C.K. Vineeth says Kerala is being vilified for standing up to communal forces
A lover of wildlife, footballer C.K. Vineeth went on an impromptu trip across the country early this year. And what fascinated him was people and their lives, not places!
On the Delhi border, he saw moats being dug and transport buses used to prevent the protesting farmers from marching on. The enterprising farmers used their tractors to remove the roadblock, but news channels were airing one-sided reports portraying it as a case of farmers vandalising public property. “But what’s the purpose of a bus? Is it something to be used to block highways?” Mr. Vineeth shoots the question with a striker’s precision.
A talk with farmers
He had hours-long discussions with the protesters while on way to Amritsar, when a roadblock called by the protesters gave him enough free time. “I think their struggle is genuine. Farmers know what they want. Look at the removal of some farm produce from the list of essential commodities. Isn’t it just to support the corporates and hoarding?” he asks.
Mr. Vineeth, a native of Kannur, comments on social and political issues he strongly feels about. He had taken part in the relief operations in the wake of the floods of 2018 and lent a hand at the COVID-19 helpline centre. “Politics for me is to be with the poor. If a few people listen to me, that’s an opportunity to give them back,” he says.
‘Why malign Kannur?’
Kerala and Kannur, he feels, come under attack for standing up to the communal forces. People who do not know Kannur well vilify the place. “Political killings have happened there at times, but is it the only such place? The vilification of Kannur is part of a political agenda, much like the maligning of Malappuram in the aftermath of an elephant succumbing to an injury. Was the clamour out of love for the creature? Unlike north India, Kerala is not communally split. Those who survive on communal polarisation want to see that happening here too. Sabarimala is also used the same way,” he says.
Some time ago, in a television discussion, activist Rahul Eswar was heard saying Mr. Vineeth’s son, being brought up without religion, was naturally a ‘Hindu’ and a priest on the panel supported it.
“I don’t know why a priest should say that. What’s wrong if my son embraces another religion? Let him make his choice when he grows up. What’s ‘my’ culture? I was brought up as a human being, not as a Hindu. I go to all these places of worship during festivals for watching things like Theyyam. Let your faith remain a private matter. I should not affect anyone else,” he says.
Mr. Vineeth thinks that post-election change in political affiliations by elected representatives is betrayal of the voters’ trust. Kerala has so far resisted communal forces. “That will remain so till the time a secular government is in power,” he adds.