Thursday, June 21, 2007


Is Marxism in Kerala a Religion?

I cannot help drawing an analogy between the Marxist Party in Kerala and the recent controversies regarding temples. I believe the Party behaves more like a religion than a political outfit.
The Party has become almost a byword for blind belief. Nobody has the authority to question the decisions of the Party bigwigs. Unless you toe their line, you are out. Trying to correct or re-orient the policies will invite derision and being outcast. Those who were once considered the brains of Marxism are now total discards.
The sickle and hammer is more an idol than a symbol. This idol is prominently placed in front of the temple of the Marxist party, the AKG Centre. Its replicas are coming up throughout the State at every nook and corner. The roads all along are paved on either side with this emblem in the form of flags and posters.
Temples for martyrs are being raised day by day, wherever possible. The names of these martyrs are more sacred than that of gods. Places of worship may be demolished for road-widening or other public purposes, but not these constructions. Remove a flag post and there erupts violence.
All forms of worship in temples are followed ditto by the Party. Garlanding the ‘deities’, flower offerings (Pushparchana), Thalappoli, Chendavadyam, Thayampaka, etc. are usual accompaniments to any function. Pageantries along with elephants are not unusual when welcoming esteemed leaders. Flag hoisting is a serene function. The heralding of the flag-mast from great distances, to the accompaniment of lighted torches, is done with more zeal than what is seen in religions. The annual days of leaders of bygone days are celebrated with much fanfare. Every meeting begins with lighting of the ceremonial lamp. Only ‘Karpooraaraadhana’ is missing.
Another more prominent feature of the Party is the confirmed class-difference. The echelons of Party workers are more drastically defined than the ‘Varnavivechanam’ accused of among the Hindus. It is stronger than apartheid itself. In the Bhagavat Gita, Bhagavan said: “Chathurvarnyam maya srishtam, Gunakarma vibhagasa:” (The four classes - Brahmans, Kshathriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras – were created by me on the basis of quality and duties). In the Party, workers are graded into different cadres – PB, State Council, State Committee, Branch Committees, Local Committees, ordinary followers, co-travellers, etc. and the divisions are watertight. ‘Untouchability’ in a different form is at its supreme at all levels. Non-Marxist humans are total outcasts in anything that concerns the Party. Intolerance to criticism reigns supreme. Promotion and demotion are rewards and punishments. Any act or word without respect to the party leaders is liable to be punished with demotion or expulsion. Unless you sing in praise of the Party Secretary, you cannot exist in the Party. Criticize him in speech, poems or cartoons, you invite the axe. It is heard that as many as 2,000 ardent workers of the Party at different levels have experienced the wrath of the Party Bigwig. Why, shouting slogans against a film actor invited expulsion from his parent association for a staunch party worker!
Hero worship in the Party is a two-sided sword. Know for certain whom you are praising! Choose the wrong person, and the sword flies against you.
The Thanthri in Guruvayur did not expel anyone from the religion, to say the least.. He only did some cleansing ceremony inside the temple when he was informed (perhaps wrongly) that a non-Hindu had entered the temple. None would have come to know about it unless somebody else leaked out the matter. But, in the Party, expulsion is a regular course. Anyone who is said to have acted against the ‘interests’ of the Party, according to the Chief Thanthri of CPI(M), will be expelled on the spot and without a chance for explanation. Some men in the Party are greater than gods; their curse can fall any moment for even alleged swerving. The crime can even be supporting the Melsanthi! Religions insist on unquestioned belief in God, whoever that may be. But the Party insists on indisputable allegiance to the Party Head.
Long back, in Hinduism there was divide in the form of Saivaites and Vaishnavites. Is a similar divide going to take place in the Marxist Party of Kerala - as VSites and PVites?
The comparison does not end here. Just as lesser gods used to take their complaints to Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, the lower down party members can take their hurts and seek assuage from the Supreme Power of the Party – The PB. The authority of the PB is so supreme that it suspended two members – the Thanthri and Melsanthi from the PB for petty bickerings and envious comments! The affected take the insult lying down and continue to pass the buck downwards.
Well, temples are there for people to find refuge from their worldly worries. Devotees try to seek some solace there. But, as far as this big temple of Politics is concerned, the followers of this sect seem to walk on the edge of a sword, not sure of when they will slip down from the good books of the powers that be.

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