Written by Mathew Kuriakose and Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma

Christian Hindu Muslim

Syrian Christians in Kerala need no training to hate Muslims, a majority of them by default do so. But no amount of hatred for Muslims had prevented them from being in a seven-decade long political alliance with Muslims under the Congress umbrella. Hate was not enough to turn a minority community genocidal against another.

The coalition politics in Kerala mirrored the trajectory of community formation and social transformation during the 19th and 20th centuries. Lower caste communities, most prominently Ezhavas, Tiyyas and Pulayas who spearheaded social reform, allied with the left. Kerala Congress led by Syrian Christians, the Muslim League and a section of Nairs allied with the Congress. This alliance was forged during the vimochana samaram of 1959 against the first communist government. Elite Nairs, Syrian Christians and Muslims came together to protest the land reforms and socialization of educational institutions. Though status-quoist, the coalition politics that emerged around vimochana samaram had held within it a compromise on power and resource sharing between (savarna) communities that proved to be remarkably resilient despite its failure to bring together ordinary Christians and Muslims together. The Congress-led UDF did practically nothing to convert the political alliance of minorities into a social one.

The Hindu Nazi siege of Sabarimala was the most important event that shaped CPIM’s reworking of this coalition politics. It suddenly had to face the reality of radicalisation of its ranks as well as of Hindus in general. The brilliant history of social reform and anti-caste struggle to which CPIM owes its origin and sustenance has faded from the mainstream political culture that it has cultivated. Having realized that it has no intellectual and political resources to counter Hindu Nazis, it had to work out a strategy based on Hindu Nazis’ terms.

The 2020 local polls has changed Kerala politics by breaking the long-held political alliance of Christians and Muslims.

Once the Left Front cemented an alliance with the most prominent Christian party, Kerala Congress (M),  CPIM is doing everything possible to turn the Muslim-hating Christians into a genocidal minority community against the Muslims. The Hindu Left is propagating three lethal lies to achieve this; a) Congress has been hijacked by Muslims b) Muslim League is a communal party c) Congress-led United Democratic Front is now actually led by Indian Union Muslim League.  They are lethal because they are intended to make Christians go after Muslims, not just break away from Congress led UDF.

It is not Leftist/secular ideology or welfare politics that has prevented BJP’s electoral victory in Kerala as many people tend to believe. The demographic advantage of the Christian Muslim electoral alliance did it. And, the Hindu Left is hell-bent on breaking this demographic wall of minorities against Hindu Nazism.

Once CPIM successfully turns Christians into a genocidal force against Muslims, both communities would end up politically splintered and electorally cancelled. They are aiming for two birds with one shot. If they successfully turn even a small section of Christians genocidal against Muslims, CPIM would use it to criminalize the entire Christian community, especially the Lower Caste Christians, and make them political invalids (without anyone noticing CPIM’s role in making Christians fascist): if persecuted by Christians, Muslims would be forced to break their alliance with the Congress eventually rendering them political orphans. It would thus lead to Modi’s great dream come true at least in one state, there will be a ‘Congress Mukt Keralam’. Congress Mukt actually means Muslim Mukt, “the BJP is ruling 19 of the 29 states at the present, but has Muslim representatives in only three states. It has made “Congress Mukt Bharat” its rallying cry. But what is immediately manifest is the march towards a “Muslim Mukt Bharat””, as brilliantly demonstrated by Nissim Mannathukkaren.

CPIM daydreams that it can prevent Hindus from going to BJP by freeing Kerala from minority politics, of both Christians and Muslims, and consolidate its rule by a great Hindu consolidation. In other words, it is a plan for implementing Hindu Nazism without Hindu Nazists. BJP has already sent approving signals; as an ideological formation, Nazists care more about the victory of their ideology/programme than their agency in doing it. In other words, BJP has merrily outsourced its work to the Hindu Left in Kerala.

As leftist Christians, we recognize the confluence of historical processes that are shifting the ground beneath and the formation of a Hindu hegemony in Kerala. Complicity and active participation of the Hindu left in this process terrifies us. Kerala Christians must see through this genocidal plan, break away from the Hindu Left and refuse to become the foot soldiers of the Hindu Left’s genocidal machinations against Muslims.

If any Christians can’t see through the Hindu Left plot, they may listen to the timely warning from Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, the Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese:

“Elections will come and go and one may win or lose. But progressive movements should not divide people on communal lines. It is not right to call the Muslim league a communal party and create communal polarization in Kerala society. Muslim league has taken secular positions even in the face of violent and riotous situations. It will hurt the secular social fabric of our society to call the Muslim league communal.”

Kerala’s CPIM immediately reprimanded its General Secretary and Convener of the Left Democratic Front, who made these remarks that vilified the Muslim League likely in response to the Metropolitan’s plea for harmony; while we appreciate it as a positive measure, it should be substantiated by abandoning the policy of pitting one minority community against another.

In fascist times, no community can afford to ignore the wisdom of its organic leaders such as Geevarghese Mor Coorilos. Their instinct is to ensure the intergenerational survival of their communities. This life-affirming quality of community politics in Kerala is our most valuable weapon against Hindu Nazis.

Mathew Kuriakose teaches politics in Kolkata.

Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma is a post-doctoral fellow in the City University of New York.


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