CPI(M) Party Congress: Kannur Gets Into Festive Mood
Ashok Dhawale inaugurating a seminar on agrarian issues at Iritty
When 811 delegates from 24 state units of the CPI(M) convene at the 23rd party congress in Kannur to decide the left party’s path forward, the district known as the fortress of the left celebrates the ‘festival of the working class’ in style. In the run-up to the triennial, the organising committee chaired by Kerala Chief Minister and CPI(M) Polit Buro member Pinarayi Vijayan has ensured the participation of every member and fellow travellers of the party in Kannur, in one way or the other.
People en masse, across sections, joined in to make the campaigns and other associated programmes- a grand success. The entire district, hosting the party congress for the first time, showcases its communist tradition in various forms to welcome the delegates and visitors. People from across the state flow to the ‘red-clad town’ in northern Malabar to witness the exhibition of the party’s organisational strength in the region.
Kannur Exhibits Rich Tradition of Working-Class Movements
The strongest roots of the Communist Movement in Kannur can be traced back to the birth of the working-class party in Kerala. Parapram, near Pinarayi in Kannur, hosted the historic secret meeting of the Communist group functioning inside the Congress Socialist Party, which gave birth to the Communist Party in Kerala in 1939. Legendary worker-peasant struggles across northern Malabar that followed the birth of the party in Parapram enrich the Communist history of the region. Kaur, Karivellur, Morazha, Munayankunnu, Padikkunu, Onchiyam and many other villages in northern Malabar witnessed revered struggles against the brutal oppression of the poor.
Athletes carry Flag in a procession to the Party Congress venue
The peasants and workers of the region fought a dual battle against the British regime and the local landlords. Many were martyred in these struggles from 1939 to the 1950s, which laid the foundation for a strong working-class movement in Northern Malabar. The legacy of these struggles remains the central theme in a major share of the history exhibition, art expos, and cultural performances, as Kannur never forgets to celebrate the working-class tradition.
The flag post at the conference was brought from the Kayyur martyrs’ memorial by a procession led by PK Sreemathi, a member of the party’s central committee. State secretariat member M Swaraj led the procession from the Punnapra-Vayalar memorial in the Alappuzha district, carrying the red flag hoisted at the party congress. The flag march was received and accompanied by masses in large numbers across the 320 km of its journey.
Women waiting to receive the flag post procession.
The exhibition also includes milestones in the history of the Communist Movement in India and worldwide. An installation in Collectorate ground, Kannur depicts the Kizhvenmani Massacre of 1968 in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, where 44 dalit peasants were burned to death for organising under the communist movement.
EK Nayanar Museum, celebrating the life of the longest-serving Chief Minister of Kerala, and a communist leader who played a significant role in organising the peasant movement in Malabar, is another major attraction for visitors. The museum opened to the public on Sunday by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan uses state of the art technology to give the visitors a life-like virtual experience. The virtual Nayanar on the screen gives recorded responses to visitors’ queries with the same enthusiasm and humour that a communist figure is known for. A wax statue that shows Nayanar at the Chief Minister’s office has been a major attraction of the museum and an opportunity for many admirers to get a selfie with their ‘Comrade’.
Seminars to Encourage Public Discourse
The Seminars organised as a part of the Party Congress featured eminent intellectuals, journalists, and political activists, encouraging public discourse on relevant issues in political, economic, and cultural realms and the state of affairs in the country in General. Prakash Karat, former General Secretary and Polit Buro member of the CPI(M) inaugurated a ‘Challenges to Secularism’ seminar on Thursday. D Raja, the General Secretary of the CPI, spoke at the seminar.
MK Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK supremo, is scheduled to attend a seminar on ‘Centre-State Relations’ on Saturday. Congress Leader and Former Union Minister Prof. K V Thomas, who was also invited to the seminar, confirmed on Thursday that he would attend the seminar considering the significance of the issue discussed. The veteran Congress leader’s clarification came after speculations following an ultimatum given by the state unit of INC, barring its leaders from participating in the CPI(M) party congress programmes.
The party congress and the associated programmes saw many cultural figures, including writers, filmmakers, actors, and intellectuals participating and extending their solidarity to the cause of the working class and the battle against communalism. Noted short story writer T Padmanabhan, Filmmaker Shaji N Karun, Ramachandran Kadannappalli MLA, Kannur Bishop Dr Alex Vadakkumthala, renowned lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran, actor and filmmaker Madhupal, actors Sreekumar, Harisree Ashokan and Santhosh Keezhatur, playback singer Sayanora Philip, noted journalist M V Nikeshkumar etc., attended the inaugural session. Karivellur Murali wrote the welcome song depicting the history and significance of the communist movement, which was presented at the inaugural session with a dance performance choreographed by Dr Kalamandalam Latha. Many more writers and cultural icons extended their solidarity to the conference through short videos circulated on social media through the official Facebook page of the 23rd Party Congress. This includes writers like M Mukundan, T D Ramakrishnan, Santhosh Echikkanam, and Kunjippa Pattannur. Theatre performances and music feasts were also organised across different regions of the Kannur district.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.