Pinaryi Vijayan’s Left government (LDF) in Kerala uses its two hands differently: One wears a velvet glove for Christians and Muslims; the other a baton for Hindus.
The latest evidence was on Wednesday when under the state government’s pressure the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi withdrew its award to KK Subhash who had drawn a brilliant cartoon in a vernacular magazine on the alleged rapist, former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakakal.
The state government took the step on the objections of Christian clergy and browbeat Akademi into submission, notwithstanding Akademi is an autonomous body and that the essence of Indian Constitution is freedom of speech and expression.
The cartoon is a brilliant work of art. Mulakkal is depicted a rooster trampling the police cap, propped up by his supporter MLA PC George and an approving PK Sasi of the CPI(M) who himself has been accused of sexual harassment. Both the bishop and Sasi are wearing the same headdress, implying “cock” of the same feather. A beaming bishop is upholding the crosier (staff) strapped by pink-coloured lingerie while a bunch of nuns are running for cover. The cartoon’s caption– “Vishwasam Rakshati” (Your Faith Will Save You)–is the knockout punch.
This one cartoon is enough to know everything concerning Mulakakal and the alleged over a dozen rapes he committed on a nun for two years (2014-2016) while he was Bishop of Jalandhar. Kerala Police sat on the case for months before a public outrage left them with no option but to knock at the door of Mulakakal. Vijayan’s government, by transferring investigating police officials, played its role of a laggard to a perfection.
Now let’s look at the Sabarimala episode. Armed with the Supreme Court mandate, Vijayan’s government used every trick in the world to make sure adult women could sneak through into the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa and assault the faith of millions of Hindus. It caused consternation not just in Kerala but also helped a Hindu consolidation in the rest of the country.
Vijayan’s government had no qualms if it hurt the Hindu sentiments. It brazenly slams BJP and RSS but has open doors for radical Muslim groups, SDPI and PFI. It’s because Hindu voter today is divided between Congress, Left and BJP in the state. Left projects itself as the non-Muslim pole in Kerala and reaps a rich dividend (though the winds are changing as just a single seat in the 2019 General Polls has been its worst show in Kerala).
Vijayan, much like Mamata, faces assembly test in 2021. With Congress on a high, CPI (M) can’t afford to lose out on Christian votes. Almost 20 per cent of Kerala is Christian but the real numbers far exceed these dry statistics. Christians are the richest and most powerful minority in Kerala which dominates fishing and jewellery business. The faith is also deep-rooted: Over 1000 churches in the state are a pointer.
The United Christian voice in Kerala is in complete contrast to divided Hindu affiliation in Kerala. This, when Hindus historically have often suffered in this coastal state. It was Hindu rulers who welcome Christians when they first came to its’ shores in 52 AD. It was still Hindu rulers when Muslims took the sea route and became sons-in-law (Moplahs). These were the same Moplahs who killed and raped thousands of Hindus in the 1920s. Or Tipu Sultan, who by an edict destroyed Hindu temples and killed tens and thousands of Hindus.
Who can forget the devastating changes in the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act 1950 in 2007 which in one stroke passed over the Devaswom Board, and thus cash-rich Hindu temples, into the controls of state governments to loot at will? They didn’t even bother to consult Hindus despite 70 Hindu organizations shrieking in protest. It’s Devaswom Board which control the income from Temples.
(The trick is ingenious: Income of several thousand crores goes into Devaswom Board bank accounts as fixed deposit. The government never pays back on these FDs. That’s how the Kerala government “controls” the temples. Sabarimala too is milking cow for Kerala government. Temples and sale of hard liquor are two major sources of revenue for Kerala. Beat that.)
Today Hindus are declining alarmingly in Kerala. From 69 per cent in 1901, it declined to 55% in 2011 census, a 14 per cent erosion. Muslims and Christians have improved demography by 10 and 4 per cent in the same period which points towards the role of conversion in such a decline. Muslims and Christians are concentrated in the north and south of Kerala. Muslim (26.6%) presence in the state is the fourth highest in the country behind Jammu and Kashmir (68.3%), Assam (34.2%) and Bengal (27%). Experts predict that by 2061 the state would’ve more Muslims than Hindus.
We know that Communists hate religions. It’s because the more people are alienated from their culture and beliefs, the better chances they have to grab power. Since Hindus are the majority in India, their best hope is to align with Muslims and Christians.
(P.S: Lutyens Media erupted in anger when a scribe was arrested for “disreputing” Yogi Adityanath of UP recently. As against one in UP, 119 such arrests have been made for criticizing Vijayan in Kerala. Dear Lutyens Media, why no noise?).
Author of “How United States Shot Humanity”, Senior Journalist, TV Presenter