Kozhikode Mayor Beena Philip’s participation in an event organised by the Kozhikode Balagokulam, initiated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to celebrate the upcoming Sree Krishna Jayanti on Sunday has kicked up a controversy, with the Congress alleging that the incident further revealed that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] is in cahoots with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State.
However, Ms. Philip on Monday clarified that her participation in the programme, and the inaugural speech she had delivered, were misconstrued by a section of the media with malicious intent.
In a fix
Responding to the controversy that a Mayor appointed by CPI (M) attended an event organised by a feeder organisation of the RSS, Ms. Philip said that she never thought of Balagokulam as a feeder organisation of RSS and that she had gone there to talk to some mothers.
“As Mayor, I was invited by a women’s collective to talk to mothers. I do not have an ounce of communalism in my mind and I never associated the programme with any religion”, she explained.
Regarding her comment at the programme that North Indians take better care of children, she said that every child was given equal consideration in every house in that part of India, as against Kerala where a child in the neighbourhood is treated differently. The North Indians are more liberal in their treatment of children, she added. “If you love Lord Krishna, you should treat every child like you would treat Lord Krishna. It will then develop as a good culture”, she said, adding that the report in a popular newspaper, that she asked the mothers to raise their children to be religious, was false.
Addressing mythical monopoly
Ms. Philip said that the mythical characters were not the monopoly of any religion. “I have a picture of (Goddess) Saraswathi at home. Anyone who learns Malayalam naturally associates language with Saraswathi. It is part of our cultural psychology that everyone interprets in their own way”, the Mayor said.
She added that the CPI-M had never imposed any restrictions on her regarding taking part in a programme as Mayor, but only that it should not be communal. However, District Congress Committee president K. Praveen Kumar alleged that the Mayor’s participation in Balagokulam event showed the unholy alliance between CPI-M and BJP and added that the CPI (M) had given the Mayor a platform to carry on these political symbioses.
Meanwhile, BJP district president V.K. Sajeevan said that the people who made a controversy out of the incident were narrow minded. “People of different political affiliations should come together for cultural events”, he added.