R Sankar statue hullabaloo in Kerala’s clandestine politics
by C I Issac on 17 Dec 2015 0 Comment
Kerala’s political affairs for the last two decades are controversies, mysteries and scams. This is an unending and enduring phenomenon of the political contours of ‘God’s Own Country’. The tent managers of Kerala Political Circus effectively shift the attention of the masses (voters) from vital issues of the state. That political front becomes victorious which will create an effective controversy in the weeks and months before voting.


The United Democratic Front (UDF) has been ruling Kerala for the last five years and has now entered the final round of the election scenario. This ruling front has gone through several controversies and survived every allegation by the stratagem of creating a new controversy or counter movement and shifting the focus of media to the new one.


The last controversy was a convicted criminal’s revelation cum threat to release CD’s of sexual relations with the notorious ‘solar’ fraudulent lady with MLAs, Cabinet Ministers and even the Chief Minister. Now, as another election nears, the ruling Front which is subject of the said sex scandal is waiting to escape from this ‘padmavieham’ (chakravyuha, invincible trap). By sheer luck, the UDF got the straw of R Sanker’s statue unveiling ceremony as a windfall opportunity and now the entire focus of Kerala has shifted towards this controversy.


The UDF and LDF are together striving to neutralize the recently successfully concluded Jana Munneetta yatra under the leadership of SNDP leader Vellappally Natesan on behalf of the ever-marginalising Hindu society of Kerala. The LDF and UDF are united, ignoring all their political differences, since the Yatra began, in order to neutralise the impact of the Jana Munneetta yatra.


The first outcome was the distortion of Vellappally Natesan’s protest against the government’s religion-based and discriminatory disaster relief policy. Natesan said there was religion-based discrimination by the government in distributing disaster reliefs. Further, he said, “only Muslims get due assistance from the government when they die in disaster” and “one should die as a Muslim to get benefits from government”.


The government registered a police case against him under sections pertaining to inciting communal hatred for the above statement. As a precaution, Natesan reserved his earlier invitation to the Chief Minister in the proposed statue unveiling program. Natesan doubted that at the last minute, the Chief Minister may announce that he could not share the dais with a person charged with communal hatred. Such a withdrawal, no doubt, would take some of the shine off the already concluded Yatra.


The wise and insightful SNDP leader smelt a rat. On an earlier occasion, the LDF Chief Minister EK Nayanar boycotted at the last minute Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s function to inaugurate the State-sponsored Kudumbasree (women’s empowerment) program on May 17, 1998. Natesan averted such a repetition of history.


Congress leader, R Sankar (1909-1972), was not a conventional Chief Minister. He was a man above corruption, scandal and nepotism. His tenure as CM of Kerala (1962-1964) turned out to be an eyesore for the Catholic Church of Kerala, which mastermind behind the notorious liberation agitation against the first elected EMS Namboodiripad government. In Sankar’s cabinet, a Catholic church icon handled the home portfolio. He was the Church’s nominee to the office of the CM. It is said that the high-command was well aware of the weakness of the icon. During the good old days of the Congress party, they followed the policy of “Make the state look above suspicion,” and preferred R Sankar as CM. hence, the church and the honorable church icon began to haunt Sankar and the Congress Party. This finally ended in the birth of the Kerala Congress.


Thus the first parting of ways was witnessed by the Congress Party. The age-old Catholic Ezhava wedlock started from the days of Nivarthana (Abstention Movement of Travancore 1933-1937) agitation ended as tragedy. The Abstention Movement was the handiwork of the Church that aimed to widen the gulf between Nairs and Ezhavas along with the slander of the popular Diwan, Sir CP Ramaswami Iyer, who was responsible for the historic Temple Entry Proclamation.


This proclamation ended the Church’s opportunity to enhance its frontiers of Christendom in Kerala. In the meantime, the church’s icon lost his public image and was caught red-handed by the public in doubtful circumstances in the wee hours of the day along with a ‘social lady’ when the state car driven by the home minister himself met an accident and R. Sankar, the last of the idealists in the Congress Party, removed him from the cabinet within 24 hours of the incident. Sankar thus “cleaned the Augean Stables.” In retaliation, the Church cultivated anti-Ezhava sentiment amongst its laity and parted ways with the Congress, giving birth to the Kerala Congress. 


Later, Congress and Kerala Congress joined hands and formed the UDF. This new coalition opened the Congress doors for the Catholic Church and furthermore, the ascendency of Sonia Gandhi turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Catholic Church all over India and provided an upper hand to the Church in the All India Congress Party. Hence the Church regained the lost paradise of power politics in Kerala and the rest of India.


But the wrath of the Church on R Sankar did not end. In the Lok Sabha election of 1971 the Congress high command decided to field Sankar from Chirayankeez (Quilon) constituency. The Church and Christian lobby of the Congress party squashed the high command decision on the ground that he was an old man of 62 years. The same lobby fielded a Young Turk of Sankar’s own community who was married to a Catholic lady. Thereafter, this young man with Ezhava blood and Christian knot continued to represent Kerala on behalf of the Ezhava community in Parliament to this day. The paradox of the affair is that a man who was elevated to parliament as a youth representative has now crossed 80 years and does not care to remember that Sankar has then only 62 years old (in 1971).


Now, both fronts of Kerala fear the victory of the BJP-SNDP combine in the forthcoming Kerala Legislative Assembly elections. The survival of both fronts is at stake. Hence, the avoidance by the Chief Minister by SNDP from their private function of unveiling the statue of R Sankar was a burning issue.


The government and the opposition front maintained certain pre-conceived reservations from the very beginning regarding the Modi government. The only Chief Minister who abstained from attending the oath-taking ceremony of Narendra Modi was Oommen Chandy, then Kerala CM. At the same time, the same CM attended the oath-taking ceremony of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Similarly, the Chief Minister of Kerala deliberately avoided the PM of India for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Vizhanjam Port, a 50-year-old dream of the people of Kerala, which dream was fulfilled by Narendra Modi. The present government in New Delhi also made lavish financial aid to fulfill the people’s dream. The government of Kerala’s lapse of avoiding the Prime Minister from the inauguration of the work of the new port was simply ingratitude.


In the light of the above stated facts, readers may judge who is the villain of Sankar’s statue-unveiling ceremony.    

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