87 Years After his Death, Politics Over Social Reformer’s Legacy

87 years after his death, despicable fight has ensued over Sree Narayana Guru’s legacy in Kerala.

2 min read
Controversy erupted after SNDP leader when Vellapally Natesan’s (top inset), decision at moving closer to the BJP. (Photo courtesy: <i>The News Minute</i>)

Sree Narayana Guru, a social reformer Kerala reveres, has now been reduced to a political tool, by multiple parties in the state.

On Saturday, Guru’s statue was damaged in Thalassery and three BJP members were arrested and let off on bail soon.

The act of vandalism has become a full blown controversy with the BJP claiming that the CPI(M) was behind it.

The CPI(M) has questioned why the accused were given bail almost immediately and has blamed the UDF government if being hand-in-gloves with the BJP. The party has also accused the Sree Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) of not protesting against the vandalism, as the SNDP was moving closer to the BJP.

It all started few weeks ago when Vellapally Natesan, the leader of the SNDP, a socio-political group that represents the backward Ezhava community, hinted at moving closer to the BJP.

Ezhavas are one of the most influential communities in Kerala and the SNDP’s shift angered the CPI(M) that sees Ezhavas as its vote bank.

Natesan faced barbs not just from the CPI(M), but from the Sivagiri Mutt that follows the ideals of Sree Narayana Guru and engages in several socially-oriented activities. Without naming the SNDP, the Mutt had said that certain group was moving away from the core teachings of Sree Narayana guru.

Just when the SNDP and CPI(M) were engaged in a war of words, the CPI(M) featured a tableau of the Guru being crucified as part of its Onam procession in Kannur district on Saturday.

One of the men crucifying the Guru was wearing a saffron turban (Sangh/BJP), the other donned yellow colours (SNDP). While the SNDP compared CPI(M) to Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, the BJP called it a vulgar attempt.

Pushed to a corner, the CPI(M) apologised for the tableau.

The fight to claim the Guru’s legacy is only going to intensify as polls approach.

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