Kerala

Kerala Budget 2020 | Mahatma Gandhi assassination painting becomes face of Kerala Budget 2020

The cover of the Malayalam version of Kerala Budget 2020-2021 document. Photo: Special Arrangement

The cover of the Malayalam version of Kerala Budget 2020-2021 document. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Tom Vattakuzhy’s painting ‘Death of Gandhi’ adorns the cover Budget document

For a document filled with cold numbers, the Kerala Budget 2020-2021 presented by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac had quite a few poignant images and lines, which became unmistakable political statements.

Right on the front cover was Tom Vattakuzhy’s painting ‘Death of Gandhi’, portraying Gandhi felled by Nathuram Godse’s bullets, flanked by his followers expressing myriad shades of grief and disbelief.

Coming at a time when even some mainstream politicians have begun praising Godse, the image is perceived as attempt at reclaiming history which is being rewritten.

“Democracy and dictatorship are standing face to face in India. The rulers in Delhi speak only in the language of hatred and rancour. Their followers consider violence and attack as their karma. The administrative set up has completely yielded to communalism,” Dr. Isaac began his budget speech with these words.

Saying that we have to perceive the gravity of the unusual challenges being faced by our nation before entering into the budget proposals, he spoke at length on Kerala’s united struggle against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

Taking the lead

The cover of the English version of the Kerala Budget 2020-2021 document. Photo: finance.kerala.gov.in/

The cover of the English version of the Kerala Budget 2020-2021 document. Photo: finance.kerala.gov.in/  

“Which Keralite can’t be enthused by the fact that Kerala provided the moral leadership to these agitations? Kerala is already a model to India in many areas. Kerala shall create a new model of unity, when the country is facing a threat to its very existence. The joint agitation organised against the amendment to CAA by LDF and UDF, keeping away their differences was a surprise to other States,” he said.

Quoting 15-year-old Drupath Gautham’s poem ‘Fear is a nation, Silence is an ornament there’, he said that fear has engulfed even the imagination of our children.

“The anxiety spread by the amendment to Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens is beyond words. The threat of detention camps is hanging over the heads of 19 lakh Assamese, who have lived as Indians till yesterday. But, we cannot give in to this threat,” he said.

 

Student agitations

Speaking on the student agitations against CAA, he said that the future of the nation is in the youth who thronged the street taking the pledge not to give up India.

The cover of Kerala Budget 2020-2021’s gender and child budget document. Photo: Special Arrangement

The cover of Kerala Budget 2020-2021’s gender and child budget document. Photo: Special Arrangement  

“Agitations are rising up everywhere in the country against the CAA that undermines the very essence of the Constitution. We are passing through a period of the biggest agitation in the history of independent India. Students, youth and women are at the forefront of this struggle,” Dr. Isaac said.

The cover page of the Gender Budget Overview Report was a painting by Anujath, a 9th standard student from Thrissur, titled ‘My mother and mothers of the neighbourhood’, depicting all the unseen, often unpaid labour done by women.

Dr. Isaac compared Anuja’s painting to Kudumbashree’s immense contribution in increasing the visibility of women in Kerala’s public spaces.

He ended the budget with Rabindranath Tagore’s lines “Where the mind is without fear,” paying homage to the young fighters who campaigned fearlessly for the heaven of freedom.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:34:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-budget-2020-mahatma-gandhi-assassination-painting-becomes-face-of-kerala-budget-2020/article30763427.ece

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