The Welsh poet W.H. Davies did not reckon with the ingenuity of our comrades from Kerala when he wrote: ‘What is this life if, full of care/We have no time to stand and stare.’ If you happen to be part of the CPI(M) union in Kerala, you can indeed stand and stare and find your cares vanishing when you get paid to boot. Indeed, as Milton would put it, ‘they also serve who only stand and wait’. Needless to say, many an industrialist, including homegrown ones, has fled God’s own country to escape having to pay just for having the comrades’ beady eyes trained on you.
Worried about the no work, all pay putting off even the faithful, the state secretary has advised his compatriots to exercise their ocular faculties a little less and soil their hands a little more. Will the comrades see eye to eye with him? Let’s wait and see. Now which of us would not like a job that literally translates from Malayalam as providing onlooker’s fee?
The behaviour of the brethren on the ground is at distinct variance with their leaders in the Capital. They are known to take an active interest in all work, even when it need not concern them. Perhaps steely-eyed General Secretary Prakash Karat should look into this, even have an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation which he is so good at with the errant flock. He will just have to impress upon them that this aye-for-an-eye policy has bought the party a negative image. But he cannot expect to change things in the blink of an eyelid.