The Kerala government on Friday protested against the Central government’s decision denying permission to the State’s Republic Day parade tableau depicting social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and asked the State unit of the BJP whether it would agree to the decision of the Centre.
Following reports that the Defence Ministry, which manages the R-Day parade, has denied permission to Kerala’s proposal, the Sivagiri Mutt, founded by Guru, also expressed strong protest and concern.
“The Central government’s decision to deny permission to the Kerala’s Republic Day tableau, which contained anti-caste crusader Narayana Guru’s figure, is extremely condemnable. @BJP4Keralam must state whether they agree with this insulting attitude towards Kerala’s Guru,” V Sivankutty, State Education Minister, said in a tweet.
The Mutt said it respects Adi Shankara as a master of Advaita but Guru was revered worldwide and across all sections of society.
The reactions came after news reports said the Defence Ministry had rejected Kerala’s proposal to depict Guru and Jadayu Rock, a monument in south Kerala, together in a float. The Central government had reportedly suggested the statue of Adi Shankara instead, which was not accepted by the southern State.
“Sree Narayana Gurudevan is universally accepted and respected by all sections of society, including political parties like the Congress, the BJP and the Communist Party. Although Adi Shankara was a great man, he was accepted only by a section of people in Kerala. Gurudev, on the other hand, is revered by people all across the world, regardless of caste or religion,” Mutt said in a statement.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also criticised the Centre’s move.
Meanwhile, the BJP said for the past few years, the proposal of Kerala for the R-Day parade was getting rejected due to mediocre floats.
“Opportunity was denied for Kerala due to its lack of homework. Kerala’s presentation was being rejected for the few years due to mediocre floats,” BJP state chief K Surendran said in a statement.
The State’s proposal for 2020 parade, intending to showcase Kerala’s art and architecture, was rejected by the Centre. The BJP-led government had rejected Kerala’s float depicting Vaikom Satyagraha, a historic renaissance movement, for the Republic Day parade in 2019.
However, in 2021, Kerala’s tableau showed the State’s relationship with coir in the Republic Day parade.