THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The annual 'Ramayana month' seems to be taking on a political colour in Kerala this year as a Congress outfit is also gearing up to hold several programmes to mark the period after a pro-Left organisation.
Vichar Vibhag, the cultural wing of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), today announced a series of programmes, including 'Ramayana Parayana' (recitation of the epic) and seminars to mark the annual month of rituals.
'Karkkitakam', the last month in the Malayalam calendar beginning on July 17 this year, is generally observed as 'Ramayana month' in the southern state by the Hindu community.
According to Vibhag sources,the one-month-long programmes have been organised under the banner "Ramayanam Nammudethanu, "Nadinte Nanmayanu" (Ramayana is ours,It is the goodness of society).
Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala would inaugurate the programmes on July 17.
The programmes would begin with 'Ramayana parayanam' in the morning, party sources said Former union minister Sashi Tharoor, MP would deliver a lecture on 'Ramayana is ours', they said.
The KPCC outfit's announcement comes days after 'Sanskrit Sangh', which has a number of pro-Left scholars, academicians and Left sympathisers as members, had unveiled a state-wide seminar series to observe the month of rituals.
Though office bearers of the outfit had claimed that the Sangh is an independent organisation, it is widely considered that it has the backing of the ruling CPI(M) and the Ramayana seminars were part of the left party's attempt to counter the attempt to 'hijack' the epic by the BJP-RSS.
CPI(M) state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also rubbished media reports that Sanskrit Sangh was its feeder organisation and said the left party had no plans to observe 'Ramayana month'.
Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala today said that unlike the CPI(M), his party has a tradition of holding programmes to mark various festivals,cutting across religions.
"Unlike CPI(M), we respect all religions. We used to conduct several programmes to mark religious festivals.
So there is no need to mix our Ramayana month celeberations with that of the CPI(M)," he said.
Vinod Sen, district chairman, Vichar Vibhag, said several programmes on the epic would be organised across the district as part of the campaign.
'Karkitakam' is the lean season ahead of the Malayalam month 'Chingam' that ushers in Malayalis' most colourful festival of Onam.
Temples and traditional houses across the state would reverberate with the chanting of verses from the Ramayana during the month.
Elders chant verses from 'Adhyatma Ramayana', authored by medieval devotional poet Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan for 30 days in front of lighted lamps.
Temples and cultural outfits also arrange recital of the epic and special poojas during the season.