As Kerala prepares to welcome New Year in the state by organising the Women’s Wall or Vanitha Mathil this evening to “protect renaissance values”, here is all you need to know about it:
WHAT IS IT?
Around thirty lakh women (the ruling party says 55 lakh) are expected to form a human chain across the National Highway from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram, around 620-kilometre long, extending their support to the state government’s resolve to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages access to Sabarimala and to protect the secular and progressive values of Kerala.
Organised by the government and supported by various social organisations having links with the renaissance movement, the Women’s Wall is an attempt by the LDF government to defend the state from communal forces following ongoing protests by Hindu conservatives led by the BJP and Congress post the Sabarimala verdict.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to people from all walks of life to join the fight to prevent Kerala from ‘becoming a mental asylum’ again, referring to Swami Vivekananda’s observation about the caste-based discrimination practised in the state, untill a few decades ago.
CM Vijayan announced the initiative on 1 December after a meeting with various Hindu and socio-cultural organisations.
To all the critics he said, “Those who try to malign the image of the party do not have much knowledge of history, as our renaissance leaders and social reformers – Sree Narayana Guru, Chattampi Swamikal, V T Bhattathiripad, Mannathu Padmanabhan – had actively supported the upliftment of women in history. Similarly, the contribution of Muslim renaissance leaders like Makati Thangal, Vakkom Moulavi and Haleema Beevi cannot be forgotten. So also with Akkamma Cherian who was at the forefront of the people’s struggle in Travancore in the pre-independence era.”
He also said that the Communists believe women’s liberation is part of social equality, and social inequalities are seen as part of the class struggle.
There will also be a Men’s Wall on the other side of the national highway when the Women’s Wall will be organised.
WHEN IS IT?
On January 1, 2019, the participants will gather at designated centres at 3 pm. Then a rehearsal will happen at 3.30 pm. The Women’s Wall event will take place between 4 and 4.15 pm with the participants taking a pledge. The pledge reads, “We are taking the pledge that we will uphold renaissance values, we will stand for equality for women, we resist the attempts to make Kerala a lunatic asylum, and we will fight for secularism.”
WHO ARE TAKING PART?
The event is organised by the ruling CPI(M), with support from as many as 174 outfits, including social, political, religious, NGOs and women’s organisations. As part of the campaign, 25,000 squads formed to mobilise participants for the event visited 70 lakh houses. As many as 7,000 women’s campaign marches, two-wheeler marches, meetings, renaissance discourses, and other programmes were organised across the state.
Over 200 prominent personalities like writer Dr M Leelavathy, actor KPAC Lalitha, poet Vijayalakshmi, actor Rima Kallingal, Olympian athlete Mercykuttan, boxer KV Lekha, writers Thanooja Bhattathiri and Musemary are expected to be part of the campaign. Other actors taking part include the Women in Cinema Collective members Parvathy Thiruvoth, Remya Nambeesan, Bina Paul and Geethu Mohandas.
Ministers will participate from their respective districts as well.
- Inputs from New Indian Express