THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Wholly unamused by the prospect of having to don the mantle of a socio-historical crusade, the Left politico in Kerala now seems to be more than wary of executing the task on hand.
It seems unexorcised ghosts of ritualistic practices still remain within a section of the Left, thereby preventing it from taking a categorical stance on the Sabarimala women entry issue.
In a way, it has also opened up an ideological struggle within the Left, while still being able to toe the pragmatic line.
Wholly unamused by the prospect of having to don the mantle of a socio-historical crusade, the Left politico in Kerala now seems to be more than wary of executing the task in hand.
It seems unexorcised ghosts of ritualistic practices still remain within a section of the Left, thereby preventing it from taking a categorical stance on the Sabarimala women entry issue. In a way, the issue has also opened up an ideological struggle within the Left, while still being able to toe the pragmatic line in Parliamentary politics.
The Communist Party in Kerala can boast of having introduced the historic land reforms as well as spearheading many a socio-reformist movement in the past decades. Yet, it now seems apparently unconvinced about going ahead with a revolutionary decision at the cost of vote-bank politics, especially with general elections looming ahead in 2019.
Though the Pinarayi Government made clear that it is duty-bound to implement the apex court verdict, the Left leadership prefers to adopt a cautious approach towards the core issue at hand. With several Hindu outfits spilling over to the streets with agitation against the verdict, and the Congress and BJP mounting tremendous political pressure, the Left is definitely keen to escape the billowing blame game.
Social customs and practices can always change. The current scenario should be viewed in continuation with similar socio-reformist movements, opined writer Satchidanandan.
“I think nothing should stand in the way of implementing the SC verdict. If customs need to be modified, it should be done. In fact, I was worried whether the authorities would rather flee than face reality. It is only now that they are coming up with counter- campaigns. Of course, they are late,” observed the poet.
The Left leadership however begs to differ. The CPM central leadership — which has already come out in support of the steps taken by the state government — insists that the party is all for ensuring women equality before the law, and has clarity in its approach.
In addition to conducting counter-campaigns while rallying its women cadre against the ongoing street agitations, the Left is also pitching for ideological debates.
“The CPM is not running away from its historical calling. Women should have equal opportunity in all sectors. In fact, ostracising them in the name of menstruation, is in a way related to the once-prevalent caste system and upper class hegemony. We do realise the significance of this historical calling — which is on the lines of doing away with Sati, or ensuring temple entry for Dalits and the right of women to cover their breasts in the past. That is why the Left Government is not going to step back,” asserts CPM politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai.
The CPM reiterates that the current agitations on the street would be faced with ideological debates. Both the Congress and the BJP have been playing vote-bank politics in view of the 2019 elections.
In a way, brewing resentment against a series of social reforms and silent revolutions spearheaded by the current government that included appointing non-Brahmin priests in temples could possibly have now erupted in the name of the Sabarimala issue, the party feels.
“The Left believes in equality before the law and social justice for women. The government has made it clear that the Supreme Court verdict has to be implemented. In fact, in this age, when all religions are already set on the path of transformation, such reforms should come from within,” opined CPI national secretary Binoy Viswam.