Photo: EMS Namboodiripad (left) and AK Gopalan
Communists are the most vociferous defenders of Freedom of Expression. Left intellectuals and comrades spew venom on Hindu gods and goddesses and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and if anyone objects, they will make a big hue and cry.
But, the heavens will fall if someone dares to criticize Communist gods. Sometime ago, when a girl posted a nude photo of Ernesto Che Guevara in protest against SFI activists putting up nude Sarawati hoardings on a Kerala college campus, she was trolled and threatened by pro-Left cyber goons.
The latest victim of CPI(M) intolerance is VT Balram, the Congress MLA, who is a serial offender as far as using foul language against his political rivals is concerned. His language often crosses all limits of civility when he criticizes PM Modi. But never has he faced any threat from the Rightwing workers.
Recently, in a Facebook post, Balram insinuated AK Gopalan, popularly known as AKG, legendary Communist leader and the first leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha in 1952, of being a paedophile. He accused AKG of having an affair with teenage Susheela, who later became his wife after a decade of courtship at the age 22 years. She was his second wife. Susheela was the daughter of a Communist leader in whose house AKG was hiding during a crackdown on Communists.
To buttress his argument, Balram refers to a 2001 The Hindu article: ‘Love in the time of struggles’, which talks of Gopalan marrying Susheela in 1952. Gopalan fell in love with Susheela when he was living the life of a fugitive in early 1940s. Since Susheela was born in 1929, in early 40s, she’d have been a pre-teen or a teenager while 1904-born Gopalan would have been a middle-aged man. Balram has also put up relevant pages of AKG’s autobiography which talks about their affair.
In this context, it may be mentioned that in a recent interview, former Marxist leader KR Gowri Amma had claimed that AKG had once proposed to marry her but she declined it, as she did not like him.
Marxist leaders, including state minister MM Mani, had slammed Balram for posting his views. A group of Marxist goons even attacked his house. It’s interesting to note that none of the “Award wapasi gang” had condemned the attack. Some Left intellectuals went to the extent of seeking an apology from the MLA.
In 2010, noted Malayalam writer Paul Zacharia was manhandled by DYFI activists for speaking out against CPI(M)’s duplicitous attitude towards man-woman relationship. In a meeting in Payyannur, a Marxist stronghold, Zacharia had said the CPI(M), like the Church, was trying to foist conservative attitudes towards sex. According to him, the first-generation Communist leaders had “lavishly indulged” in sex, taking advantage of their underground lives, but the present-day comrades had lost that “generous attitude”.
Although the attack on Zacharia invited widespread criticism, then state secretary and present chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan justified it, calling it a “natural outburst of comrades”. Criticizing Zacharia, Vijayan said, “What would happen if a speaker tried to cast aspersions on Christ at a meeting attended by Christians only? When Zacharia mentioned about early leaders, the comrades at Payyannur had in their mind the late leaders P Krishna Pillai, AK Gopalan and EMS Namboodiripad. He should not have denigrated such leaders.”