What with rising alcoholism, child abuse and the ‘will do whatever’ culture, there is hardly anyone in Kerala today to listen to voices of reason, poet B. Sugathakumari said.

Poet B. Sugathakumari was inaugurating a collective of cultural leaders against the politics of violence in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

The media too seemed to be interested more in this “game of blood” than in initiatives for peace, she charged. The situation had come to such a pass that one got disturbed only if one’s own party member or a member of one’s own caste or community was killed, she pointed out.

In his address, the former Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala N.A. Karim said the culture of violent politics had its roots in the ‘liberation struggle’ launched in Kerala against an elected government. It was true that there was violence in politics even in the past. In fact, political principles had inspired violence. But even then there was some sort of ethics to that. The situation now was nothing like that, he said.

Social commentator K. Venu told the gathering that the recent violent murders in Kerala were a sure sign that the culture of democracy was totally absent in society.

Anti-democratic trends

There were powerful anti-democratic undercurrents in Kerala’s politics masquerading as progressive elements, he said. There was a growing body of opinion in Kerala that it was not just governments that should be transparent but also political parties. There was no reason for a political party to hold a committee meeting in secret, he pointed out.

In his address film-maker K.P. Kumaran said it was the youth in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who should have protested loudest when T.P. Chandrasekharan was killed. However, they did not because the youth of today did not have that political consciousness, he said.

Sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman, in his speech, said Kerala cultural leaders were primarily responsible for the decline of values in the State’s society. Kerala was a land of pseudo-intellectuals, he added.