MT on totalitarianism: Left loyalists link remarks to Modi; it's all Pinarayi, claim others

MT Vasudevan Nair. File photo: Manorama
MT Vasudevan Nair. File photo: Manorama

Veteran novelist and filmmaker MT Vasudevan Nair's remarks on totalitarianism, personality cults and the corruption of power politics has sparked widespread debate cutting across political, socio-cultural and religious circles. While many Left loyalists scrambled to interpret the remarks as against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Opposition leaders and others argued that the comments were directed to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

All about Modi
LDF convener EP Jayarajan said that the people of Kerala hero-worshipped Pinarayi Vijayan.  He also likened Pinarayi to AKG and other social reformers while adding that some people were infected by anti-Left emotions.

"I believe MT criticized the central government and Narendra Modi. The American Revolution and the Chinese Revolution are part of history. These historical facts are often quoted by dignitaries in their speeches," Jayarajan said.

Poet and critic K Satchidanandan argued that MT's speech was about the general state of affairs in the country and that there was no need to consider the comments as anti-Pinarayi. Meanwhile, writer and CPM loyalist Ashokan Charuvil slammed the media for misinterpreting that MT's remarks were directed at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who shared the stage with him.

"MT was speaking about the excessive power imposition in the country. But there was a lousy attempt by the media to interpret that his remarks were directed at the CM. The media is attempting to save the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fascist leader. Using MT for their ulterior moves is unacceptable,” Asokan Charuvil said.

Read More: Opinion | How does Pinarayi fare in litmus test for dictators? Two worrisome symptoms

Pinarayi Vijayan. File Photo: Josekutty Panackal/ Manorama

Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese of Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, took to Facebook to say that he was hearing a strong remark with teeth from a prominent cultural personality after a long time.

"I'm hearing a strong political criticism with teeth from a prominent cultural figure after a long time...thanks's a voice which needs to be heard by all those in power...a sharp voice...let those with ears listen...power is not meant to oppress...power should only be for the service of the people...," he said.

'Has Pinarayi written all over...'
Congress leaders VD Satheesan, Ramesh Chennithala and K Muraleedharan said that there was no doubt that the writer's remarks were meant for the Chief Minister.

VD Satheesan with Ramesh Chennithala
VD Satheesan with Ramesh Chennithala

Opposition leader VD Satheesan said that he was glad to hear MT's remarks. 

"Every Malayali is aware of MT's powerful language and sharp words. The remarks he made should not fall on deaf ears. Because, he read out the writing on the wall inscribed by time. All intellectuals, socio-cultural activists and media personnel who pretend to be the epitome of impartality while singing praises to the Chief Minister must listen to MT's words carefully. He spoke of how power can ruin people and lead men to arrogance. He spoke of how dissent is being suppressed. I'm glad that a person of his stature noticed the brutal violence unleashed upon the streets of Kerala. We all are fighting against a fascist regime nationwide. But the realisation that it has reached Kerala is painful. May MT's words herald the winds of change in Kerala. The people of Kerala have common sense. They are fully aware about who the writer spoke of," Satheesan said. 

Congress leader K Muraleedharan said, "What MT said applies to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pinarayi. Those who can read and write will understand the point. Writers and intellectuals who usually favor Left are forced to take a stand against the CPM. CPM in Kerala has degenerated so much under Pinarayi's rule. The government and the Chief Minister should see MT's speech as a strong warning. An approach that suppresses any opposing voice is not correct. If he was talking about Modi , there was no need to compare him with EMS."

Meanwhile, Malayalam actor Joy Mathew took to Facebook to laud the writer saying, "Writer MT becomes an exemplary figurehead because he directly poses questions to authorities who consider themselves omnipotent and hide from people out of fear. If there is a writer with backbone in Malayalam, it is MT."

MT had on Thursday condemned that governance was no longer a public service as rulers have become more dictatorial at a book fest inauguration in Kozhikode. Though the writer never named any leader, it was construed as a veiled attack on the Chief Minister. 

The writer later said that he never intended to criticise anyone but only talked about the current 'reality'. Writer N E Sudheer, who visited MT at his home, took to Facebook to post the explanation. 

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