Tough Times: Reds Cite Vedas to Win Hearts
By Cithara Paul - NEW DELHI
Published: 26th Jan 2014 07:38:55 AM
Its mythology over ideology for the Communist party of India as a survival strategy. Left staring at a rapidly shrinking support base, and unable to attract the new generation of voters, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is turning to the power of Hinduism to stay relevant.
Today, a three-day seminar begins in one of the last red bastions in the country which will focus on the “power of the past”. The Kannur meet—aptly called Bharateeyam—will have stalwarts studying the past to seek answers for the future.
For the first time in the history of any Left party, sessions will be held on traditional Indian knowledge systems, Indian philosophy and culture. Also on the agenda are detailed discussions on Vedic and pre-Vedic periods and the Upanishads.
The seminar, which will be attended by academics and Vedic experts from across the country, will have separate sessions on Vedanta, Indian Philosophy and Thoughts, Relevance and Significance of Upanishadic Literature and Indian Knowledge Systems.
“Vedic literature forms a wonderful monument of literary wealth handed over to us by our ancestors…” begins the brochure for the seminar. And the stated objective of the meet is to “popularise ancient authors and their thoughts to the new generation without any prejudice.”
While one may, out of habit, associate these topics with right-wing politics and ideology, one need not anymore if one goes by the CPI argument.
“Vedas and Upanishads are part of our collective past. Why should we let the RSS hijack it? We all have lessons to learn from these ancient texts,” said a CPI leader when asked about the apparent incongruity in the topic of the seminar and the tenets of Leftist ideology. Organised on behalf of a trust named after late CPI leader N E Balram, the seminar is being attended by politicians and academics from across the country.
“Other Communist parties may agree or disagree, but it is a fact that no Left party can survive in India without acknowledging India’s collective past and traditions,” the CPI leader added for good measure.
Going a step further, the brochure proudly declares that CPI leaders like Veliyam Bhargavan and K Damodaran are “scholars of Vedic literature and classic Sanskrit.”
Interestingly, the seminar is being held at a time political parties are still recovering from the after effects of the AAP phenomenon in Delhi and elsewhere. CPI in particular has reasons to worry as its senior leader and National Council member Kamal Mitra Chenoy recently joined AAP. While quitting CPI he said: “Either we can say people are stupid or we are behind times.”
However, CPI leaders insisted the seminar had nothing to do with AAP.
Also read: Reds' Holy War to Save the Flag