In a surprising development, communism which is known to be antagonistic towards religious beliefs seems to be embracing Hinduism in India. This comes as an even greater surprise given that communism is India is distinct from communism elsewhere. Its hatred towards religion has traditionally been confined to Hindus and Hinduism in India. Other religious groups share a strong rapport with communist factions. As a matter of fact, Christian missionaries have time and again extended support to communist parties.
CPI(M) has decided to observe ‘Ramayana Masam’ (Ramayana month) in its last standing bastion Kerala. It has announced that it will back a series of initiatives by a group of Sanskrit scholars and cultural organisations during the Ramayana month in the state. This is in stark contrast to the party’s anti-Hindu propaganda. While the CPI(M) is defending this move as a counter-narrative to the religious propaganda by BJP and RSS, the fact that CPI(M) is officially atheist and has still taken such a decision is raising eyebrows. This becomes even more suspicious given that the decision coincides with BJP’s rise in the southern state. It shows that the CPI (M) is rattled and is now deserting its ideology for retaining political power.
This is not for the first time that such a decision has been taken by the communists in Kerala. In fact, over the past few years, the ruling party in the state has also been organising Janmashtami celebrations and taking out marches on the pretext of countering communal passions generated by the BJP. When the communists first organised a cultural procession of kids on the day of this festival in 2015, many thought that this was an attempt to instil the renaissance values in the minds of the new generation. However, since then the practice has become an annual affairs raising serious question on the CPI(M). One wonders if the CPI(M) is doing all this just to remain in power in the state. In fact, this phenomenon is not restricted to Kerala. In March this year, the CPI(M) had taken out a rally on the eve of Ram Navmi in West Bengal.
The party has maintained that it has no role to play in organisation of the Ramayana month. However, sources close to the party have told Firstpost that the programme was chalked out with support of the CPI(M). The party leadership even deputed state committee member V Sivadasan to coordinate the programme.
Interestingly, in 2009 the CPI(M) had adopted a rectification document that had laid down clear guidelines for party workers on religious issues. One of the guidelines was to educate party members to eschew all social, caste and religious practices that were alien to the communist ideology. The document had stated that communist leaders cannot preach something in public life and practise something else in their personal lives. CPI(M) had also sought an explanation from the state temple affairs minister, Kadakampally Surendran last year after he performed certain religious ceremonies at the Guruvayoor temple.
The way CPI(M) has taken an atheist position in the past and is now observing Ramayana month shows the hypocrisy of the communist party. It shows that the party has no values and can go to any extent in order to grab or retain political power. In fact, to that end it can even give up on its ideology. It is a bizarre argument to say that this is necessary in order to counter BJP-generated communalism. Even if we were to assume that BJP is creating communal hatred, how will observing Ramayana month help. The fact remains that CPI(M) has realised that its traditional anti-Hindu line is now backfiring badly. It has also apprehended that this might ultimately lead to the party losing its last bastion Kerala as well. Therefore, it is resorting to such tactics and in the process it is getting exposed before the electorate.