Updated: August 12, 2016 8:00:01 pm
Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju’s Facebook post praising Kerala on how it embraces diversity and promotes unity has found favour amongst Malayalis across the world. Word has now even reached the Chief Minister’s Office, with Pinarayi Vijayan penning a response to Katju’s post.
Thanking Katju for his “kind words” about Kerala, wrote Vijayan, before proceeding to correct an inaccuracy in his post. Katju had written that scheduled castes in Kerala “never suffered the discrimination that they suffered in the rest of India”. This, however, is inaccurate according to Vijayan.
Saying that there was a time when untouchability was practiced even in Kerala, Vijayan wrote that power struggles were waged against caste discrimination and feudalism which paved the way for reform in the state.
“Malayalees who aren’t thrilled by the memories of struggles against land lords and feudalism in Punnapra Vayalar, Kayyur, Karivallur, Morazha, Onchiyam etc. are few. The contributions of social reform leaders like Sri Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, Sahodaran Ayyappan and left progressive forces in creating a consciousness that questions caste discrimination in Kerala cannot be overlooked. Guruvayur satyagraha, Vaikom satyagraha and Paliyam struggle which were conducted to secure the freedom of worship and movement for the marginalized are glowing chapters in Kerala’s history,” Vijayan wrote in the Facebook note.
Vijayan also extolled the importance placed by Kerala’s society on education. Recalling how the agricultural workers of Kandala went on strike demanding that their kids be allowed to study, Vijayan praised social reformers and Christian missionaries of the past for engaging with the communities that were denied education.
Kerala’s first chief minister EMS Naboodiripad also found mention in Vijayan’s post, with the latter highlighting the achievements of the first communist government.
“The first Communist government led by EMS sought to pave the way for a new Kerala through administrative reforms, education bill, democratic decentralization and public institutions’ interventions in the social sector. I wish to state that Kerala stands apart from the other states because of the severe blow it dealt to feudalism through land reforms and democratic decentralization,” Vijayan wrote.
Vijayan signed off saying that the “real India”, as envisaged by the makers of our Constitution, can only achieved when the rights of all Indians including workers, Dalits, tribals, women, children, LGBTQ communities, Muslims and Christians are protected.
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