Communism has its roots embedded deep in materialism, to be very precise in dialectical materialism. It advocates common use and common ownership of all means of producing goods. Communism does not admit of a God nor does it acknowledge any element of spirituality in human life. However, the new- fangled Communism followed and practised everywhere today is mostly the pseudo version of the genuine philosophy propounded by Karl Marx and Engels in the early 19th century.
It is in the back drop of this reality that the appointment of non-brahmins and Dalitsas priests in the Hindu temples in Kerala is to be examined. A Communist government in the liberal democratic background as prevailing in Kerala has to have certain obvious reasons to adjust itself to deviate from the basic tenets of Communism. What is alarming is the proud claim of Sree. KadakampallySurendran, hon’ble Minister for Devaswam that he was instrumental in appointing a few non-brahmins and Dalits as priests in the temples controlled by the TravanchoreDevaswam Board. Further, he went to the extent of glorifying the action as a silent revolution ! The Chief Minister who claims himself as a staunch communist should have at least seen to it that the Devaswam portfolio was entrusted to one of the non-communist members in his ministry. The pity is that the discerning public fail to catch the point as to where the present ministry differs from those led by the Congress party. The fundamental style and the agenda of function remain more or less the same with both. I do not venture to categorically examine cases to prove the sameness of policies and actions there on because, as a member of the society I don’t witness any obviously tangible transformations in the society around me that are worthy of note. Unquestionably, the standard of living of the people has ostensibly gone up a bit over what it has been during the last few decades irrespective of which party was in power. However, if one decides to compare the phenomenal growth achieved by Rajasthan, a province that faces serious climatic threats like droughtand infertile soil, the amplitude of growth in Kerala is rather meagre. Despite the enormously abundant supply of natural and acquired resources, Kerala has not been able to strike a remarkable level of development in the areas of Agriculture and Industry, which together serve as backbones of any nation. The barren paddy fields that sprawl endlessly across the State is an alarming example of the callous negligence perpetrated by the authorities.
It is strange that in a Province like Kerala where Agriculture and Industry are so criminally neglected, a minister should stand up and declare that his Government has done the job of revolutionising the management of Devaswam affairs by being so liberal as to appoint priests from classes hither to kept away from the sanctum sanctorum. I don’t mean to belittle the bold initiative taken by the minister. It is historic indeed. My contentionis whether a minister who swears in the name of Karl Marx shall boast that an action as humane as appointing a few of the downtrodden brothers is tantamount to an instance of silent revolution. The concept of revolution is far too wide and deep to be referred to so casually. The Bolshevik and the French Revolutions are examples that brought drastic changes in the world. But the introduction of something unconventional in temple management is too commonplace a reform to be construed as a case of revolution.Besides, there was no resistance from any orthodox section of the society either.
It is an irony that the communist movement today takes a sudden departure from the route it has been making headway all along. Casual compromises are unhealthy though fundamental variations demanded by changing situations can be admissible if need there be any after careful deliberations. The CPI(M) Minister’s recent visit to Lord Krishna temple at Guruvaayurwas unwarranted from the point of view of a communist. As the minister in charge of Devaswam he could do that, but praying with folded palms like a typical devotee was what opened popular criticism. A committed leader of the party, that too a minister is not mandated to pay a holy darshan at any temple. It is impossible to think that our Chief Minister will ever condescend to commit such an act against the avowed dictates of his political faith.
To have a noble vision is great; to achieve it is not that easy.
President, Pampa ParirakshanaSamithi
Othara PO, Thiruvalla, Patthanamthitta,
Kerala- 689 546)