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The CPM in Kerala seems to be in the grip of an intense death-wish
It is the Congress in Kerala that specialises in taking its own life when everything is going right for it. (Must be in the genes — look at the UPA.) The CPM, on the other hand, is unsurpassed in its strategy of survive-and-flourish by any means. But the cold hand of history seems to have put the CPM too in the grip of a death-wish. The only other explanation would be that it is unconsciously conforming to Kerala's top-dog position in the suicide chart of India. The decade-old power struggle between state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and former chief minister and present leader of the opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, which splintered the party monolith beyond repair, is at the core of the suicide phenomenon.
The CPM's history of driving Malayalis up the wall with notorious anti-people tactics like noku kooli or look-on-charge might have had the seed of the death-wish in it. For those unlearned in noku kooli, a brief summary will be enlightening. You are, say, moving house. The worker comrades demand a prodigious sum to load/unload; so you decide to do it yourself with help from friends. The comrades look on from a distance; when you're done, they ask to be paid the demanded wages. If you don't pay up, there is a bit of violence and you get hurt. The revolution in Kerala says the worker must be paid even if he doesn't work. That is a kind of workers' paradise even Marx did not anticipate.
But the story of the undivided communist party's tryst with Kerala in the forties and fifties is another matter. The party was one of the prime movers of social change. It triggered progressive forces in literature, theatre, music and the arts. It revolutionised the feudal caste and class equations, gave negotiating power to agricultural and industrial workers, initiated land reforms and actually functioned as an agent of enlightenment.
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