Who is Sree Narayana Guru?
Sree Narayana Guru is considered to be the most influential social reformer that Kerala has seen in the last century.
He was born into an ezhava family in an era when people from such communities, which were regarded as Avarna, faced much social injustice in the caste-ridden society of Kerala. He led a reform movement in Kerala, rejected casteism, and promoted new values of spiritual freedom and social equality. He stressed the need for the spiritual and social uplift of the downtrodden by their own efforts through the establishment of temples and educational institutions. In the process, he denounced the superstitions that clouded the fundamental Hindu cultural convention of caste.
He preached and practiced true values of Hindusim and considered Hindusim beyond a religion and never preferred to be called a Hindu Saint. He was also quite critical of conversion activities of Christian Missionaries in Kerala and had re converted many of fellow community members from being confined to an indentity based on religion as well as re converted many temples where Christian crosses were planted.
Modi and Sree Narayana Guru
Modi is probably the first Prime Minister, who is according such recognition to one of the great social reformer from Kerala. During 2013 visit, he had visited Sivagiri Mutt and spoken at length about Guru and his accomplishments. Now again Modi will be visiting the mutt and offering his tributes to the great soul and he is also expected rename Kasargod based Central University of Kerala after Sree Narayana Guru.
During 2013, when Modi visited Sivagiri Mutt, there were similar protests by Congress and Left wing political parties to Modi’s invite and when organizer’s were probed about invite to Modi, they had mentioned about the invite being extended to even Sonia Gandhi, but they couldn’t get a participation agreement from her, whereas Modi accepted and attended.
Since then, the relationship between Modi and SNDP Yogam or Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam has been on a strong foot.
SNDP Yogam General Secretary, Mr.Vellapally Natesan is known to be close to Modi and now SNDP Yogam has floated its own political outfit “Bharat Dharma Jana Sena” a political party which aims to bring unity amongst Hindu’s from Nayadi to Namboodiri for social justice. It is expected join hands with BJP in the coming assembly elections.
Modi’s Kerala visit and controversies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Kerala today, to start his 2 day program and in no time a controversy has erupted over Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s press note, saying he would not be attending the function where Modi is supposed to unveil a statue of former Kerala Chief Minister R Sankar as the organizers has requested him to do so. Late R Sankar is a well known leader of the Ezhava community, who had headed the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and the Kerala PCC.
Now even though organiser’s has owned up the onus of requesting Chief Minister to stay out of function, the reasons are not yet divulged. But when it is Modi related controversy, no issue becomes non issue rather it captures national headlines and even this was raised at parliament today and Rahul Gandhi has termed it as an insult of Keralites by Modi. Local channels are discussing and debating PMO’s role in keeping away Chief Minister from a function which is attended by Prime Minister and both LDF and UDF for a change are singing in the same tune. Truly, Narendra Modi has done what many can’t even imagine in Kerala, the unity between Congress led UDF and CPI-M led LDF.
Why Congress, CPI-M and others are worried in Kerala?
In Kerala, both LDF and UDF have supported Muslim League, PDP, and Kerala Congress (M) etc, who are purely minority political outfits. Muslim league has been part of UDF since some time now, but they have been a partner with CPI-M led coalition earlier. PDP whose founder is behind the bars in Karnataka on charges of terrorism has been partnered by LDF not so long ago.
But literate Kerala never had even an iota of problem in the Secular politics of political outfits preaching and practicing welfare of their own communities based on religion or caste. But whenever anybody talked about welfare of Hindus or unity amongst Hindus, they were branded as communal. Now if UDF had always unofficial support for 11% odd Nair community, then LDF had official support of 20% + Ezava community.
Now with Vellapally Natesan’s “Bharat Dharma Jana Sena” and BJP all set go on an alliance , it is most likely to result in NDA and BJP breaking the Kerala jinx and open account in the next years assembly polls. Even a 10 seat result for NDA will change the political equation in Kerala as in the last election UDF was just 4 seats ahead of LDF. In such a close contest scenario a third front can be too detrimental to the interests of both Congress and CPI-M, as there is no guarantee on support from various partners within UDF and LDF and one cannot rule out switching sides, if NDA can offer a better deal.
Both Congress and Communist leadership are worried with communist being more due to the expected movement of ezava vote bank, which was in a way taken granted by them. Suddenly there is a great awareness amongst everyone on Guru’s teachings and there is a rush in interpreting it as secular or against sangh parivar or even Guru as anti Hindu. But how long these arguments will stay relevant, only time will tell, for the time being a third front in Kerala almost looks certain and Sree Narayana Guru has become the reason.
Since Sree Narayana Guru’s name has been commonly used in Kerala Politics, it will be good if everybody remembers on what he actually stood for.
He preached and practiced “Hinduism” in its true self, he believed Hinduism is a way of life and can’t be confined to a religion as well as he believed caste system by birth is against the spirit of Hinduism.
He opposed the religion based identity and advocated famously “one caste, one religion and one god for every being”.
Hope politics will do justice to his ideals.
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