The Nair Service Society (NSS) has excoriated the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s bid to lionise its founder Mannathu Padmanabhan to curry favour with his followers and later conspiring to blot out the renaissance leader’s indelible social legacy when its political purpose was served.
NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair on Saturday sharply reacted to a recent article in CPI(M) newspaper Deshabhimani hailing Mannam’s leading role in Kerala’s historical struggles against caste discrimination, brahminical hegemony, superstition and untouchability.
The writer said political differences with Mannam apart, his role as one of the foremost renaissance leaders in Kerala was indisputable. Mr. Nair said Mannam led the peaceful protest to allow untouchables into Guruvayur temple in the 1930s. However, the LDF government conveniently forgot Mannam’s part in the historic struggle when it inaugurated a monument to commemorate the Guruvayur Satygaraham in 2018.
Mannam’s followers have seen through the Janus-faced policy of the LDF. They have also recognised the deep-rooted “political animosity” that motivated such brazen denial of Mannam’s bequest to Kerala society.
NSS general secretary said the educational institutions build by Mannam had served all sections of society. He had spearheaded the Vaikom Satyagraha and fought against social evils.
The LDF had made several overtures to the NSS in the run-up to the Assembly election. It had extended 10% reservation in government jobs for economically disadvantaged persons from socially and educationally privileged forward communities.
More recently, the LDF heeded to the NSS’s demand to withdraw cases against those who participated in peaceful protests against the enactment of the Supreme Court’s majority decision in 2018, allowing women of all ages to worship at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. The LDF had also agreed to take everybody on board before deciding any future course of action on the Sabarimala issue.
However, the NSS leadership appeared unimpressed.