People of Kerala and government employees collectively defied the diktat of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and celebrated Onam with Socio-cultural fervour
CPM-led LDF regime’s orchestrated designs to demolish the cultural ethos of Kerala do not find any easy cake walk, thanks to the deep roots of tradition and Bharatheeya culture the population of Kerala possesses. The LDF ‘raj’ took out all weapons from their quivers and sheaths. One minister sermonized against prayers before the beginning of government programmes. Another minister spoke against lighting the traditional lamps. And, the third one for stopping RSS shakhas in Devaswom Board temples. But, Pinarayi crossed all the limits; he asked the government employees not to celebrate Onam in the offices during office hours. It was a rude shock to the people of Kerala who are famous for sticking on to the traditions and culture with respect to the festivals. Naturally it raised lot of eyebrows throughout the length and breadth of the state. Then there were off record signals from the CPM leaders that employees can celebrate before or after office hours or on holidays. General public should not suffer when they come to government offices for one or the other reason. Even though the last condition was harmless and also reasonable, the real aim behind the ‘reforms’ does not sound innocent, especially when one co-relates it with other two ministerial suggestions.
One can not be blamed if someone blames anti-Hindu intention behind this diktat. If his intention was genuine he could have issued an order as soon as he took over that no religious function would be allowed during office hours and there would be strict actions against those who violate it. As the order was issued just before Onam, naturally those who go home about an hour before the scheduled closing hours during Ramadan period survived unscathed. If the CM’s new directive were a blanket one applicable to all communities, opposition is highly unlikely. No one can oppose CM’s instruction not to entertain the vendors in the offices during office hours. But the way it was worded and timing coinciding with Onam (and Onam alone) gave it an anti-Hindu colour.
Naturally, most of the government offices witnessed almost the same manner of Onam celebrations as they did during yesteryears. Employees made “Ona Pookkalam,” flower carpet on the floor in different shapes and designs, as part and parcel of Onam celebrations.
In the secretariat, the nerve centre of the state administration, members and workers of pro-Congress orgnisations celebrated Onam and made Pookalams in the morning. Some of them could finish it before the office hours. Some others finished by 10.30 and 10.45 AM. They worked till 5.45 PM to express their protests. Association president J Bency informed that, they began to make the Pookkalam by 8 AM and finished by 10.45 AM. So, they would work till 5.45 PM. Bency maintained that government directive was impractical.
Workers of Bharatheeya Janatha Yuva Morcha and Bharatheeya Mahila Morcha made Ona Pookkalams in front of the government offices to mark their protest against the CM’s orders. BJP workers resorted to these protests throughout the state.
And, people of Kerala find double standard in CM Vijayan’s stands with respect to Onam and All India General Strike of September 2, 2016. Vijayan’s Facebook post was a call to the people to make the strike a success. It was a day after he appealed to state government employees to avoid Onam celebrations at office premises during working hours as it could cause inconvenience to the public. Reacting to this BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan opined, Pinarayi should first control trade union leaders who strike and conduct union activities during office hours rather than restricting Onam celebrations. BJP alleged that CM’s seeking support for the strike violates the law. On the other CM is supposed to ensure freedom for movement of the people.
T Satisan, Kochi