In memory of late comrade E. K. Nayanar (December 19, 1919- May 19, 2004), former Chief Minister of Kerala and a legendary leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Pragoti publishes an interview that he gave R. Ramakumar in 2004. Pragoti thanks Ramakumar for sending the same to us. An obituary for Comrade Nayanar can be read here.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW WITH E. K. NAYANAR, JUNE 4, 2003, AKG CENTRE, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Comrade E. K. Nayanar gave R. Ramakumar an interview at his office in the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram on June 4, 2003. The questions were mostly related to the activities of the peasant movement in the villages of Morazha and Kalliasseri (Nayanar’s native village) in Kannur district, where Ramakumar was conducting a field study as part of his Ph.D. thesis. They could not complete the interview that day. Ramakumar met him again in Kolkata in October 2003, but Nayanar was too tired for an interview after daylong meetings of the Polit Bureau of the CPI (M). He promised that they would meet again soon and complete the interview. But that was not to be. Nayanar was taken ill soon after he reached Thiruvananthapuram after this meeting. His travels were severely restricted after that. He passed away on 19 May 2004, without fulfilling his promise to complete the interview.
R. Ramakumar: Comrade, you joined the Communist Party of India in 1939. Could you explain your move to join the party in the context of the agrarian relations prevailing in Malabar in those days?
E. K. Nayanar: I joined the undivided Communist Party of India through the national movement. In 1930, when I was a small boy, I remember watching a large demonstration from Kozhikode to Payyannur under the leadership of K. Kelappan that passed through Kalliasseri and Morazha. The police had prohibited the national movement under Section 144 in Kalliasseri. K. P. R. Gopalan (KPR), who was my relative, asked me if I was interested in joining him in the organisation of a reception to the demonstration. I agreed. We were students at that time. I was part of the group that welcomed the demonstration in Kalliasseri. The speeches at the conference were related mainly to the freedom movement, the conditions of poverty of Indians under the British rule and the need to abolish feudal dominance. I was deeply influenced by these speeches. Later, I accompanied the demonstration till Taliparamba. This was my initiation into the national movement.
In those days, most of the teachers in our school were against the Indian National Congress. Even then, we used to wear the Gandhi cap while going to school. I used to proudly tell my friends that I was a Congressman. We used to be punished by the teachers for wearing the Gandhi cap. We were often asked to leave the class, made to stand on the benches and subjected to other punishments.
In this period, a number of leaders of the national movement, such as KPR, A. K. Gopalan (AKG), P. Krishna Pillai and Keraliyan were frequent visitors to Kalliasseri and Morazha. I remember seeing Comrade Krishna Pillai in front of the demonstration led by Kelappan singing:
Vazhka vazhka bharata samudayam vazhkave
Veezhka Veezka British bharanam veezhkave…
(Hail, Hail, Indian Community hail,
Down, Down, British Rule down.)
These were the first lines of his songs (laughs). That is all I can remember…Two lines…(laughs). So, Krishna Pillai was the singer. He used to come very regularly to Kalliasseri and Morazha. Much later, we became very close comrades.
Coming to agrarian relations in that period, there was a total domination of the janmi (landlord) system in the Morazha-Kalliasseri region. My family and KPR’s family had a monopoly of land ownership in the region. It was under this dominance of landlords that the Dalits and poor peasants of Kalliasseri lived. Rack-renting prevailed in tenancy relations and almost all the produce had to be passed on to the janmi as rent. Not just that, the social system was also very oppressive. Dalits could not wear a mundu beyond knee length…
The national movement under leaders like Kelappan emerged in this kind of a society characterised by slavish agrarian relations. Similarly, Dalits in Kalliasseri and Morazha were not allowed to attend schools. I was deeply moved by an incident in this period. In 1927, two Dalit boys who came to study in the Kalliasseri Higher Elementary School were beaten up by upper caste members and thrown out of school. I did not understand why Dalit children could not sit with other students and study in the school. This particular incident assumed very serious proportions in the following days. A number of leaders of the national movement visited Kalliasseri to enquire about this incident.
In those days, we started, under the leadership of KPR and AKG, and instructions of Mahatma Gandhi, to work for the upliftment of Dalits. Another important leader in the movement for upliftment of Dalits was Swami Anandatheerthan. He was Brahmin, a graduate, a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru, and later a full time worker of the Congress party. The mission of his life was upliftment of Dalits. As part of his efforts, he reached Kalliasseri and established an Ashram there. In those days, we – Congress workers and comrades like KPR – worked in co-operation with the Ashram. I, along with a number of young Congress workers, was in the forefront of activities like bathing Dalit children in village ponds, putting clothes on them and taking them to schools to protect them from attacks by upper caste members.
As I said, under the janmi system in Malabar, more than 80 per cent of the tenants’ produce had to be surrendered to the janmi as rent. Similarly, there were a number of illegal extractions by the janmi under different names, such as Nuri, Seelakasu and Vachukanal. In Morazha and Kalliasseri also, such extractions were very common. A Dalit or any member from the oppressed castes, had to stand in front of the janmi with his back bent and hands clasped in front, else he would be severely punished. As I said, he could not wear a mundu beyond knee length. He had no right to wear chappals. He had no right to wrap a towel around his head. Such was the social domination under the janmi system.
It was around this period that Dalits in Travancore organised powerful agitations against untouchability under the leadership of Ayyankali. This agitation inspired movements against untouchability in Malabar also. The only difference was that the movement against untouchability in Malabar was under the leadership of the Congress. The KPCC.
RR: The socialist group within Congress?
EKN: The socialist group was not yet formed at that time. That was much later. In those days, EMS, AKG and others were leaders of the Congress. In 1936, EMS was the Secretary of the KPCC. In 1935, AKG was the President of the KPCC. Do you know that this is also a fact in history? So, it was through the national movement that the mobilisation and organisation of untouchables, Dalits, Adivasis and poor peasants began. This is a clear fact that emerges from the history of political mobilization in Malabar.
In 1934, under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan, the Congress Socialist group was formed within the Congress party at the national level. Almost all the leaders of the Congress in Malabar joined the Socialist group. Nobody remained outside. It was as a consequence of the formation of the Socialist group within the Congress that Gandhiji resigned from the Congress in 1935. After 1935 till his death, Gandhiji was only an adviser to the Congress. It was at the Bombay Congress of 1935 that Gandhiji resigned from the Congress. That is the history.
In Malabar also, the Socialist group within the Congress was constituted. Soon after, mass organisations like the Karshaka Sangham (Peasants’ Union), trade unions, Bala Sangham(Childrens’ Group) and Yuvajana Sangham (Youth Group) were set up. A very large Congress conference was organised in Bakkalam, which belonged to Morazha panchayat. The Forward Bloc of Subhash Chandra Bose also particicpated in this conference. Mohammad Abdul Rahman Sahib was the President of the KPCC. A conference of Bala Sangham was also held at the same time in Bakkalam. I was the chief organiser of this Bala Sangham conference.
The peasants’ union was growing day by day. The peasants’ union was the real successor of the national movement and the CSP. In Chirakkal taluk and its surrounding regions, the Karakkattidam and the Kallyatt families were the most powerful janmi families. The peasants’ union organised strong agitations against the Karakkattidam janmi and the Kallyatt janmi in Chirakkal taluk, Irikkur, Payyavur and the eastern hilly regions. We used to regularly take demonstrations to the houses of janmis. In many places, violent clashes ensued. Through these agitations, we could put an end to a number of exploitative extractions from peasants, such asVasi and Nuri.
It was on one of these occasions that, the tenants of the Chirakkal Raja in Karivelloor village organised a protest against the forced transport of harvested paddy by the Raja to his godown. A group of peasant comrades led by A. V. Kunjambu, Krishnan Master and a comrade by the name Kannan blocked the transport of paddy to Chirakkal. The Raja called the police. The police arrived and opened fire at the group. Kannan (an agricultural labourer) and the 16 year old son of a peasant comrade died in the firing. It did not stop at that. The police and the goons of the janmi let loose a reign of terror in the region against peasant families.
In 1946, there was an important agitation in Kavumbai village. It was a struggle for agricultural land. For punam cultivation. Punam cultivation is cultivation in forest lands. After one crop is harvested, the land is left fallow for about five years before the next crop. Due to the severe food shortage after the World War, peasant’s union had given a call to increase agricultural production and distribute the produce among the poor. Small peasants demanded the possession of punamland owned by the Karakkattidam janmi for cultivation. The janmi called the Malabar Special Police (MSP) to suppress the agitation. The MSP opened fire on one demonstration and four comrades were shot dead. This was the famous Kavumbai struggle. We organised so many such struggles throughout Malabar.
The famous Morazha struggle was on September 15, 1940. The Congress had given a call for a peasants’ conference in Morazha on that day. The conference was in protest against the decision to participate in the Second World War and for demanding assistance to the rural poor affected by the severe food shortage and drought. EMS, P. Narayanan Nayar and K. Damodaran were the secretaries of the KPCC. EMS was in hiding in a house in Kalliaserri itself when the Morazha incident took place. The police issued orders prohibiting the organisation of the conference in Morazha. Other small conferences that were to be organised on the same day in Mattannur and Thalasseri were also prohibited. In all these places, we went ahead with the conferences. I was an organiser of the conference at Morazha along with KPR and Vishnu Bharatiyan. The police resorted to a brutal lathi charge to disperse the gathering. We resisted under the leadership of KPR. It was in the ensuing clash that the Sub-Inspector of police, Kuttikrishna Menon, was killed. So…
RR: Along with Head Constable Gopalan Nair.
EKN: Yes, yes. He was with Kuttikrishna Menon. Both died. After that incident, the police unleashed a reign of terror in the region. At the incident site itself, KPR advised me to escape to Kasargode. This was my first experience in hiding.
On the same day in Thalasseri, two comrades were killed in police firing. Abu and Chathukutty. Two comrades. One was a school teacher and the other was a labourer. Similarly, at the police firing at Mattannur, one comrade was killed. Comrades who participated in these agitations were also cruelly beaten up.
Similarly, at Munayankunnu near Payyannur on the first of May 1948. The agitation at Munayankunnu was to demand the distribution of large quantities of paddy stored in the godowns of janmis to hungry peasants suffering from the severe food shortage. What was the situation like? The godowns of janmis were filled with paddy. Everyone else was starving. The Peasants’ Union took out processions to the houses of janmis. It demanded the distribution of paddy to the hungry peasants. They were even ready to pay a nominal price for the paddy. When the janmis rejected all the demands outright, our comrades forcibly entered the godowns and took out the paddy. Agitations such as this were organised not just in Payyannur, but, throughout Malabar. So, Munayankunnu struggle… Munayankunnu was situated to the east of Payyannur town. On a rainy night, when a group of our comrades were sleeping on the top of a small hill, the MSP reached there, surrounded the hill and opened fire. Six of our comrades including Kunjappu Master, died in the police firing. The pillar erected in their memory is there at Munayankunnu. Have you been there?
EKN: You have been there? I was there on the first of May this year.
RR: I had gone there two years back.
EKN: Two years back? You should go there on the first of May. Have you been to the place where the police opened fire?
RR: No. I could go only up to the pillar.
EKN: Aaah…you should go to that place. It is a bit inside. So, six comrades died in the police firing at Munayankunnu. The police themselves buried them. Their families were not allowed to see their bodies. Every year, our party celebrates the day in their memory.
In the same manner, in Payyannur farka itself, in Korom panchayat, a peasants’ union demonstration was passing by, led by a Dalit comrade by the name Pokkan. The demonstration was going towards a janmi’s house. The MSP arrived and opened fire at the demonstrators. The Dalit comrade Pokkan died on the spot. The police lathi-charged to disperse the demonstration. On the same day, seven comrades died in Korom panchayat itself. Four comrades were arrested and put in the Salem jail.
As a consequence of all these courageous struggles, most of the peasant leaders of Malabar were put in the Salem and Velloor jails. One day, wardens of Salem jail, armed with guns and other weapons, brutally beat up the Malabar peasant leaders. This incident was on 11th of May 1951. Our comrades hit back, the police fired many rounds at our comrades, and 22 comrades were killed in the firing. Of the 22 comrades who died, three were from Tamil Nadu and the remaining 19 were from Malabar. A number of comrades, who were injured in this firing, were alive till very recently in areas such as Thalasseri. Many had been shot in their head and chest. One of them, I remember, died only last year. After the incident, the jail minister of Madras State, Kozhiprathu Madhava Menon, visited Salem jail. In his speech to the inmates, he said, “ours isRama Rajyam”. Our comrades got angry and spat on the floor with contempt in front of him (laughs).
KPR was an inmate of the Salem jail when the firing incident took place. At that time, the court sentenced KPR to death for his involvement in the Morazha incident of 1940. My brother was also with KPR in the Salem jail. He was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in the Morazha case.
RR: Your brother E. N. Nayanar was not in Morazha when the incident took place. You were present at the site of the incident. I have heard that there was confusion with the initials of E. K. Nayanar and E. N. Nayanar that led to your brother, and not you, getting accused in the Morazha incident. Is that true?
EKN: (laughs). Yes, yes. They confused the initials of our names and I escaped from becoming an accused. E.K. became E. N. He was Narayanan and I was Krishnan (laughs). There is another story too. Samuel Aaron was a prominent industrialist in the region who owned the Aaron Mills. He had a personal enmity with my brother, and he used his contacts to include his name instead of my name in the list of accused. I am not sure which of these stories is true.
So, there were nationwide protests and agitations against the death sentence given to KPR. Mahatma Gandhi wrote an editorial in Young India against the sentence. Pandit Nehru also intervened in the matter. T. Prakasam was the Chief Minister of Madras State then. Consequent to all these protests, the death sentence given to KPR was reduced to life imprisonment. We were all in hiding through out this period – from 1940. I was hiding in Travancore along with A. V. Kunjambu. Subramanya Shenoy was hiding in Cochin. The police was conducting intense searches for us across the State. We were doing party work in Travancore. I was in Alappuzha. Finally, in June 1946, the Prakasam ministry withdrew the arrest warrants against us. That was when we came out of hiding and started party work openly. Understood?
RR: Who were the janmis in the Morazha-Kalliasseri region at that time?
EKN: Mainly my own family – the Erumbala taravadu. Another janmi family was theChandrothu taravadu. Chandrothu Nambiar was a powerful and cruel janmi, I remember.
RR: Devaswams (temple managements) also owned large tracts of land.
EKN: Yes, but these devaswams were controlled by these same janmis. So on the ground there was little difference.
RR: Let me come to an issue not discussed seriously. Could one easily demarcate a class of landless agricultural labourers in northern Malabar (including Morazha and Kalliasseri) in those days? Or were the source of labour mainly poor peasants with small plots of land?
EKN: That is an interesting question. Yes, there was a class of landless agricultural labourers. Dalits were not allowed to own land. But they did not constitute a large share of the population or the major source of labour in agriculture. Dalit population was also concentrated in small pockets. But these Dalits were almost totally into agricultural work and were bonded labourers. They worked from early in the morning till late in the night, collected their meager wages and went home. They were illiterate, not aware of their rights and exploited severely.
RR: Was there slavery among Dalit workers in north Malabar?
EKN: In the regions near Morazha and Kalliasseri in north Malabar, slavery in the classical sense was not practiced in the early 20th century. But slavery was widespread in the Wayanad district of Malabar. Slaves were sold like commodities in Wayanad. Slaves were also rented out by one janmi to another in Wayanad. Such a system did not exist outside Wayanad in the 20th century.
RR: Freer forms of labour contracts…
EKN: Yes. Freer forms. Unlike in Wayanad. In Wayanad, there was a temple called Valliyoorkkavu. The deity was a Devi (goddess). Every year, in one season, Dalit slaves were sold in the temple. The Devi was the “witness”! For example, Vadakkeveettil Kanaran is the janmi. He buys two Dalits, Chakkan and Pokkan, for 10 years from Thekkeveettil Kumaran. Chakkan and Pokkan are just commodities. After our peasant movement emerged in Wayanad, we smashed this barbarian system completely. We finished it off.
RR: Weaving was also a major occupation in Morazha and Kalliasseri at that time.
EKN: Yes. Weaving emerged as an occupation after a stage in history. Weavers belonged to the Salian community. The Chirakkal Raja brought them from Thanjavur and Velloor for the dressing requirements of the landowning class.
RR: The conditions of life of weavers…
EKN: Was also very poor, though better than Dalits. But today the situation has changed dramatically. We have organised almost all the weaving units of north Malabar into co-operative societies. This has increased the employment opportunities significantly. About 25,000 to 30,000 families are employed in this sector currently.
RR: Many of the basic enabling factors of the development experience of Kerala, such as the co-operative movement and the public distribution system (PDS), were actually outcomes of the struggles for land…
EKN: Public Distribution System was more recent.
RR: Yes, but the movement for the distribution of food grains to the poor was closely linked to the struggle for land.
EKN: That is true. But there was no formal administrative setup in those days. We built it after 1957. Our movement’s role was crucial.
RR: The peasant union used to forcibly enter the godowns of janmis and distribute food grains to the poor…
EKN: That was how the movement for food grains began in Malabar. I told you about the Munayankunnu struggle, the Korom struggle…These were the beginnings. These were not planned or neatly organised agitation programmes. The peasant movement in each of these areas was reacting spontaneously to the conditions of hunger and distress. The public distribution system that emerged later was an appropriate institutional mechanism to achieve what the peasant movement did in the earlier days. It was the Left governments that developed these institutions after 1957. Earlier struggles were spontaneous…
RR: Like the cultivation of tapioca in Mangattuparamba.
EKN: Yes, yes. The Mangattuparamba struggle for cultivation of tapioca in state-owned land was a spontaneous struggle led by our peasant movement to redress the conditions of famine in the region. The organised Kisan movement was formed in Malabar in 1937. That is, after the formation of the CSP. In the following years, our trade union movement and the Left movement in general, grew across Malabar. These movements drew strength from the earlier agrarian struggles. For instance, take the strike of mill workers in Pappinisseri in 1940. This strike had lasted for 100 days. An important feature of all these agitations was that there was close unity between the peasants, agricultural labourers and the industrial working class. When the mill workers went on strike, our peasant comrades would bring food for them everyday.
RR: The origin of co-operative movement in Malabar was also through these struggles. The Producers’ and Consumers’ Co-operatives (PCCs) that were formed to distribute food grains collected from janmi godowns were converted in many places into Aikya Nanaya Sanghams.
EKN: Yes, yes. That is the way it was. Our movement mobilised all sections of the population to take membership in the Aikya Nanaya Sanghams by taking shares. We were very active in the efforts to convert PCCs into Aikya Nanaya Sanghams.
RR: All developments were thus related to one another. The agitations of the peasant movement, the origins of the PDS, the origins of the co-operative system and the growth of the Communist Party.
EKN: They were all related. The peasant movement was involved in establishing Aikya Nanaya Sanghams, co-operatives, PDS, development…everywhere…That is the uniqueness of the political history of Malabar.
RR: Let us come to the next phase. In 1957…
EKN: In 1957, we initiated land reforms. Tenants became landowners. About 35 lakh households received ownership of land after land reforms. It was a revolutionary achievement through a historic political struggle.
RR: The first Communist Government also initiated educational reforms along with land reforms.
EKN: Yes. Joseph Mundasseri was our Minister for Education in 1957. He was a school teacher. We made education completely free till Class 12. We appointed a committee to reform the educational system as a whole. We started a number of new schools and established hostels for Dalit and Adivasi students. We also initiated concessions on bus tickets for students. It was as a result of the educational reforms initiated by the government that Kerala could record remarkable achievements in the area of school education. Later, we also achieved 100 per cent literacy. We were the first state to achieve that. After this A. K. Antony took over in 2001, it might have reduced by 2 per cent! (laughs).
We also said that we would not allow the police to interfere in labour disputes. We thus took away an important tool of the landlord class to suppress labour movements. But the right-wingers could not digest all this. They conspired to dismiss this government in 1959.
Further, it was when I was the Chief Minister that we introduced the Pension Scheme for agricultural labourers. Such a pension scheme for agricultural labourers does not exist anywhere else in the world. It was my government that introduced it for the first time.
RR: In 1980.
EKN: Yes. In April 1980. It was a historic decision made by our Party. I went to Delhi to request the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for financial assistance for the scheme. They did not give a paisa. They thought it was not a scheme that promoted “efficiency”. But we went ahead and implemented the scheme. We also started social security schemes for coir, cashew and handloom workers.
RR: The implementation of land reforms in Kerala is still incomplete…
EKN: What do you mean by incompleteness?
RR: The distribution of agricultural land to agricultural labourers is incomplete.
EKN: Look, the responsibility to distribute land to agricultural labourers is that of the government of the day. Does Kerala have that much of surplus land to distribute? Whenever, we were in power, we have made sincere efforts to distribute land wherever available. Even today, the struggle for land among various sections is continuing. Look at the Adivasi struggle. It is now a more lively issue. Don’t we have wastelands here? Can’t we distribute these lands to the landless? We should.
RR: The most important struggle for land that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) undertook after 1957 was the struggle for homestead lands – for the kudikidappu rights.
EKN: Yes. And we won it. As a result of our struggle, 10 lakh households received ownership rights to homestead land. Most of these households were Dalit households. They received at least 10 cents of land each. They were totally landless before that. They had no shelter. They were all bonded with janmis for rights to live in their land. Our party discussed this issue seriously; AKG was in the forefront of this struggle. We demanded that at least 10 cents of homestead land should be given free of cost to agricultural labourers. C. Achuta Menon was the Chief Minister of Kerala at that time. He was in the right-wing camp at that time. He did not react favourably. We organised massive agitations across the State. The government tried its best to suppress this agitation using force. But they could not defeat us. As I said, 10 lakh households received rights to homestead land after this struggle. Again, this took place only in Kerala, nowhere else. (Sings…
Pambukalku malamundu, paravakalkakasamundu,
manushya puthranu thala chaykan oridamilla vereyengum ketto…
(Snakes have holes to live, birds have the skies to fly, but human beings do not have a place to sleep anywhere else in India, understood?))
Q: It must be an irony in history that this powerful struggle for land had to be waged against a government whose Chief Minister was a Communist [C. Achutha Menon].
A: It is no irony. He was in the other camp. There is no history of an oppressed person gaining anything without struggles. Even a government will not give any rights to people unless the people struggle. How will a government give another person’s land to you? Suppose, Kanaran Nair has 25 acres of land. If the government goes and tell him to give 20 acres to his agricultural labourers, will he give? He will go to court. There is a constitution in this country. But when there is a massive struggle for land, the same Kanaran Nair will quietly come to the agricultural labourers for compromise. We will bargain. He will finally give 15 acres of land to the agricultural labourers.
Every government in India is ruling within the framework of a bourgeois constitution. You cannot do anything significant for the people within this constitution. That is why there was, and is, so much of debate within the Communist Party on whether we should join the Central government or not. It was an issue of debate in 1964, and it remains an issue of debate today. The Indian constitution is a bourgeois constitution, not a proletarian one. What are you going to do within this bourgeois constitution? Are you going to adjust your policies to conform to this bourgeois constitution? It is a question to be discussed. We have been debating this from the Calcutta Congress of 1964. We decided that we could join the State governments. We will work within this constitution and try to redress the grievances of the poor people. We cannot give comprehensive benefits under this constitution. So, what is the solution? We have to struggle for the rights of the people. When we struggle, our opponents will come forward for compromises. For instance, landlords will agree to give land to agricultural labourers.
Secondly, will the people who receive land through these struggles support us afterwards? Not necessarily. This is what we should learn from Marxism. You do not expect everyone to support you. So, you must educate the people politically. That is our ideology. Without political education to the people, they will not support you forever. The reactionary forces and the communal forces will carry them away. Understood? Has every peasant who received land due to the struggles of the Communist Party supported the Party afterwards? No. We have to study this issue carefully. Marxism is the tool with which we analyse this issue.
Q: How do you analyse the problems of Kerala agricultural economy after land reforms?
A: Land reforms gave land to the people. But is that all? No. Look at the costs of cultivation. Agriculture is fast becoming a loss-making enterprise. The prices of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides are increasing rapidly. Look at the rising levels of indebtedness of the peasantry. Who is going to help these peasants? The government should provide them with relief. Otherwise, they will die out of hunger or start committing suicides. Like the cotton farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. This tendency has already begun in Kerala in many parts. The market is still controlled by the multinationals and big landowners. The prices of paddy, sugar cane, cotton and coconut are all falling. This is the age of globalisation! But instead of giving relief to farmers, this government is importing vegetables and other agricultural products of multinational corporations into India. They are importing palm oil from Malaysia. I had gone to Malaysia. They have a surplus production and they want to export to India. But the Kerala farmer will suffer if India imports palm oil. So, the Central government should raise import tariffs. Does the government have the political will to do that? That is the question.
But this central government is cutting tariffs. It is ruining the peasantry. The current Kerala government is following the same policies of the Vajpayee government at the Centre. We strongly opposed these policies. Look at West Bengal. They are providing relief to the peasantry through many means. Crisis is, of course, there. Capitalism remains the most important crisis for the people. You cannot address that crisis unless you abolish capitalism. Compare the West Bengal government with the Kerala government. Fools are ruling the State here. They don’t know anything. Every minister wants to make money. There are 20 ministers, and all are corrupt. People are suffering. We expect change. It will take time. People will not suffer so long like this. They will start reacting. Then, there will be change. Till then, we will continue our struggle, explain our position and educate the people politically.
OK, let us end it here. We will continue later.
RR: Thank you, Comrade.