(This is the text of the open letter from leading women’s studies scholar and renowned feminist intellectual, Prof. Samita Sen, to the Chief Minister of Kerala on the Hadiya case) Continue reading Restore Hadiya’s Dignity as an Adult: Prof. Samita Sen to the Chief Minister of Kerala
This is the text of the open letter to Com. Pinarayi Vijayan from Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All-India Progressive Women’s Association]
[The title is inspired by Balachandran Chullikkad’s searing poetry]
I have recently been asked about why I didn’t write anything about the anniversary of the CPM-led government of Kerala. Have also been asked why I don’t write about politics in Kerala anymore. The answer to the first is easy and painless: governments are not organic things. You measure your kid’s height and weight and other things and think about how they have grown in their minds and hearts on their birthdays. There is nothing that proves that anniversaries are the best occasions to reflect on how governments have grown and thrived. The answer to the second question is more conflicted and excruciatingly painful: it is because we have no politics in Kerala, but plenty of anti-politics. therefore, what one needs to do is invest in the silent, unglamorous, unpopular, long-haul intellectual and political labour that may preserve the possibilities of politics in the future, and that may even create internalities capable of courage and responsibility necessary for being political. Continue reading Losing the Soul’s Acid Tongue … Terrorist State, Unbowed Children at Kerala’s Puthvype
The hunt, it seems, is on again. The CPM in power has begun to show its fangs again, and shamefully, they seem to threaten only dalit people who refuse and criticise their disciplinary/welfarist embrace. In north Kerala, two dalit women were arrested for having allegedly attacked a DYFI leader who abused them in casteist terms. In the south, the persecution of the Buddhist Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM)seems to have begun afresh, with the police and the press foisting on them responsibility for the recent bomb blast at the premises of the Kollam Collectorate. The two women mentioned belong to the Congress party; as for the DHRM, the CPM has had a long-standing grouse against them, carried forward now from their last term in power. I am not sure, but the recent ouster of Laha Gopalan, the leader of the Chengara land struggle in the wake of the CPM’s return to power, could be part of this story too. I have no love lost for that man, who evoked the name of Ambedkar but ran the village set up by the landless in Chengara like a crude caste headman. But the timing of his expulsion and the way the village seems to be under the thumb of the police arouses discomfort. Continue reading Crushing Dignity, Force-feeding Honour: The CPM is Back in Form Again!
This is a guest post by VIPIN KUMAR CHIRAKKARA
In his address to the media in Thiruvananthapuram after the Left won the mandate in Kerala, Sitaram Yechury announced two positions to be given to two leaders of his own party who had successfully contested the elections from there. One is that of the leader of the legislative party of the CPI-M, or effectively the chief ministership of Kerala. That went to Pinarayi Vijayan. The other one went to V.S. Achuthanandan. He is made the Fidel Castro of Kerala. Yechury, the embattled general secretary of the party who is also known to be closer to VS than to Vijayan, elaborated on the function of the second position since, seemingly, he felt that people could develop doubts about the implication of this honour, if not an anxiety whether the left victory in a single assembly election is turning Kerala into Cuba. He clarified that VS will be an inspirational symbol providing advice and direction to the new government, and added that the veteran leader could not head the government due to his advanced age and poor health. Yechury was, of course, flanked by the state secretary of the party Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and VS himself. The suspense thriller of this election thus had the curtain fall, with an anti-climactic scene of unity.
It would deprive us of a unique opportunity to know another meaning of the mandate if we ignore how Yechury has read it. He interpreted the mandate in the same address to the media that was held in Kerala’s capital. He had a special reading to offer us, indeed different from what we all would ordinarily imagine. His reading is distinguished from ours by its methodology itself. He does not look at the assembly elections with reference to states where elections have taken place now. According to him, elections took place in 820 seats. He took out his cell phone and provided the statistics of the results. The BJP could win only in 64 assembly seats, the Congress in 115 whereas the Left has been victorious in 124. He said that this was “the absolute ground reality”. He assured us, the anxious beings, further that this reality implied no such threat as the return of the saffron. When a journalist mentioned to him the victory of the Trinamool Congress that had won above 210 seats in West Bengal, he said he had in mind only the national parties. So, we are expected to understand if we haven’t yet, that the Left’s is indeed an impressive performance as a national party!
If I weren’t aware of Kerala’s more vibrant political past,I’d have died laughing this elections. The election campaign in Kerala was impossibly funny. Just to give you an example — in Thiruvananthapuram, in the middle of the campaign, we were treated to the spectacle of all the three major contenders — of the CPI, the Congress, and BJP — don the costume of the chivalrous knight — indeed, pushing and shoving each other quite unchivalrously– determined to rescue the damsel in distress. However, there was no damsel waiting to be rescued! Continue reading Vaikom Viswan and Little Bo-Peep