“The more the right-wing attack us, the more we will resist”: Sunil P. Elayidom
November 16, 2018
On Wednesday night, noted writer and orator Sunil P. Elayidom’s office was vandalised by an unidentified group. The next morning, Elayidom, a faculty member of the Department of Malayalam at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, found out that his door was marked with a crossed-out sign in saffron paint. His name board was also removed from the Department’s office. The incident was noticed in the morning by other faculty members of the department. The university has also registered a complaint in the Kalady police station.
Elayidom has been a part of the Malayalam department for over 20 years. He is also a noted thinker and activist who strongly oppose the right-wing agenda of communalism. Speaking to the Indian Cultural Forum about the incident, the academic said, “I have been giving lectures in different parts of Kerala for over 30 years now and I strongly oppose the right-wing politics of hatred. Presently, the right-wing groups are trying to threaten the people who raise their voice against these fringe groups. The attack against me has the same intention. They want to silence me through such threats. But I cannot be threatened or silenced because right now our country is witnessing a different scenario altogether. The more they attack us, the more we will resist”.
Over the past decade, Sunil P. Elayidom’s lecture series, like the ones on Sree Narayana Guru, Kerala renaissance and the Mahabharata series have been widely accepted and appreciated on social media. His new wave of thoughts has also influenced the young generation. Rafiq Ibrahim, academic and former student of Prof.Elyadiom told the Indian Cultural Forum, “Earlier Sunil sir’s lectures were limited to a certain circle but now his lectures are widely circulated. He always opposed the politics on brahminism and communalism. However, for the past one and half years he has been receiving threats in various forms. The right-wing groups are threatened by his stream of thought because he attacks the Hindutva groups from its core i.e. by questioning their vedic texts. On the context of Sabarimala, he defended the SC judgement by putting forth the tantric beliefs of Sabarimala. The attack on his office cannot be seen in isolation with the previous attacks and was carried out by an organised force. Whoever has attacked the Professor’s office might have had external support from the university.”
Ever since the Supreme Court judgement on Sabarimala came in favour of women in the country, the state has been witnessing a series of protests and violence led by the right-wing groups under the banner of Sabarimala Samrakshna Smiti. Earlier this week, Bindu Thankam Kalyani, who attempted to enter Sabarimala in October, was also attacked by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti. The government higher secondary school teacher was transferred from Kozhikode to Palakkad last month after a series of protests were staged by the right-wing groups in front of her work place. Last month, the Sangh Parivar attacked the ashram of Swami Sandeep Giri and burned his vehicles for speaking in favour of the judgment.
Responding to the series of attacks unleashed by the right-wing groups, Meera Velayudhan, Policy Analyst and member of the Samam Progressive Forum said to the Indian Cultural Forum, “There is no scope for status quo on Sabarimala; that masculinities are at its peak, not only in political culture but in the Malayali society in general, is obvious. The continuous attack on Sabarimala is a violent, casteist movement against the SC verdict and is intrinsically patriarchal. The participants and supporters of such attacks represent nothing but a pre-constitutional feudal sectional interest, trying to regain old hold on sections they ruthlessly subjected to caste slavery. The increasing attacks on Dalit activists, intellectuals and others who present strong Dalit counter-narratives as opposed to the RSS led narrative of a “unified Hindu community” and a “Malayali society”, is an attempt to cater to that sectional interest. The attacks on Prof. Elayidom and the continuing attacks on Dalit activist Bindhu who tried to worship at the shrine, is in fact, part of the larger on-going attacks on those who stand up for the rights of the marginalised.”
Elayidom has also been facing threats on social media ever since he advocated the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on Sabarimala. According to Elayidom, one of the reasons behind the immediate provocation of the Sangh Parivar was his recent lectures on Sabarimala. His lectures on nationalism are also popular in Kerala. “My lectures on Sabarimala and nationalism might have provoked The Hindutva groups. It’s a planned attack. I have not faced any physical attack yet but, I am being threatened and abused by the right-wing groups over social media. I have always spoken about gender justice in various occasions. I have said what I have seen and experienced in my life. Gender issues always existed in my lecture but in different forms and it was in a different form for the Sabarimala question as well,” he said.
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