CPI(M) feeder outfit to observe Ramayana month in Kerala
In Kerala, the Malayalam month of ‘Karkidakom’ (July 17-August 16) is known as the ‘Ramayana month’ and many Hindu households read the epic daily in the belief that it will ward off sufferings.Updated: Jul 11, 2018 22:09 IST
Communism and religion may make for strange bedfellows, but not for the modern Reds in Kerala.
After celebrating Krishna Janmashtami and other Hindu festivals, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led state government is preparing observe ‘Ramayana month’ in a big way.
In Kerala, the Malayalam month of ‘Karkidakom’ (July 17-August 16) is known as the ‘Ramayana month’ and many Hindu households read the epic daily in the belief that it will ward off sufferings. The CPM’s feeder organisation ‘Samskritha Sangham’ has lined up several events for the month in a move to pre-empt the Sangh Parivar from gaining mileage from the occasion.
The CPM holds that since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, there has been a concerted move to exploit Hindu scriptures and religious practices to suit the designs of Hindutva forces, and the party is duty-bound to interpret them in the “right perspective.” Besides district-level programmes, a big convention is being planned on July 25 in the state capital to discuss the essence of Hindu vedas and epics.
CPM state committee member K Shivasadan, who is associated with cultural wings, said the party has no direct role to play in the event..
“Samskritha Sangham is organising some functions. It is an independent cultural organisation comprising left and independent intellectuals,” he said.
Party insiders admitted that all functions are being planned with the blessing of the party. “Some forces are misinterpreting epics to suit their designs. Our idea is to have a healthy debate and dialogue with various sections of society. We will interpret epics in the right perspective, not on communal lines,” said a member of the Sangham, dismissing any shift in party policy. The member spoke on condition of anonymity.
The CPM has been concerned over Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attempts to gain a foothold in Kerala. Two years ago the party started celebrating Janmashtami by holding cultural processions.
The BJP has ridiculed the party’s move to celebrate the Ramayana month. “It seems the party has forgotten its favourite theory, dialectical materialism. It ridiculed Lord Ram on many occasions; how can it glorify the Lord and his history now,” asked BJP general secretary K Surendran.
Interestingly, in 2009 the CPM had adopted a rectification document that laid down clear guidelines for party workers on such issues. One of the guidelines was to educate party members to eschew all social, caste and religious practices that were alien to Communist ideology. Communist leaders can’t profess something in public life and do something else in their personal life, the rectification document said. The party had sought an explanation from state temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran last year after he performed some special offerings at Guruvayoor templet.
CPM opponents cite many such instances to question its avowed position on atheism. Family members of Marxist legends EMS Namboodiripad and E K Nayanar had performed their last rites discreetly although the party distanced itself from the religious ceremonies. “It is nothing but double standard. Many leaders secretly go to temples and they give lengthy lessons on atheism,” said BJP’s Surendran.