By Aditya Aamir
Pinarayi Vijayan is going for broke. It’s a gamble. He has laid all his and the LDF’s eggs in the Swami Ayyappan busting basket, hoping they’ll hatch Navothana chicks and a sweep of Lok Sabha seats in GE 2019. And, not that he believes in god, he’s praying that the Supreme Court will January 22 deliver 49 review petitions on the Sabarimala verdict stillborn. The Kerala chief minister is on a vendetta to decimate Swami Ayyappa.
Logic and rationale are not for the Ayyappa faithful. They run on a bouquet of customs and rituals. A deep faith in the divine power of the celibate deity. Pinarayi puts his faith in a different set of gods –Karl Marx and Chairman Mao. His Holy books are the Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital, both of which rival the Bible in print numbers. The philosophy they campaign is dead most wherever they rang. But apply both to Sabarimala Ayyappa and they are killer-books.
In the chaos of India’s electoral democracy, Marx made the Communist Party Marxist a force to reckon with and Pinarayi was born. If Swami Ayyappa is woven-myth, Pinarayi is carved-stone. Swami Ayyappa in his time was no-nonsense. Pinarayi is no-nonsense. Where Ayyappa brought people of different inclines together, Pinarayi is inclined to divide. Swami Ayyappa commands loyalty, Pinarayi makes treachery a virtue.
It’s battle royal on the banks of the Pamba. In courts of blind justice. Citing ‘constitutional morality’ ad infinitum, Pinarayi is inserting menstrual age women in the equation. Preferably politically-cashable Dalits to take judicial advantage of. Pinarayi is police-escorting ‘yuvatis’ to Swami Ayyappa’s presence as if Swami Ayyappan’s celibacy is curse! Pinarayi’s Navothana sits on a women’s wall. And none of the ‘yuvati’ charged with #MeToo for violating Swami Ayyappa’s brahmacharya.
GE 2019 is do-or-die for Pinarayi and the Left. Win and Pinarayi will be Navothana hero, and the Left a valued part of an MGB government at the Centre. If the top court rules for review of the Sabarimala verdict, it will be kaput! Pinarayi will sink and the Left will drown. But Pinarayi Vijayan plays for keeps. He doesn’t like to lose. There is no mercy in him. He doesn’t take Prisoners of War.
The other day he asked a fiery female Hindutva icon why’s she still alive? “Did you not say you’ll commit suicide if entry of restricted women happens in Sabarimala? Well, it has happened, not one but three women have entered, shouldn’t you be dead?” he asked. And believing that CJI Ranjan Gogoi will not dent ex-CJI Dipak Misra’s liberal halo, Pinarayi has initiated a move to restructure Sabarimala temple administration. Beginning with a beheading!
Ayyappa Temple Chief Tantri Kandararu Rajeevraru is in Pinarayi’s crosshair. The idea is to discredit the Tazhaman Tantri family and weaken its stranglehold on Sabarimala Ayyappan temple. By extension that of the ‘Pandalam royals’. One stone, two birds! Rajeevraru stands accused of practicing “untouchability.” He ordered ‘cleaning’ of the temple after Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini “desecrated” Ayyappa’s abode with their presence.
Some say “untouchability” is at the core of objection to women’s entry into Sabarimala. Untouchability is a crime and punishable under the SC/ST (Atrocities) Act. Pinarayi’s ministers are calling for the Chief Tantri’s head. One of them labelled him woman-hating ‘Brahman Rakshasa’. The Travancore Devaswom Board issued show cause why action shouldn’t be taken.
Of course, mantri and board are ignorant folks. The chief tantri cannot be evicted. Nowhere in the Supreme Court order of September 28, 2018 does the top court say that the tantri is barred from protecting temple customs and rituals. Besides, the Devaswom Board itself is on record that the last word on all matters temple customs and rituals is that of the Chief Tantri. The board said this in an affidavit submitted to the Kerala High Court in 1991. The SC forgot to take note of this in 2018.
What if the Chief Tantri turns and charges the board with practicing untouchability against a Brahmin? Point is if Pinarayi wants to be the Navothana hero, he should work towards eliminating the caste system, which earlier avatars of Navothana could not. It is a wonder why gender-warriors tolerate caste. A substitution of a Brahmin tantri with a SC/ST tantri will not change ground realities.
Holding Sabarimala Ayyappa guilty of fostering gender inequality and caste divisions is gross injustice. The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is where communal, caste and gender divisions get blurred. The crush of human bodies at the Sabarimala shrine is proof in sweat and salt. Of course, women of a certain age group will have to wait, unless they turn male when climbing the hill, a miracle not even Swami Ayyappa can accomplish. Some things are beyond gods, too.(IPA Service)