CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has alleged that the RSS is leading the “forces of darkness” and it is now the fight of ideas with them in Kerala as the right-wing organisation is piggybacking the Sabarimala issue to gain entry to the state.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Karat, her party’s lone woman politburo member, claimed the entry of women of all ages into the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala is not about religion but politics for the BJP.
Her allegations against the RSS-BJP came as Kerala witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine after the LDF government decided to implement the September 28 Supreme Court order to that effect.
The BJP has said it stands with the devotees who hold the Sabarimala tradition close to their hearts — and will not let the LDF “crush people’s faith with impunity”. The court is set to hear on January 22 petitions seeking a review of its verdict.
Karat said one million women in Kerala will march against the BJP and the RSS on January 1 to halt their foray into Kerala by piggybacking on the Sabarimala issue. Women will form human chains across Kerala to stand up for social reforms, she said.
“It is to stop the forces of darkness led by RSS and to take forward the values of social reforms. This is the big battle of ideas happening in Kerala and not just on the Sabarimala issue,” Karat, 71, asserted.
Bi-polar polity dominates Kerala, where the Left Democratic Front and the Congress-headed United Democratic Front remain the big players. The BJP, a relatively new entrant into the state’s politics, has extended support to the devotees opposed to the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine whose deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate.
The temple opened for the two-month-long pilgrim season on November 16. But prohibitory orders had been imposed in and around Sabarimala by police following the protests and fear of violence after the apex court order. The BJP has demanded that the prohibitory orders be lifted.
Terming the court judgment on Sabarimala issue as one aspect of what the BJP, RSS’s blueprint is for Kerala, Karat said the state witnessed a wave of social reforms in the 19th and the 20th century and its people needed to decide now if they want to stand with social reforms or recede into darkness.
“All section of society had been involved at that time and mobilised by the great social reformers. Even that time they had to face the wrath of the Hindu orthodoxy.
“What is the fight now is whether those values of social reform and renaissance movement should be taken forward or whether Kerala’s society will be pushed backwards by the RSS. That is the real issue,” she asserted.
Karat said the CPI(M) has always said whether a woman goes to the temple or not is her choice and if she wants to go, she can’t be prohibited.
“Only the fertile women are prohibited, which assumes that menstruating women are impure just as Manushruti (an ancient legal text among many Dharmashastras of Hinduism) holds,” she alleged.
She said the agitation launched by BJP-RSS against the Supreme Court verdict has been exposed for “what it really is”.
“The cause of this issue lies not in religious sentiment but only in highly sectarian political agenda to destabilise the government and to impose in Kerala the Manuvadi ideology,” Karat said.
She said the RSS-BJP and also the Congress leadership initially had welcomed the apex court verdict but later made a U-turn because one section of Kerala’s Nair Service Society, which are linked to royal family, opposed the SC’s judgment.
She alleged the Congress too has been protesting against the implementation of the September 28 judgment.
“The Congress by siding with BJP-RSS’s protest in Kerala over the Sabarimala issue became an accomplice in advancing the political agenda of the saffron party,” Karat alleged.