Monday, September 15, 2008

M. N. Vijayan

M.N. Vijayan (also known as Vijayan Mash) (8 June 1930 – 3 October 2007) was an Indian writer, orator and academic. Prof. M.N.Vijayan was born in Lokamaleshwaram, Kerala, India. He was educated in Pathinettarayalam L.P. School, Kodungallur Boys High School, Ernakulam Maharajas College, and Ernakulam Law College. He was awarded a Master of Arts in Malayalam Language and Literature from Madras University.

Political and journalism careerVijayan worked as the editor of the cultural weekly Desabhimani owned by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) on the request of its leaders. He was a long-term President of Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham (Progressive Association for Art and Letters) and Adhinivesha Prathirodha Samithi (Council for Resisting Imperialist Globalisation), a leftist think-tank based in Kerala which collaborated occasionally with the CPI(M). He was removed from the editor post at Deshabhimani when leaders of the provincial Communist Party felt he was not supportive to the party line. He opposed the policy of some state level leaders and other leftist intellectuals to accept foreign funding of political work. He was also for a time the editor of the controversial periodical Padom, notably criticising a Kerala state government program called People's Campaign for Decentralised Planning and its propagator Thomas Isaac .Vijayan and Prof.Sudheesh's articles in Padom against the "people’s plan", a programme aimed at decentralisation of power, became a controversial issue. Later a Kerala court ruled that the allegations of foreign funding of the KSSP had been proven by Sudheesh and Vijayan. Vijayan and Sudheesh had started Padom in 2000, after resigning from the CPI(M). Vijayan's resignation was considered to be the first manifestation of the bitter ideological war to take place within th CPI(M) in later years. This resignation was in disagreement with M. A. Baby, then cultural in-charge of the CPI(M). The cultural programme Manaveeyam of CPI(M)-led LDF government of Kerala was criticised for the extravagance of the programmes and the elitist audience whose sensibilities were ostensibly catered to in these programmes, and also for the fact that the "people’s art and culture" gave way to bourgeois concepts under the influence of neoliberalism. Vijayan also led an ideological debate against social democratic deviations. When the leader of Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad (a pro-CPI(M) Science forum) M.P.Parameswaran went ahead with his “theory of the fourth world” campaign, it was alleged that a theory that had been opposed by the late ideologue of the party, E. M. S. Namboodiripad, was now being resurrected after his death. Noted CPI(M) intellectual P. Govinda Pillai's controversial critical remarks against A. K. Gopalan, Namboodiripad and others were also resisted by Vijayan and his followers on ideological grounds. Though, initially, CPI(M) leadership was forced to expel Parameswaran and depromote Pillai from the state committee because of the high reputation that Vijayan enjoyed among the party supporters, writers and the literate, later the Social Democrats group got control over the CPI(M) organization.

Vijayan did not attend many public meetings during his last years for health reasons, but continued to write weekly columns in Samakalina Malayalam, an Indian Express group of publications, Janashakthi and Maruvakku. The column was originally published weekly in Desabhimani until he parted ways with the paper. He is also the editor of the monthly Maruvaakku.

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