The CPI(M) government led by P Vijayan in Kerala is continuing with its extreme mistreatment, oppression and denigration of Ayyappa devotees on their way to Sabarimala in the midst of their unwavering penance and arduous pilgrimage.
The inhuman crackdown on Ayyappa devotees, especially young women and the aged is the manifestation of Stalinism in our age. The indignities heaped on them such as forcing them to spend the night beside garbage bins and pig droppings, hurling expletives at them, mocking their faith and zeal for the deity of their heart Ayyappa, exposes the disdain and hate that Indian communists have always harboured for Bharat’s Hindu traditions. For Indian communists, deconstructionism and self-repudiation have been their ideological anchors in their effort to destroy traditions and societies.
BJP president Amit Shah rightly likened the treatment meted out to devotees to that meted out to the inmates of Gulags. For those who had thought that Stalinism and all that went with it had disappeared from across the world, have been proved wrong. Stalinism still lives in Vijayan’s Kerala; Stalinism is still applied to those in Kerala who stand by their faith, their sacred traditions and have displayed a tenacious resilience in protecting and preserving these against the onslaught of an alien ideology. The singing of the sacred and mellifluous ‘Sannidhanam’ has especially been prevented with hundreds of devotees being arrested and abuse being heaped on them. In the last few days, the BJP’s state general secretary in Kerala has also been taken into custody and tortured, because he had the audacity to protest and to continue with his pilgrimage. Yet, one hears no sigh from the Lyuten’s caucus which is usually raucous when it comes to criticising Modi and heaping abuse on him.
During his visit to the state towards the end of October, Shah had asked the communist government on why it was in a hurry to implement the apex court order in the case of Sabarimala and dragged its feet when it came to implementing the order that prevented the use of loudspeakers for the Azaan. Shah’s unequivocal question is yet to be answered. In fact, while Vijayan resorted to abusing Shah, a group of superannuated bureaucrats, taking umbrage at Shah’s speech, terming it “unconstitutional” wrote to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the EC. These bunches of self-serving bureaucrats have themselves always displayed a shallow understanding of Indian traditions and practices.
Over more than four decades now, ever since they began controlling the levers of Indian academia in the 1960s, Indian communists have pushed for an education system that promotes and patronises self-alienation. The fundamental of their approach to Indian traditions and faith has been to try to falsify them, to try and denigrate them and to contort their real meaning and definitions for the benefit of an ignorant and unthinking cross-section among Indian and Western society who lap up their distortions.
In fact, dishing out distorted interpretations of traditions is what communists have done over the world. Indian communists also have, for years, indulged in this repudiating approach. They have learnt well from their intellectual guides and articulators in the West. One needs to look at, for example, the approaches of historians such as Eric Hobsbawm, whose work have nourished generations of communists across the world, especially in India. Analysing, Hobsbawm, British conservative philosopher, Roger Scruton in his celebrated work, ‘Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands: thinkers of the New Left”, writes, for example, how in one of Hobsbawm’s volumes “The Invention of Tradition”, a “variety of authors argue that many social traditions, ceremonies and badges of ethnic identity are recent creations, encouraging people to imagine an immemorial past from which they descend and which endows their social membership with a specious form of permanence.”
In his “Nations and Nationalism since 1780” Hobsbawm argued that “nations are not natural things they claim to be but inventions, designed to fabricate a specious loyalty to this or that prevailing political system.”
Such half arguments made in the Western context were airlifted and applied to Indian conditions by Indian communists with the sole objective of creating generations of deracinated intellectuals who would applaud any attempt to tamper with the fundamentals of Indian traditions. It has seen them repeatedly question and denigrate India’s civilisational dimensions and continuity; it has seen them trying to prove that India is a modern invention and that all talk of a great Hindu past was an invented narrative. It is this same attitude which has seen them oppose, despite the evidence, the fact that there stood a temple dedicated to Sri Rama at the same spot in which the Babri Masjid was later built.
This is exactly what is happening in Kerala today. This wholesale and unthinking importation of communist reading and interpretation of Western societies and their evolution has created a genre of self-alienated intellectuals and political leaders who see India through a foreign prism, who interpret her traditions and belief systems through the parameters that have been evolved in a completely different surroundings and circumstances and proudly proclaim that they have come to reform and reject these.
In the name of implementing the order of the Apex court, Vijayan’s communist government in the state is, in reality, trying to hack away at the roots and the foundational pillars of the society of Kerala. But there appears to be a wide awakening in the state today. It is an awakening that does not seem to stop or slow down. It is an awakening which is generating greater waves, an awakening that seeks to protect and preserve some of the most sacred and defining traditions of the people of Kerala.
In his political biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, intrepid intellectual and interpreter of Indian traditions, Sitaram Goel, a close associate and collaborator of Ram Swarup, makes a profound point. Goel writes, “Opposition to Communism has never been and shall never be a mechanical concomitant of any class, or social status, or nation, or creed, or interest. Every class, every social status, every nation, every creed, and every interest will become an opponent of Communism the moment it becomes conscious of certain moral and spiritual values which ought not to be sacrificed in exchange for any amount of material good or political benefit.”
It is this consciousness of moral and spiritual values that has sustained Bharatiya traditions despite the onslaught of an anti-religious secularism that was foisted on the people in the last seven decades by a certain intellectual and political class.
At a deeper level, the struggle for Sabarimala is a struggle to preserve and to protect our spiritual and civilisational values. It is an awakening in the true sense of the term.