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archive: CPI-M leader attacks Nair community in Kerala

CPI-M leader attacks Nair community in Kerala

D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
Rediff on Net
October 13, 1999

    Title: CPI-M leader attacks Nair community in Kerala
    Author: D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram 
    Publication: Rediff on Net
    Date: October 13, 1999 
    Close on the heels of the missile fired by noted Malayalam writer
    Sukumar Azhikode against the leaders of the Ezhava community, a Left
    intellectual has raked up communal passions among the Nairs, another
    dominant Hindu community, by questioning their secular credentials. 
    While Azhikode targeted leaders by terming them as unscrupulous liquor
    barons defiling the sanctity of the Ezhava movement, Communist Party
    of India-Marxist ideologue P Govinda Pillai, has struck against Nair
    leader Mannath Padmanabhan by calling him a "communally poisonous
    The attack on the leaders of the two dominant Hindu communities by the
    two Left intellectuals have aroused passions in both communities,
    leading to angry reactions from senior leaders. What forced the Left
    camp to hurt the two communities at a time when the CPI-M is trying to
    woo them into the fold is a mystery. 
    The leaders of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam and the Nair
    Service Society, the socio-cultural organisations of the Ezhavas and
    Nairs respectively, are not willing to dismiss the attacks as innocent
    outbursts. SNDP president Vellappally Natesan believes that Azhikode's
    resignation as the chairman of the advisory committee attached to the
    Sree Naryana Dharma Sangham Trust along with its administrator Dr M
    Sharangadharan was prompted by charges of sexual exploitation and
    financial embezzlement levelled against some members of the Trust
    Azhikode had mentioned the presence of liquor barons in the Sivagiri
    mutt, which serves as the headquarters of various socio-cultural
    organisations founded by Sree Narayana Guru, a noted social reformer
    and the spiritual head of the Ezhavas, as the reason for his
    resignation. He had given a clarion call to liberate the mutt from the
    clutches of the liquor lobby. 
    The NSS leaders feel the attack against their leader has been prompted
    by the equi-distance policy they adopted in the just-concluded Lok
    Sabha election. The CPI-M had been trying to build bridges with the
    powerful NSS leadership after they pulled out their political outfit,
    the National Democratic Party, from the Congress-led United Democratic
    Incidentally, the NDP pullout was prompted by the alleged consecration
    of Mannam Samadhi by the Congress during the visit of the then prime
    minister P V Narasimha Rao in 1996. 
    The NSS leaders do not think that Govinda Pillai, who has been
    striving to fill the intellectual vacuum created by the death of E M S
    Nampoodiripad, unleashed the attack against Mannam without the
    knowledge of the CPI-M leadership. Pillai had castigated the
    founder-leader of the NSS while discussing the Nair and Christian
    alignment against the E M S ministry of 1957 in the CPI-M organ,
    Deshabhimani, edited by politburo member and Left Democratic Front
    convenor V S Achutanandan. 
    NSS general secretary P K Narayana Panickar targeted both Pillai and
    the CPI-M in his counter-attack. He asked whether it was Mannath
    Padmanabhan Pillai, who shunned his caste surname or Govinda Pillai,
    who still "wags his casteist tail". 
    The former had shunned his surname as a symbolic gesture to affirm his
    unbounded commitment to the welfare of human society. 
    Panickar reminded Pillai that besides "communal organisations", many
    political outfits like the Revolutionary Socialist Party, now part of
    the LDF, had associated with the liberation struggle. 
    As regards the CPI-M, Panickar wondered how it could question the
    secular credential of anybody when it appeases casteism for retaining
    power and exploit it during the election and selection of candidates. 
    The SNDP leaders say the motive behind the resignation of Azhikode and
    Saranghadharan would come to light when the charges levelled against
    the Trust administration are inquired into. 
    Azhikode had said that he had resigned due to the presence of liquor
    barons like SNDP president Vellapally Natesan in the Trust. The SNDP
    president, however, said that this was just a pretext. The real
    attempt is to seek anticipatory bail against highly damaging charges,
    he claimed. 
    "I am not hurt by Azhikode's attack as it was nothing new for the
    SNDP, which has a history of eminent leaders like R Sankar and Kumaran
    Asan being hurt by members," he said and added that he would continue
    with his style of functioning. 
    He termed Azhikode as a tool in the hands of someone trying to destroy
    the increasing strength of the SNDP movement.

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