The Past Haunts A Marxist
A firebrand MP’s dalliance with astrology leaves his CPM party bosses red-faced, reports KA SHAJI
RELIGION IS no longer the opium of the masses alone, if one goes by the behaviour of CPM leaders in Kerala. Gone are the days when faith was deemed the antithesis of Marxism, ensuring no believer was ever apponted to a prime party position. Concessions were given to party stalwarts like EMS Namboodiripad and EK Nayanar who were allowed to wait outside temples when their wives offered prayers. Religion is now perhaps winning the day over dialectical materialism. In the latest episode, a firebrand Muslim CPM MP from the state travelled 600 km to a village near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu to meet an astrologer to trace his birthday, which his family had somehow not recorded.
A two-time MP from the CPM’s Kannur stronghold, AP Abdullakutty has returned a contented man from Vaitheeswaran Koiil, where an aged practioner of Nadi astrology furnished him with his complete horoscope. So impressed was he that he has now written an article for a Malayalam travel magazine, Yathra, on the visit and on Nadi astrology, the art of reading one’s destiny from one’s thumbs. Titled ‘Your Thumb Says It All’, the article has already made trouble among party leaders, who have reportedly demanded disciplinary action against Abdullakutty.
It is not the first time the 41-year-old MP has embarrassed the party with his religiosity. He recently received warnings over performing the pre-Haj in Mecca. A business he started resulted in his being relegated from the Kannur district committee to an area committee. The latest controversy may invite further disciplinary action including the denial of a ticket.
NADI ASTROLOGY is said to be 5,000 years old and is credited with being able to reveal the past, present and future of all mortals. Starting with a thumb impression, the astrologer matches the print in a vast archive of ancient palm leaf manuscripts. In these, it is believed, are found writings corresponding to every applicant, with all life-details from birth to death.
In his article, Abdullakutty claims the astrologer gave him “almost” correct answers about his birth and family. He was taken aback, he says, when the astrologer asked whether he was an MP or an MLA. “After a while, the astrologer came up with my horoscope and read out all the details of my birth, including the star, date and time of birth. He continued to say things about my past and future but I did not hear them. I was satisfied that I’d got a birthday. That was enough,” the piece concludes.
Abdullakutty says the visit to Vaitheeswaran Koil was an unplanned trip. “I went to Thanjavur to visit old temples. It was just accidental that I happened to hear about the village and I went there from curiosity,” he told TEHELKA. “The party wants members to keep away from ritual and superstition. But what is wrong with people visiting religious places as tourists?”
For the moment, though, the Kerala CPM is trying to play it down. Kannur district secretary P Sasi told TEHELKA: “A visit to a religious centre alone does not invite disciplinary action. We are probing to see whether there is anything else beyond that.”