration of Sri Krishna Jayanti on August 24. CPI (M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that their celebrations would go on up to August 28, the birth date of social leader Ayyankali.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Kodiyeri said that the five-day celebrations of the party will be organised to propagate the ideas of ‘Renaissance’.
He also wrote that 2016 was the 100 anniversary of Sree Narayana Guru’s “we have no caste” declaration. “We have organised a set of events, as it is the 100th anniversary of Sree Narayana Guru’s declaration. It is a public movement. I will also be part of it, and I urge people who believe in democracy to also participate to observe the declaration by the Guru,” the CPI (M) leader writes.
The CPI(M) appears to be imitating the Sangh’s strategy of building a social base through organization of festivals. For the past few years, Sangh Parivar groups have been conducting sobha yathras and other cultural programs on Krishna Jayanti. Social participation includes getting children get dressed up as Lord Krishna and the gopikas.
However, the CPI(M) goes about this in a slightly different manner. Last year, it organised Onam – 10 days after the traditional date of the festival – and celebrated the festival on the day of Krishna Jayanti. It attracted a lot of criticism.
The party is reportedly doing this to prevent its own supporters and cadre from switching loyalties, especially since people attend festival celebrations as families.
However, like last year, there is possibility of clashes breaking out, as both the processions will take place at the same time. Police have stepped up security in Kannur district, where violent clashes between cadres of the Sangh and the CPI-M are common.