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Kerala: Its first brush with Democracy And Nehru

This re-reading of history of Kerala tells us that before jumping on the Modi Government on the basis of motivated fake news, let us remember that we might have already escaped the worst dangers of lapsing into tyranny as Plato says every democracy runs the risk of, very narrowly, courtesy the First Family of the Indian National Congress.

First the admission, I began writing this piece long time back as Modi Government and undeclared Emergency has been a constant theme ever since Narendra Modi arrived on the national scene, much to the surprise and obvious chagrin of political pundits and Congress’ first family affiliated journalists.

The constant theme was that the nation created by the demi-God of democracy, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru has gone to the dogs. They went to Nehru because most of them owe their current position to their parentage and their ancestors depended on Nehru for the positions they created for their incompetent progeny. Another issue was that it was not possible for them to go to Rajiv since he had the blot of 1984 – the biggest genocide in Indian history, on his name and Indira had real Emergency to her credit.

So they danced around Nehru as the defender of democracy. Narendra Modi, the outsider, they hated and attacked with obvious irrationality. They even attacked Modi for hurting the federal structure of India.

Between the Father and daughter duo, the founding members of the modern version of Congress, they sacked Eight and Fifty Elected Governments respectively, using the tool of President’s rule under Article 356, ostensibly meant to be used in the extreme case of breakdown of constitutional machinery. Out of 124 cases of imposition of President’s rule and sacking of democratically elected Governments in the state (hail federalism!), 87 are by Congress Government and the fascist BJP has between Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi only 8 instances of imposition of president rule in a state (Vajpayee- 5 and Modi-3). This data takes the wind out of the cunningly crafted narrative of creating a demon of dictatorial tendencies out of Narendra Modi, who has, in reality, often to the annoyance of his own vote base, been anything but.

This same cabal jumped at a fake news by claiming that the BJP chief while declaring support and sympathies of the protesters peacefully struggling to protect their faith, also declared that the central Government is contemplating the dissolution of Kerala Government.

In the aftermath of the crackdown of the Communist Government of Kerala on the real devotees of Sabarimala, to gain entry into the Temple for fame-hungry atheists, with more than 1000 arrested, I would personally think sacking of Kerala Government for human rights excesses, justified. However, Narendra Modi has been a stickler of Constitutionality and would not have supported any such move.

Armed with this news, which later was declared by The Scroll as being fake and incorrect was enough for the traditional Modi detractors like Swati Chaturvedi, an ex-News reader on NDTV, Nikhil Waghle and even the erstwhile Modi supported and recent turn-coat Rupa Subramanya to attack Modi.

(Read OpIndia’s report here: Lies about Amit Shah’s Speech in Kerala)

As a common citizen, I would think that if Narendra Modi decides to sack the Kerala Government, looking at the way, Communist Government has made the state an ideological battleground between state machinery and Hindus of the state; he would be justified in doing so. Whether he does it or not, is another matter. As we look at it, more than 1000 common citizens have been arrested in the state.

Let us look at how Nehru, hailed as the hero of democracy by the journalistic coterie of fanboys and girls of the first family of Congress, would have handled the situation, with a short view of how he did handle it in his term as the Prime Minister.

Coming back to Kerala, the state was carved out after the State Re-organization in the year 1956. The Communists won the elections subsequent to the state reorganization, with a slim majority in 1957. Born in an Aristocratic, Brahmin family, as most of the senior Communist leaders are, EMS Namboodiripad became the Chief Minister of the state forming the first Communist Government in any state of India on 5th of April, 1957.

The next two years were going to be tumultuous as Nehru was never going to be comfortable with a non-Congress Government. The Congress, thrown out of power, immediately sprung into action (much like 2014). The Statesman reported, “Ever since the Communist Ministry took office, the opposition parties have done all in their power to bring it down… They, especially the Congress, have cared a little about the means…In some places, the Congressmen supplied the provocation that led to unfortunate events.”

The events were precipitated by Education Reforms Bill. The Bill introduced in the Kerala Assembly by the Communist Education Minister, Professor Joseph Mundasseri, a renowned literary figure. The bill gave powers to the government to standardize the salary and structure across the educational institution.

The Bill was strongly opposed by the Church which had strong control over the educational institutions across the state. Prof. Joseph said that “a section of people in Travancore -Cochin wanted to monopolize education even by challenging the constitution” and blamed the Church squarely for that. The bill was opposed on the grounds of unconstitutionality in the Supreme Court, but the SC supported the bill. The battlegrounds shifted to the state then. Communist mouthpiece The New Age, dated 6th of August, 1958, reports Communist Party state secretary, MN Govindan Nair, declaring that “the trouble in the state was the deliberate creation and a result of a conspiracy between the Imperialist, the Congress and the Catholic Church.”  The Education Bill received presidential assent on 19th February 1959 and became a law.

On 11th of June, 1959, Land Reforms Bill was placed for discussion. On the 11th of June, Congress Party began agitating with the support of Nair Society, The Church and the Muslim League, calling it Liberation Struggle or Vimochana Samaram. The protests entered into violent phase from 1st of May, 1959. Communist Government responded with around 1,50,000 detentions, 1000 imprisoned and 15 shot dead by the Police.

That the Congress in Kerala together with their Church and Muslim League colleagues worked in tandem with CIA was later accepted by the US Ambassador, Mr Moynihan who admitted (in his memoir A Dangerous Place ‘What Congress and CIA Brought Down: By Prakash Karat, 26th October 2017 in Outlook‘)  the engagement in West Bengal and Kerala, but said it was limited to providing funds to the Congress Party, which he said, asked for it (Statement of Moynihan, Published by PRD, The Government of Kerala, 2007).

Huge funds came in from America for the Church as well (As per the Autobiography of Father Vadakkan). The Church mouthpiece, The Deepika, always prompting people for violence wrote in its editorial, “The Chief Minister Namboodiripad who killed Twelve persons and wounded many for the sake of maintaining his terror regime. History teaches us that if one person being alive becomes responsible for the death of many, that person has no right to live.” This editorial takes away all the pretence of peace which one associates with the church while observing it from a distance.

The Congress Party submitted a memorandum to the central government on 10th of July, 1959. This became public on 20th of July, 1959 and the Communist Government replied to it on 28th of July, 1959. AICC President Smt. Indira Gandhi met the President on 25th of July, 1959 and sought the sacking of Kerala Government. She made a speech where she famously said, “The Constitution is for the people and not the people for the Constitution. And if the Constitution stands in the way of meeting People’s grievances in Kerala, The Government of Kerala Should be Changed.” On July, the 31st the Proclamation of dissolution of Kerala assembly was signed by the President Dr Rajendra Prasad.

The Governor’s report submitted to support this imposition of President Rule also mentioned among the reasons large-scale release of heinous criminals who were a part of Communist cadre after coming to power. The Government was sacked even when the party in power enjoyed a majority. The Governor recommended sacking of the elected Communist Government, without any floor test, merely on his personal conviction, claiming “I am quite convinced that the Government has lost the support of the majority of the people.”

Home Minister GB Pant quoted the complete surrender of the law and order machinery to the newly formed Communist Government in  the newly formed state under EMS Namboodaripad as one of the key reason, citing as an example the release of 34 Communist cadre activist sentenced for murdering the Policemen (more things change, more they remain the same) and otherwise too, a large-scale and indiscriminate release of criminals belonging to the Communist party. Morarji Desai noted that Nehru was hesitant in sacking the elected government which was still in majority, but the will of the Congress president prevailed, latter being his daughter, Indira. Nehru denied, even in the face of overwhelming proof indicating otherwise, that there was any Congress Conspiracy in this sacking of the first majority Communist Government of Kerala and claimed a popular movement against the elected government in Kerala became so big that it was “quite beyond my capacity to stop it”. This also meant the acceptance of the Church and Muslim league (latter was earlier called by Nehru as a dead horse) as an important pressure group.

Out of 124 cases of imposition of President’s rule and sacking of democratically elected Governments in the state (hail federalism!), 87 are by Congress Government and the fascist BJP has between Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi 8 instances of the imposition of president rule in a state (Vajpayee- 5 and Modi-3).

Often the past has answers for the present. Sometimes the Past is also a mirror to the present. We all need to look into the past some time to get an honest perspective of the things. Whether or not the current central government can find solace and solution in the history is not for me to say.

This re-reading of history of Kerala tells us that before jumping on the Modi Government on the basis of motivated fake news, let us remember that we might have already escaped the worst dangers of lapsing into tyranny as Plato says every democracy runs the risk of, very narrowly, courtesy the First Family of the Indian National Congress.

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Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His Hindi Satire "Ganjhon Ki Goshthi" is on Amazon best-sellers. He has just finished translating the Autobiography of Legendary revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil in English, to be soon released as "The Revolitionary".

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