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A ‘yatra’ towards equality

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A ‘yatra’ towards equality
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Vellapally Natesan, General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an organisation of backward Ezhava community, had embarked on his much publicised 'Samathwa Munnetta Yatra' starting from Kasaragod on Monday inviting huge criticisms from all quarters.

The ‘yatra’ which is expected to reach Thiruvananthapuram on December 5, aims at uniting members from Nayadi to Namboothiri communities and to strike a better deal for the majority community in Kerala. Both the ruling Congress-led UDF and the Opposition CPI (M) led LDF have already strongly critisised Natesan’s rally and its intentions. BJP however, appears excited and reports of the RSS playing a significant role in organizing the rally have also surfaced. The SNDP was formed on May 15, 1903 with Sree Narayana Guru as the president and Kumaran Asan as its secretary. The fact that the organization had contributed greatly to the benefit of the society in the state is undeniable. Even though it was formed for the upliftment of the downtrodden Ezhava community, it succeeded in gaining a secular image in the society. It has been able to organize joint protests and hold platforms cooperating even with the backward communities outside the Hindu society. One would wonder the reason for the rampant criticisms and disquiet in the society when a state rally is being organized by such an organization that have gained a public recognition. The purpose of the rally and the slogans itself are what has invited public reproval.

The concepts raised related to the rally speaks the language of sectarianism unknown to the Keralite society. Nobody disagrees over the matter of all sections of the society entitled to equal justice and representation. But the slogans of the rally are in no way related to such concepts. The sectarian politics endorsed by the Sangh Parivar by placing the minority communities of Kerala particularly the Muslims as enemies, is what is taking Vellapally’s ‘yatra’ forward. There are apparently no arguments on whether all sections of the society have attained proportional representation or if they have received the deserved justice. But the propaganda that the whole of Hindus are becoming victims to injustice and that the Muslims and Christians are seizing away everything is baseless. Vellapally frequently makes the statement that all the development in the state has been routed to Malappuram and Kottayam. Examining the economic review report of the state published every year by the state government reveals one thing. Malappuram district for years have been lagging much behind in per capita income. Despite this reality, Vellapally and his supporters think that his statement that all the development was confined to districts like Malappuram, would be believed by at least a few. The Syrian Christian community in Kerala that falls under the minority category is undeniably on the top most rung of the socio-educational-economic ladder in the state. But they have enjoyed that status even before India gained independence and the state of Kerala came into existence.

The community’s development and progress haven’t been brought about by any of the state governments and have retained their position so far. They have also, no doubt, tried to turn the majority status into achievements in the new political scenario as well. But that’s not the case with the Muslim minority. They are still lagging behind in the socio economic and representational sectors. The Narendran Commission, Sachar Commission and the reports of the Kerala Science Literature Movement all reiterate this reality. Any report otherwise by official or unofficial agencies have not yet been released. Therefore Vellapally’s propaganda that the Muslim minority snatches away everything is baseless. The Dalit-Adivasi sections are the most downtrodden among the Hindu society and efforts should surely be made to uplift them. The Constitution as well as the laws has recognized it as well. The government and the political parties should strive to make it happen. Instead of triggering political controversies related to Vellapally’s rally, estimates that reveal the real picture of the different sections of the society should be released. Those who are deserving and less deserving would all come to light when the estimates are released. Vellapally as well those opposing him should be willing for this step. Let the reports speak. Making communal statements would only create more fissures within the society further weakening it.

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