People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 52

December 30, 2012




CPI(M) Organises Padayatra against Caste Discrimination


B Madhava


THE CPI(M) is the only political party which has been steadfastly fighting against social evils, unmindful of the electoral consequences, said Sri Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji of the Nidumamidi Mutt in Karnataka. He said it while inaugurating the CPI(M)'s padayatra against the evil practices in the state. These practices include madesnana (in which people of the lower castes roll on the plantain leaves containing leftovers of the foods consumed by Brahmins) and pankthi bheda (line discrimination, i.e. making separate batches for serving food to the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins). While the first-mentioned practice prevails at the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple, the second one is practised mainly at the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple.


The Swamiji also said that these practices amount to insulting the human dignity and perpetuating the most humiliating caste discriminations. The belief that made snana cures skin diseases is absolutely unfounded; on the contrary, it may cause or spread skin diseases, he warned. He further pointed out that Sri Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Mutt of Udupi is the national vice president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad which propagates that all Hindus are one. But if that is so, the Swamiji asked: how is it that caste discrimination is being practised in Udupi Sri Krishna Temple which is under his control? 


The Swami of the Nidumamidi Mutt also informed that the made snana is being performed in 11 temples and the pankthi bheda in as many as 65 temples in Karnataka. He gave a clarion call to all the right-thinking citizens in the state to embark upon an unrelenting struggle till these evil practices are banned by the government and totally eliminated.


Participating as the chief guest on the occasion, CPI(M) Central Secretariat member Srinivasa Rao declared that the party would continue its relentless struggles against social evils throughout the country till they are ended. CPI(M) state secretariat member B Madhava, who is also secretary of the Dakshina Kannada district committee of the party, presided over the meeting. He flagged off  the padayatra by handing the party flag over to Vasanth Achary, the leader of the padayatra team. CPI(M) state secretariat members K R Sriyan and Maruthi Manpade were also present on the occasion.


The recent phase of protests against caste discrimination is the second of its kind this year. Earlier on the Republic Day 2012, as per a decision taken by the 20th state conference of the CPI(M),  leaders and cadres of the party from the entire state went to Udupi and held a powerful protest in front of the Sri Krishna Temple on the issue of pankthi bheda. However, so far there has been no favourable response either from the mutts which are administering the temple or from the state government. It was thus that the CPI(M) state committee decided to launch a programme which is more widespread, demanding ban on both made snana and pankthi bheda.


On December 21, 2012, a vehicle jatha started from the outer gate of Kukke Subramanya Temple. This jatha was inaugurated by G V Srirama Reddy, secretary of the Karnataka state committee of CPI(M), who handed the red flag over to B M Bhat, leader of the vehicle jatha. This jatha conducted as many as 16 roadside meetings on its way and reached Mangalore on December 22 evening.


The first mentioned padayatra started from Mangalore on December 24 morning and reached Udupi on December 27 morning. Earlier a motorbike jatha also started from Byndoor, on the northern border of Udupi district, on December 24 afternoon and reached Kundapur the same evening. It was from there that the padayatra to Udupi was inaugurated by CPI(M) state secretariat member Maruthi Manpade.


On December 27, a big public meeting was held at Udupi, addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau members B V Raghavulu and M A Baby.