NSS stands by the basic tenets of working for social justice
Unlike earlier times, the Nair Service Society (NSS) and its leader G. Sukumaran Nair have taken a studied silence in the run-up to the 2014 Parliament elections, making it clear that the NSS would stick to its policy of equidistance this time, much in advance. While this new approach has baffled many, others believe that this is yet another way of expressing the will of the NSS, in a subtle manner. However, the NSS general secretary keeps his cards close to his chest saying that he does not want to drag the organisation into unnecessary controversies. Excerpts from an interview:
Question: Why this silence this time?
Answer: No. We are not silent. We have already made our stance clear much ahead, that we will stick to our policy of equidistance from all political parties and coalitions. But we want to insulate the organisation from unwanted controversies.
During the past few years, we had fought many battles to ensure social justice and won most of them. However, our fights were not for the benefit of the Nair community alone, but for the entire spectrum of communities belonging to the majority and the forward segments. Our stand on the need to have government support for aided educational institutions would come to the help of weaker sections of society who depend on these institutions.
However, while our open stance on the issues had generated many enemies and dragged the organisation into unwanted controversies, we found that the beneficiaries of our fights were not only unenthusiastic about it, but were also eager to find fault with us. Our primary aim in taking the current stance is to insulate our organisation from such controversies.
This does not mean that we have withdrawn ourselves from the earlier stance. We stand by our basic tenets of working for social justice based on secular and democratic values. And we reserve our right to speak out and take stance on social issues that were of concern to our community.
Q: Do you believe there is an anti-minority consolidation in this election?
A: I don’t want to put it that way. There has been a clear tilt towards minority communities during the UDF reign, right from the fifth Ministerial berth to the Indian Union Muslim League. In the run-up to elections, all political parties have indulged in it. This election will be one which would be fought increasingly on communal and religious lines. And this is because the political parties are increasingly giving in to vote-bank politics.
Q: How do you see the intervention of the religious and community-based organisations in politics?
A: In this respect, the role of the NSS should be viewed differently as we are a social organisation functioning towards social justice and committed to secular and democratic ideals. We never stand for sectarian interests or community interest alone. All our fights were for the benefit of society and not for the Nair community alone.
I firmly believe that it is not proper for religious and communal organisations to get involved in party politics. However, they have a role in morally influencing the larger politics of their respective communities and evolving them as constructive players in the political process of the country, who could stand up against denial of justice in society.
Q: Are the political parties taking up the real issues in this election? If not, what are the real issues from the point of view of the NSS?
A: None of the political parties have taken up the real issues. On the one hand, people are facing unprecedented rise in prices of essential articles and on the other, the prices of farm produce generated within the State are falling very badly. Corruption at all levels is also faced by the people.