Sunday, June 3, 2012
ADITYA MENON: A brutal side to God's own country
Among the many paradoxes that Indian democracy throws up, few can be as outrageous as the statements made by a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader from Kerala. M.M. Mani, the Idukki district secretary of the CPI (M), claimed that the party has annihilated many of its rivals in the past. He specifically mentioned three victims, who were eliminated in 1982. 'We had prepared a list…….the first one was shot dead….the second one was beaten to death …… and the third was stabbed to death,' were Mani's ominous words.
But in what can only be termed as a Stalinist perversity, Mani's proud confession was actually supposed to be an alibi for his party. The assertion that the CPI(M) is open about those it kills was aimed at getting his party off the hook in the brutal murder of 'renegade' leader T.P. Chandrasekharan. On May 4, Chandrasekharan was hacked to death in his home town of Onchiyam in Kozhikode district. The post-mortem report revealed the sheer brutality of the murder-there were 51 stab wounds on his body, all but two of which were on his face, which was mutilated beyond recognition. The Onchiyam area secretary of the CPI(M), C.H. Asokan, and some lower level party functionaries have already been arrested in connection with the murder. Asokan is said be a protégé of the powerful CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
In Kerala politics, Onchiyam has become a metaphor. This is the place where the Communists had led a rebellion against the landlords in 1940s. Along with Kannur, the place where the Communist movement took root in the 1930s, Onchiyam has remained a Communist citadel. But fortunately, it remained untouched by the gory political violence of Kannur. Until now.
Renegades are to Communists what blasphemers are to religious fanatics. In 2008, Chandrasekharan left the CPI(M) and formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP), which aimed at providing a leftist alternative. His mistake was that he criticised the CPI(M) from a Communist standpoint, that too rather vociferously. The party line laid down by Communist hardliner B.T. Ranadive in the late 1940s stated that 'any overt or covert reformist deviations' need to be steadfastly resisted. Pinarayi Vijayan dubbed Chandrasekharan and his supporters as 'pseudo-revolutionaries' and 'powerhungry'. By the yardstick of the Ranadive thesis, Chandrasekharan had proven to be a blasphemer of the worst kind i.e. one who accuses the faithful of having deviated from the true path.
To make matters worse, Chandrasekharan contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Vadakara and though he secured only about 21,000 votes, his campaign targeting the CPI(M) was instrumental in ensuring the party's defeat in a seat which it hadn't lost since 1980. Numerous posters put up at the time of Chandrasekharan's funeral read 'you are not a renegade'. He was not. It was the CPI(M) that had reneged from its revolutionary ideology, retaining only the Stalinist methods of asserting its power. Today, the CPI(M) is one of the biggest landlords in Kerala. It owns a television channel in addition to amusement parks, super-speciality hospitals and supermarkets. Its latest venture is supposed to be a mega water theme park in Kannur district. To be fair, the CPI(M) is the product of a larger culture of political violence that exists in Northern Kerala (Though judging by the havoc unleashed by Mani and his cronies in Idukki, it appears to have spread to the rest of the state as well). The violent clashes between the CPI(M) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Kannur seem to be a throwback to the medieval days in North Kerala when kudipakka (blood feuds) had become customary.
The RSS/BJP is no less mafia-esque in its modus operandi than the CPI(M). It increases its power at the local level by "mediating" in local disputes, invariably giving them a communal twist. It is common for the RSS to jump into the picture whenever a Muslim landlord tries to evict a Hindu tenant, irrespective of whether the latter wants their support or not. During elections, the RSS, which usually commands the unflinching support of a few thousand people in many seats, is known to throw its weight behind one of the two major formations for a price. The intensity of the CPI(M)-RSS rivalry stems from the fact that they compete for the same activities - extortion and hooliganism and both have an insatiable greed for land. Much of their cadres come from the same social background as well. Velupillai Natesan, the head of the Ezhava (OBC) outfit, SNDP Yogam, is known to have said that irrespective of whether RSS workers kill a CPI(M) one or vice-versa, it is always an Ezhava who dies...Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2153560/A-brutal-Gods-Own-Country.html#ixzz1wnEAI8G5