Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan’s Response to Mahasweta Devi’s Open Letter

Pinarayi Vijayan June 4, 2012

Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan

The English translation of the reply from Com. Pinarayi Vijayan - the state secretary of CPI(M) to the open letter from Jnanpith winner and famous Bengali writer, Mahasweta Devi. Translation is by Darsana Vijay. 1 2

I read the open letter addressed to me in the papers. As a writer and social worker revered and respected by many over the years, your transformation in recent times has amazed me. I believe that this sudden change can only be the result of some misunderstanding. The contents of the letter that was sent to the papers for publishing on Friday reaffirm my belief. Many hold that writers are soft-hearted and therefore it is not very hard to influence or mislead them. Since what writers say acquire more weightage and legitimacy than their own words, these people vicariously voice their opinions through writers, seeking to realise their own interests. Someone like that must be responsible for giving you these false impressions of recent incidents in Kerala. I can only assume that it must be the same lot who told you that my house in Kannur district is palatial. Anyway, to ascertain whether my house is as they said, I cordially invite you to visit my house. I hope you will not decline this invitation. You can pay us a visit whenever it suits you. The doors to the house are always open.

I would like to let you know something that your sources might not have conveyed to you. Some time back, a picture of an opulent and grandiose house was taken and circulated all over the web with the claim that it was of my residence. Later, along with the truth, the political agenda behind such a propaganda was also brought to light. The same trick that was used to fool the masses is being used by the same people with the intention of giving you such wrong ideas. All I have done is renovate the house I already had with the knowledge of the party there. It is no mansion or palace. The image of the party will not suffer any harm either. Everything with regard to the house, including the accounts are transparent. Since this is true, there is no need to restrict anyone from inspecting the house. Therefore the allegations you have made under the false premises regarding the same are no longer valid. Please be reminded of the fact that the house is not in some faraway island across the seas but in my village in Kerala. It is to see the truth for yourself that I extend this invitation.

This will also be helpful in identifying those who have been propagating such wrong information with certain politically covert intentions. You mentioned M.M. Mani in your letter. The party has clarified that it does not subscribe to or stand by the views expressed by him. The person who communicated the facts regarding Mani’s speech would not have mentioned the latter part since that would not be beneficial to the anti-CPI(M) campaigning. You had described Mani as this ‘crude and uncouth’ character. He ascended to the party leadership through the hard work he put in, in the rural areas, in building the party. Consequently, he might not have the urban etiquette or a polished language. His conduct might be very straightforward, characteristic of his origins. For a person who has worked in the tribal areas, you should be able to understand such sincerity and straightforwardness as can be associated with a rural laborer. You can certainly contest Mani’s words; but is it acceptable to term his physical appearance to primitive?

Mahasweta Devi Mahasweta Devi
Image Credits: Wikipedia

Since T.P. Chandrasekharan’s murder, the attacks aimed at defaming the party by the media and the opposition have intensified. In this clamor, many truths remain unheard. Let me use this opportunity to inform you that the party has condemned the murder of T.P. Chandrasekharan and to assure you that the party is not under any delusion that one can destroy an idea by killing an individual. Then why is it that those who keep you abreast of the developments in the Chandrasekharan killing have not informed you about Aneesh Rajan who was killed a month and a half ago. What about the sad plight of his mother and his sister? And why haven’t they taken you there? You should think about that. You should tell those who stand by you that every drop of blood is of the same color and every life equally valuable. Dozens of innocent young people who have not yet had a taste of life have been ruthlessly murdered by the Congress and the RSS just because they happened to be leftists. Bhuvaneshvaran, Mustafa, Prasad, Sudheesh among others. The latest in the list is Aneesh Rajan. You should be able to ask those people why they have failed to mention these names. From the response you receive, you will know that it is not the grief over death but a political compulsion to use it for their benefits that motivates them.

Two years before the last legislative assembly elections, you were campaigning for Mamata Banerjee. That might again be a misunderstanding. Anyway, I hope that Mamata Banerjee is no longer a fashionable icon of democracy. Before the elections the Maoists and Trinamool Congress had massacred 214 CPI(M) party workers. 65 CPI(M) workers have been murdered till now since the Trinamool came to power. According to official estimates of the National Commission for Women, West Bengal plunged from being the safest state in India for women to the one where the second highest number of attacks on women take place. They banned the newspapers including “Ananda Bazar Patrika”3 and “The Telegraph” from the libraries in West Bengal. They have arrested a Jadavpur University professor for drawing a mere cartoon. The public intellectuals of West Bengal who once backed Mamta are now forced into introspection and repentance.

I came to know about your request to oust the left front from the political space in Kerala and West Bengal. If this is your outlook and understanding, I would not blame others who labeled you as someone determined to place herself on the anti-Marxist front. However, I am confident that you will correct yourself once you identify and acknowledge the real facts. I also think that, most of the prominent public intellectuals in Kerala do not share your opinion as they understand the ground realities and are not solely dependent upon hearsay. They also acknowledge the role of CPI(M) in the progressive social changes in Kerala and how dangerous the void created by the absence of CPI(M) will be. I highly recommend you come out of the nexus working around you with vested interests and to engage in a discussion with those prominent cultural workers who acknowledged these facts. This will help you to correct those misunderstandings and understand the truth. I hope you will soon encounter the real facts. Let the visit to my home be the first step in this regard.

  1. Original Malayalam version of this letter was published in Deshabhimani. 

  2. Scanned copies of Mahasweta Devi’s handwritten open letter can be accessed at 1, 2 and 3

  3. Original Malayalam version of the letter stated that 'Amrita Bazar Patrika' was banned from state run libraries in West Bengal. Actually it was Ananda Bazar Patrika which got banned by the WB government. 

Mahasweta Devi, Pinarayi Vijayan, Politics, T. P. Chandrasekharan, Kerala, Note Share this Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported


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well said

nammude saghaakhelle konnaal aarkum onnum illa..arodum chodikhanum illa