|Source: News Bharati|
Thiruvananthapuram, February 3: Display of a Jesus Christ painting at a CPI-M exhibition here sparked off a debate today with church leaders seeing it as an attempt to woo Christians but the party justified it saying Jesus was the voice of the suppressed.
Thrown open to public earlier this week, the show titled "Marx is Correct" has a wide range of pictures, paintings and clippings of historical documents throwing light into the history of struggles for social and political emancipation. The exhibits were chosen with special focus on the history of Communist movement in India and the world.
The picture of crucified Christ has a snapshot below it, which, after briefly tracing his life and death, describes him "as a social reformer who emancipated Jews from slavery".
Important thing is that Karl Marx had described religion as the opium of the masses but his disciples in Kerala are now considering Jesus Christ, the origination point of perhaps the strongest religion in the world, as an indivisible part of the history of revolution and martyrdom.
Sections in Catholic Church viewed it suspiciously as an attempt by the CPI-M to shore up its support base by winning support of the believers.
"This, in a way, exposed the party's search for new icons as their traditional heroes like Lenin, Stalin and Mao have ceased to inspire the present generation," a church spokesperson said.
"Over the centuries, Communism has sought to grow world over by running down faith and religion. But now the movement is facing a serious crisis. If they are genuinely interested in having a re-look at their perspective on religion, it is welcome. But if their intention is to make mere political gains, that is not going to succeed," he said.
State Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala accused the CPI-M of having hurt the religious sentiments of Christians by featuring the picture of Christ at the party show. In his reaction, state CPI-M secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said Christ's was the voice of the suppressed and as such the Communists had no difficulty in showing reverence to him.
"In the battle against suppression and exploitation of the poor, the Communists would be able to get along with the followers of Christ," he said.
When asked about the debate triggered by the exhibition, CPI-M sources said the show was organised to offer a comprehensive look at the history of human struggles and social transformation through a handful of select exhibits.
They also pointed out that on similar occasions, the party had put up images of spiritual leaders like Sreenarayana Guru and Swamy Vivekananda as it had no difficulty in recognising their great contributions to the history of the nation and spiritual and social liberation of human beings.