Pressed into a corner by the popularity of the Sangh Parivar’s sponsored processions, the CPM held marches of its own on Sri Krishna Jayanti on Saturday — what if the Lord had competition from Karl Marx, Josef Stalin, Harkishen Singh Surjeet and even Kerala’s new love, the superhit Premam.
This was the first time the CPM organised such a Janmashtami celebration, even as the Sangh Parivar, under the banner of Balagokulam, has been stealing a march over it with flamboyant processions including children dressed as Krishnas and tableaux depicting mythical episodes from the Lord’s life.
The CPM’s procession was held under the banner of its own children’s organisation, Balasangam.
Officially, the march was timed to mark the end of the CPM’s week-long celebrations for Onam, and the party even claimed the Janmashtami day event had little to do with Sri Krishna Jayanti. However, the party’s intentions were transparent. While Onam celebrations ended a week back across Kerala, Balasangam’s processions were held at the same time as the Sangh’s Janmashtami pageants. And featured Krishna prominently.
In Kannur, where there has been tension between the CPM and Sangh for the past week, the two held 180 processions each. A wary police gave different routes to ensure the parties didn’t cross paths.
The CPM’s Kannur processions had their own little Krishnas, and placards with images of Che Guevara, many Left leaders, as well as Sree Narayana Guru, the social reformer of the backward Ezhava Hindus. The CPM has seen an erosion in its base among the Ezhavas.
Many of the youths holding up the placards were in the dark shirts and white dhotis sported by hero of recent blockbuster Premam.
Earlier in the day, the CPM also organised games and events for the children.
Party leader and state patron of Balasangam M Prakashan Master called the day a great success, while denying it had anything to do with the BJP. “When it is a celebration, it is quite natural to have all the elements. We did not give any direction to local organisers to parade kids as Krishnas,” he said.
RSS state general secretary P Gopalankutty said they could only play this game better. “There was overwhelming support from Hindus in Kannur to the Janmashtami day celebrations against the backdrop of the CPM bid to spoil it,” he said.