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The scholar and the ignoramus

The scholar and the ignoramus

One of the most remarkable statements that came out following the results of the 18th Lok Sabha election was that of Kerala Chief Minister Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan. ‘Accepting the people’s verdict and correcting the lapses, the government will implement its schemes with greater efficiency’, the Chief Minister was responding against that backdrop of LDF’s crushing failure in polls. From left activists to the media, which is billed as ‘baying for Pinarayi’s blood’ welcomed this statement. While the Left party's defeat delighted the opposition, the election results disappointed many, and both groups openly expressed it. They pointed out the factors they perceived to have led to this defeat. Analyzing and commenting on election results is just a normal and natural process in a democratic system. Using the rights ensured by the Constitution, which the Hindutva forces in a decade of being in power crushed and fantasized to undermine wholly if another term of office omes in their way, Geevarghese Mar Coorilose made some remarks. In a precise note on social media, he pointed out 70 percent of the factors that led to the defeat of the Left Front. The conviction from witnessing the suffering of people forced Coorilose, who works among common people having renounced the altar and church titles, to write the note. Usually a system that is determined to correct cannot be provoked when it is pointed out that ‘correction should not be a cosmetic procedure’. Within a few hours after expressing willingness to correct, Chief Minister reacted to the priest: ‘there may be ignoramus among priests too’, vehemently expressing intolerance. Following which the party workers unleashed horrendous cyber-attacks. This spiritual leader, who is known for his calls to use the silver and gold crosses and assets in places of worships to alleviate poverty, is more entitled than the opposition political parties to speak out against the government's extravagance. Chief Minister's statement against Geevarghese Mar Coorilose, who is proud of being a left-winger while maintaining a sensible stance on all socio-political issues, was dishonorable and condemnable.

Religious outfits and their leaders play a significant role in the socio-educational and cultural development of our country. It is evident in Kerala’s achievements in the fields of education and health care. Many religious leaders speak up for the people and even take to streets to raise their voices because it is self-deception and against their faith to cozy up to the government, accepting everything they say and turn a blind eye to the flaws. There have been attempts by governments including in Kerala to demonize and to brand them as extremists. Many incidents were reported during the rule of the left government, where the protests were blamed on extremism for the sole reason that Muslim outfits or their leaders were among those who protested against the injustice of displacing the poor under the guise of development projects. An elderly priest named Stan Swamy, charged with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act offences, was denied treatment and was killed in jail for his fight against the injustices towards the tribal people. Albeit there was no crucifixion and stoning, calling a priest ‘ignoramus’ stems from the same mentality.

Remember that only a few months ago, a religious leader gave a hateful speech full of falsehoods capable of communally polarizing the people of Kerala. When many spiritual leaders in Christian community including priests, and cultural activists, called out the hateful agenda, what the government did was to send out a cabinet representative to the controversial speaker, expressing solidarity, and hailed him as a scholar. It is to be deemed that the head of the cabinet has not been able to distinguish between hatred and criticism to date. Sadly, the delay will not only endanger the government or the party but the society of Kerala itself.

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TAGS:EditorialKerala chief ministerGeevarghese Mar Coorilose
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