Scope of Kerala's neo-renaissance movement amid human sacrificetext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: The human sacrifice of two women at Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta in the name of prosperity and money has brought to light how fragile the Kerala government's neo-renaissance initiative is. The course of action of the movement shows how in the hands of seasoned politicians the purpose of noble acts was derailed.
The gruesome killing of two women happened in the name of superstition and black magic. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government is in power for the last six years which has always reiterated its progressive face. Pinarayi Vijayan government was re-elected after its first term ended in 2021.
CPM which is leading the ruling front has many frontal organizations which uphold progressive views. The government and CPM are defenceless to explain a thing as the co-accused Bhagaval Singh is an active party worker and self-proclaimed progressive man.
"This cruel incident has proved that our society is not at all progressive," said CPM Politburo member M.A. Baby to English Madhyamam Online. "We should openly discuss it in order to correct the mistake," he added.
The first Pinarayi Vijayan government (2016-2021) formed the neo-renaissance committee on 2018 December 1 after Sangh Parivar-led organizations started massive protest marches and reciting prayers against the government welcoming the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women at the age group of 10-50 in the Sabarimala temple case.
The neo-renaissance committee was formed with the aim to protect secular values, spreading gender equality and preserving the renaissance values the state achieved through social reformers like Sree Narayana Guru and Ayyankali. Over a hundred community organizations like Sreenarayan Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and Kerala Pulayar Mahasabha (KPMS) were part of the renaissance committee.
SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellapalli Nadesan was elected as its first chairman and KPMS general Secretary Punnala Sreekumar as convenor. Later the Samithi was enlarged by reaching hands to organizations from Christian and Muslim communities. District-level committees were also formed. At the initiative of the neo-renaissance committee, a woman-human wall was formed from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.
Thousands participated in the 620 km long wall that was started after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan garlanded the statue of the social reformer 'Ayyankali' at Vellayambalam in Thiruvananthapuram. Many progressive women and secular organizations were also part of the wall. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) fought the 2019 Parliament election raising the value of gender equality and renaissance.
But the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Congress swept away the election. Soon after the setback CPM gave up the neo-renaissance movement and committee. Leaders ranging from CPM state committee members to local leaders visited houses and expressed regrets over its support of the SC verdict.
Its then state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had even stated that Sabarimala women's entry was not its issue. Punnala Sree Kumar, the general secretary of the neo-renaissance committee had openly come against Kodiyeri's statement. He also warned the CPM leadership that to fight the extremist Hindutva ideology soft Hindutva was not the solution. The neo-renaissance committee was inactive in the following months.
The government called the meeting of the committee only after LDF was re-elected to power. But Punnala Sreekumar had resigned from the post of convener. Even though he had cited his busy schedule in his organization KPMS, there were reports that he was unhappy with the functioning of the neo-renaissance committee and the government's attitude towards it.
"The CPM would use the renaissance committee when it wanted to get any political mileage," said a member of the renaissance committee. "The Sabarimala SC verdict allowing women entry was a classic example. When it made an electoral setback, CPM abandoned the neo-renaissance movement. Now after it was re-elected it wanted to prove its progressive face," he said.
The same leadership which boasts about the renaissance, at the same time allows its members to take charge of temples, churches and mosques, said a CPM state committee member on the request of anonymity. "The killing also proves that CPM's youth wing DYFI which embarked on scientific temper has no impact on the society," he added.