Kerala

CPI(M) reaches out to NSS

NSS General secretary G.Sukumaran Nair offering floral tributes at the Mannam Samadhi Mandapam at the NSS headquarters in Perunna, Changanassery on Saturday  

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] appeared to have leaned on the occasion of the 144th birth anniversary of Mannathu Padmanabhan, the founder of the Nair Service Society (NSS), to reach out to the organisation in the election year.

An article in Deshabhimani, the party's newspaper, said Mannam's role in the so-called “Liberation Struggle” against the first Communist government headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad did not rob him of his sheen as civil rights torchbearer.

The article sought to make light of Mannam's helmsmanship of the agitation that unseated the E.M.S. government. “Mannam might have overlooked the fact that the land reforms enacted by the E.M.S. government had benefited lakhs of Nair leaseholders hugely. The prospect of big landowners losing huge swathes of their property to the government had perturbed him and occupied his mind more,” the article said.

It also reminisced about Mannam's leadership of the Vaikom Satyagraha, the historic protest against caste discrimination and untouchability.

No one caste could truly claim Mannam's political legacy. He had fought for the emancipation of marginalised sections of society, including backward classes and Dalits. Mannam rolled back the ills of the matrilineal system that dominated Kerala society for long. He also put an end to dominant Brahminism to create a more egalitarian and modern Kerala.

The newspaper also carried an article on Mannam by NSS general secretary Sukumaran Nair. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had extended 10% reservation in government jobs for economically disadvantaged persons from socially and educationally privileged forward communities.

In the process, it had risked the ire of Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS) and SNDP Yogam. The social organisations that formed the traditional base of the CPI(M) had opposed the move vehemently alongside the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

However, the NSS and CPI(M) relations appeared to sour with Mr. Nair's demanding retrospective effect in implementing the Travancore Devaswom Board reservation ahead of the local body polls.

The NSS had also held-back from attending the social outreach programme led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and rejected his invitation to be part of the Renaissance Protection Committee in 2019.

The perceived strain seemed reflected in Mr. Nair's statement on polling day that the voters were distraught.

The political importance of Mannam Jayanthi was also not lost on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Generations to come will be grateful to Sree Mannathu Padmanabhan Ji for his pioneering contribution towards community service, social justice and cultural regeneration. His was a life fully devoted to the betterment of others. I pay my humblest tributes to him on his Jayanti.”

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:19:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cpim-reaches-out-to-nss/article33481307.ece

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