Kerala poet receives death threat for song on Marxism, support pours in

Murukan Kattakada penned the song for the Malayalam movie, ‘Choppu’, which was widely used by the CPI(M)-led LDF in its election campaign.
Poet Murukan Kattakada
Poet Murukan Kattakada
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For the past two days, noted Kerala poet Murukan Kattakada has been allegedly receiving multiple death threats from an unidentified person for his song on Marxism. Poet Murukan Kattakada penned and sung the song ‘Manushyanakanam’ (‘be a human’) for the Malayalam movie, Choppu. Amid the threats, the poet has been receiving support on social media. From solidarity meetings to scores of social media posts condemning the threat, support is pouring in for poet Murukan Kattakada.

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been widely using the song titled ‘Manushyanakanam’ in its campaigns for the recently held 2021 Kerala Assembly election. The song with the lines: “Love, which is beyond the ups and downs, we name you Marxism. We can be killed, but we cannot be defeated, that is Marxism.” According to the poet, the man who made the threats was aggrieved by the usage of the word Marxism in the song.

In a video that has been shared on social media, Murukan Kattakada alleged that the man contacted him multiple times through the phone, saying that he will retaliate against him. “His issue was that the song used the word Marxism. He was fine with the rest of the lines. Despite my efforts to clarify that it was a song written for a movie and what it meant, he refused to listen and threatened to retaliate against me,” the poet said, further alleging that the man used abusive words.

Murukan Kattakada said he initially received the threat call on Wednesday night but it continued on Thursday morning as well. The poet said he has filed a complaint with the police in Kerala.

Meanwhile, many have come out in support of the poet, expressing their solidarity.

Writer Ashokan Charuvil strongly condemned the incident saying that the socio-cultural sphere of Kerala is with the poet. “Religious nationalists have been able to murder and imprison several writers over the last eight to seven years. Similar threats to writers have been made in Kerala as well. However, there has always been strong opposition to this in this state. Yet, many people are still making attacks, oblivious that this is Kerala,” he said in a statement.

AM Ariff, a member of Parliament and the leader of the CPI(M), condemned the incident, alleging that those who were agitated by ‘choppu’ (meaning red) were behind it.

The Forum for Progressive Artists and Writers (Purogamana Kalasahithya Sangham) on Thursday night held a protest to condemn the threat against the poet. Murukan Kattakada also participated in the event.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI(M), in a solidarity statement condemning the incident said, “Communalists, do not think that you can start attacking writers and artists in Kerala as has been done in the country for many years. Do not think that activists can be silenced by threatening them. Secular Kerala will strongly defend this,” the DYFI statement said.

“Marxism is humanity,” said CPI(M) chief MV Jayarajan. “Marxism aspires to be a world free of exploitation. Its goals are love, fraternity, and equality.”

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