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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 49, New Delhi, November 21, 2020

Perils of Being Privileged Sons | T J S George

Saturday 21 November 2020, by T J S George

All human beings are basically selfish. But the selfishness of someone like me is inconsequential compared to the selfishness of someone like Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the ranking leader of the Communist Party that rules Kerala. He was once Home Minister in that state.

He has two sons fondly named Binoy and Bineesh. Binoy has an FIR against him in a Mumbai rape case. Bineesh was arrested in Bangalore the other day on charges of financing Mohammed Anup to set up a hotel in the city. Anup and two others were charged with supplying drugs for rave parties in Bangalore.

This little family saga throws light on how life develops for our political bigwigs and their families in India. Politicians’ children do things without thinking of the legality of their actions while children of citizens like me are scared even to go out without a mask. Why is it that Communist ideologues do not think about this? Why do they see no problem in turning themselves into opportunists?

Kodiyeri’s sons would not have played with the law unless they felt that their father’s importance would protect them. This showed how far the CPM had travelled from the doctrines enunciated by EMS Nambudiripad, the man who headed the world’s first elected Communist government. Perhaps we should not be surprised by the fall in moral standards over the years. Perhaps our internal cultural integrity is not as powerful as we imagine.

And let no one forget that Kerala is the only state where the Communists still have a name and a habitation. Even West Bengal has fallen to Mamata Banerjee’s personality politics. This makes the CPM’s central leadership subservient to Kerala’s state leaders. Sitaram Yechuri is dependent on Pinarayi Vijayan in terms of practical politics. That explains why Yechuri bowed to Kodiyeri and said (a) that Bineesh is not a party member and therefore there is no need for the party to take a moral stand, and (b) that parents could not be held responsible for the doings of their grownup children. That second point is biology, not politics. Politically, what Yechuri said is rubbish. In politics, grownup children flourish on the wrong side of the law precisely because their parents give them the necessary protection. Binoy–Bineesh indulge in illegalities because their father’s position gives them immunity. A socially responsible father would not let this happen, but it is too much to expect our successful political leaders to be socially responsible. The party leadership is conveniently hypocritical. When they see Kodiyeri’s children as blameless, they are ensuring more illegalities by privileged children.

The reality is as cruel as it is obvious. Ideologically inclined leaders like Yechury, and M. A. Baby and Ramachandran Pillai belong to yesterday. They feel compelled to be on the safe side of today’s realities. This is seen in their refusal to accept that the Kodiyeri sons have done things that must be considered irregular. Old assumptions have given way to new realities. And one new reality is that the Kodiyeris are more important to the party than the Yechurys and the Babys. Today the party is not the important thing, the leaders are. In the old days leaders served the party. In the new world, the party must serve the leader.

That both the sons of a ranking CPM leader fell foul of the law throws light on what life has become. VIP sons find an easy way to enrich themselves by misusing party labels. The parties are the losers in this game. They lose twice over when the voting public realises that leaders tend to justify criminally inclined sons. Kodiyeri said with fatherly fondness that Bineesh did not smoke or drink. "Kodiyeri" has become a surname of shame in Kerala, a state where the communists should have been more sensitive. If they lose Kerala also, they lose all of India.

Perhaps some sociologists must examine how a ranking political leader of Kerala saw both his sons going irregular. Does fatherly eminence promote illegalities among sons? Has the father no role in keeping his sons within the confines of law?

Evidently, power corrupts more these days than in the old days. The Delhi leadership sees power as a licence to promote politicised communalism. UP leaders see power as a means to dub all other parties as promoters of "subka vinash." Power is being re-engineered as a means to ensure that only the chosen prosper and all others are condemned as anti-national. Life gets boring that way, but that is how life is these days.

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