Dream Reddens Again
The golden jubilee of the first cabinet of the united
Kerala is celebrated in continuation of the golden jubilee
celebration of the united Kerala. This is the land which
Swami Vivekananda attributed as a lunatic asylum in the
first half of the previous century. The mutual animosity
of caste, religion and sectarianism and the related bad
rituals prompted Vivekananda to attribute the land of
Malayali in such a way.
It was the Renaissance movements and the subsequent leftist
activities, which lifted up Kerala from such a condition
to present day state. The Left fraction in Congress, the
Farmers’Movement organised in 1936 as part of it,
Communist Party formed in1937, Agricultural Labourers’
Union formed in 1940 – legendry agitations against
feudalism and kingship and the culture of both of them,
the agitations of industrial labourers since the beginning
of the 40s, the supreme sacrificial battles against imperialism
and the rule of Divan – as a result of all these
Kerala shook off the state of being addressed as a lunatic
asylum and leaped into prosperity. The sum total of that
progress is the Communist Government that came into power
in 1957. In 1959 communal, religious and retrogressive
forces joined hands with Congress in the liberation agitation
to coup that Government. The feudal power and right fraction
conducted the liberation agitation with the aim of leading
Kerala back to the state similar to a lunatic asylumas
attributed by Vivekandanda.
Succeeding the liberation agitation, the Union Government
sacked the EMS Ministry employing Article 356. That was
a heavy blow inflicted on the real developmental progress
of Kerala. The later history is the mixture of the brilliant
fights to resist that retracing and the attempts by retrogressive
forces to block that move.
What it means to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first
ministry of united Kerala is, reminding the ebbs and flows
of the progress of Kerala, and to learn and teach it.
On the very day of
assuming power, EMS declared the policy of Communist ministry.
That oration is a manifesto of our State’s developmental
progress in the democratic way. The policy declaration
made it clear how the promises Party put forth in its
election manifesto would be materialised, what would be
the obstacles and what would be the code of conduct of
the Communist ministers.
EMS asserted the importance
of bringing many private establishments under public ownerships
and nationalisation of plantation, which are owned by
foreigners. EM’s very famous policy declaration
hints the scientific activities of future development
of Kerala like friendly labour relationship, three party
meeting in the case of labour dispute not using police
force to suppress labour strikes, handing over of agricultural
land to farmer, right on land by tenants, prevention of
evacuation, popularisation of educational and health sector
EMS told to the Opposition: “ Criticise our government
as being an opposition, expose the flaws in the laws presented
or steps taken and injustice or unrighteousness done by
government collectively or a minister personally. These
activities are the duty of these parties and organisations.
We will welcome that with absolute sincerity too.
At the same time, these criticisms are to be performed
with the aim to correct the mistakes of the Government
and for the same reason I request them to remember that
it is the responsibility of the opposition to render support
for the good deeds we perform.”
By pointing out that
Communist Party took same stand towards the Congress –
PSP Government in Travancore – Cochin Legislature,
EMS continued, “ If other parties decide to take
such a stand, I have no doubt that the new government
can start and carry ahead, at a certain extent, the job
to build up a democratic and prosperous Kerala.”
The people of Kerala
welcomed the policy declaration with great enthusiasm.
The message was highly democratic. The Government is moving
ahead very disciplined considering the opinions and suggestions
of both the Opposition and the public. But in what the
Opposition engrossed in the very beginning is trying to
coup the government by propagations in the opposite direction.
The opposition engaged
in relentless activities both inside and outside legislative
assembly to destroy Communist Ministry. It was unbearable
to them that a government, standing for the interest of
the working class and farmers, was ruling the State. What
they tried was to make a beeline of all retrogressive,
vested-interested and conformist people and then turn
them against the Communist Government. Thus, Opposition
as leader, a communal, sectarian and retrogressive form
of organisation originated.
For that there were
three key fundamental reasons. Declaration of prevention
of eviction was the first action EMS Government had taken.
An ordinance preventing eviction of anybody. That emergency
law came into force just within one week (April 11) of
the ministry assuming power. That was the demand raised
by Karshaka Sangh since 1936 and Farmers’ and Labourers’Movement
since 1940. Farmers’ and Labourers’ Movement
had been conducting very strong agitations along the State
against eviction. The progressive background formed out
of those agitations – the Communist Rule that came
into existence on that background; the order issued immediately
after taking power against the eviction of farmers from
the lands they cultivate. That rule was a heavy blow on
landlords and retrogressive forces.
Subsequent to that,
the Land Reforms Bill was introduced. The Land Reforms
Bill suggested giving land to the possessor after fixing
a customs lease. A fair limit was fixed for the volume
of land that could be in one’s possession. How could
the giant landlords who kept in their custody thousands
and tens of thousands acres of land, bear that?
occurred before preparing the Land Reforms Bill. The Bill
was prepared with group discussions. What made those discussions
live was not the expertise in law but on the other side,
the experience in working among farmers and agricultural
labourers for a long period.
By passing Land Reform
Bill on June 10th, 1959, feudalism was destroyed legally.
A step towards realising the slogan, ‘Agricultural
land for the Farmer.’ But there were a few hurdles
before bringing that law into force. Moreover, there was
strong protest also.
was handled by P.T. Chacko during the R. Shankar Ministry
in 1963. What was done on that time was deforming the
Land Reforms Bill. Later, when EMS came into power again
in 1967, a comprehensive Land Reform Act was introduced.
By then agricultural labourers became owners of the land.
It was directed that the land beyond the ceiling should
be declined as excess land. It was also decided to hand
over the excess land to the landless. Ten cents in village
and five cents in cities became tenants’ right.
The tenant became owner of the land by giving customs
lease on instalment basis.
But the landless will
not become landlords just because a law is introduced.
The Land Rule passed by the Legislature was a result of
the strong public agitation. Strong agitation was also
needed to implement it in proper way. Remember the legendry
agitations taken place in two terms since the last of
the year 1969.By fencing their land by both farmers and
tenants in terms the first phase of agitation and by trespassing
excess land, buildings and huts, and by performing cultivation
and harvesting in the second phase of agitation. AKG’s
brilliant fight in parliament. As a result of all these
Central Government was resorted to include the Land Reforms
Act in the ninth schedule of the Indian Constitution –
all those made Kerala what it is. That means conflict
and rule are a pursuit or are reciprocal. The 1957 Communist
Government was nothing but a form of agitation. Communist
governments working under the bourgeois set up are a genuine
form of agitation even while they are being governments
The Education Bill
introduced and passed by Education Minister Joseph Mundassery
in 1957 June is the one, which created revolution in the
educational arena. As in the case of land, in the field
of education also a kind of feudalism was in existence.
Education Act provided facility for education for all;
introduced the practice of giving salary to the teachers
directly by the Government. The Education Bill was introduced
in a democratic way to restructure the educational sector,
which was declined to a trade zone of communal and racial
forces. Against that Bill, forces of communal, racial
and the vested interests agitated in a frenzied manner.
Suggestions such as the recruitment of teachers to management
schools should be done from PSC list could not be implemented.
Like Educational policy
and Land Reforms Rules, the Police Policy of EMS Government
also was one that marked the fundamental changes. EMS
declared that police would not interfere in labour disputes
and labour agitations. Till that day police were used
to suppress ordinary people, labourers and those who agitate.
The declaration, “The duty of police is to keep
law and order and investigation. Not suppressing agitations’
created a havoc. Capitalists and persons with vested interests
yelled, “ The law and order is about to break down!”
But that was a declaration, which poured confidence to
all the working class.
Land Reform, Education
Law, change in the bonded labour system, acknowledgement
of service and salary terms – all these are steps
are reciprocal in the development of Kerala; the basement
of a comprehensive development. Self-respect and confidence
were transmitted to the vast majority of laymen and the
backward classes. Inferiority complex could be kept away.
The road to the progress of life opened. The present government
is going ahead by holding up the good tradition of that
Let this article be
concluded by recollecting the last portion of policy declaration
delivered by the Governor R.L. Bhatya’s in this
year’s Legislature Assembly Meeting:
“This is the
Golden Jubilee year ofthe assumption of office by the
first communist Government led by EMS Namboothirippad
in 1957, which laid the foundation for the modern State
of Kerala. The development and welfare programmes initiated
by that Government is taken as the model for us. My Government
will vigorously pursue these policies and promise the
people of Kerala that our march forward will be guided
by the Left Democratic principles and polices. In this,
my Government seeks the support and cooperation of all
sections of society.”