Maha Kavi Akkitham in an article entitled Oru Valiya Manushyan (One Great Man) in Samyogi narrated a conversation he had with C Achutha Menon, former Chief Minister and one of the prominent Communists Kerala ever had. Once they met at Sahitya Academy, Akkitham asked Menon: “Parameswarji came to your residence. Isn’t it?” Achuta Menon just said ‘yes’ and entered into his characteristic silence. But once none was seen around, Menon opened with a question to Akhitham: ‘Do you know him?’ Akkitham confirmed his acquaintance with Parameswarji, and Menon went further: ‘I am not acquainted with him for any substantial period. Limited only to a small period. What a great man? Many among the RSS people are like that”. After some time Menon got up and was about to move out after collecting his umbrella from the back of the chair he was occupying. Immediately Menon turned back and added to his earlier comments: ‘It could have been better had others learnt from their sacrifice and discipline’. That’s how Achutha Menon read the great personality of Parameswarji.
Similarly, once, communist veteran EMS also opened up himself, indicating what he thought of the serious study demanded by the views expressed by P Parameswaran. Dr B. Iqbal, a prominent personality known for his closeness to communist party, went to meet EMS. During the course of their conversation EMS took a book from his collection and showed it and advised Dr Iqbal: “If you have not read it you should read it”. The book selected and shown by EMS was ‘Sree Narayana Guru, Navothanathinte Pravachakan’. That shows the seriousness with which EMS approached the intellectual depth of the person who crafted that work. (Ref: Vichara Viplavathinte Pusthaka Prapancham by Murali Parappurath, article published in Samyogi)
Having seen through direct and indirect observations of communist veterans Achutha Menon and EMS, (known critics of his ideological position) on the personality and contributions of P Parameswaran it is obvious that one turns towards his own words and deeds to arrive at a comprehensive picture.
“A child sitting in the lap of the mother challenges the whole world”. Thus said P Parameswaran providing his reflections on “Motherhood: The Mother & The Child of Spirituality”, during the course of his address to an august audience assembled to celebrate the birthday of Mata Amritanandamayi. Those words of his wisdom reveal what he was. Parameshwarji, all through his life, enjoyed the privilege of a child sitting on the divine lap of mother India. Yet he never asked her to get the shining moon for him. He was alternatively looking at the then gloomy face of mother India and those stars shining like diamonds in the horizon of nations around the world. He moulded his vision and mission to bring in that marvellous diamond like shine into the face of mother India in the comity of nations so that world would be guided to step into a bright future with the great Indian spirit of Vasudhaiva Kudumbakom.
Of Course, there could be many who may wonder what influenced a grooming multi faceted personality like Parameshwarji to opt not either poetry as his passion or communism as his inspiration. Grounds of such questions are well founded. His creative mind was so gifted to bring out beautiful and thought provoking Malayalam verses on Kolukonda Vembanad (Troubled waters of Vembanad backwaters) that got him first prize when Parameswarji himself and his classmate Vayalar Rama Varma participated in a school level competition of instant poetry writing. It is also true that childhood exposure to the fighting environment of red rebellion in Cherthala could have tricked him into communism. However, that question was answered, effectively and convincingly by Parameswarji himself when he narrated that reading of Vivekananda during childhood itself guided him into the path of dharma, truth and positive thinking and that eventually led him to Swami Vivekananda rather than Karl Marx.
Decolonising India was the divine task taken on himself by Swami Vivekananda. Towards the end of the 19th century Swamy addressed the World and made loud and clear Mother India’s determination to regain its rightful position on the top of the World so that humanity could step into an environment of peaceful coexistence and dynamic development by breaking the chains of imperialism. Simultaneously he made a clarion call upon Indian Society to “Awake, Arise and Stop not till the goal is achieved’. The task and strategy was well thought out. The then generation next was guided to forget all other devatas and worship Mother India during the following fifty years and concentrate on the task of the great liberation of India. Sree Aurobindo, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Keshav Bali Ram, Hegdewar and their associates arrived in the modern Kurukshetra and lead from the front to see through the historic course correction that entered its logical conclusion on 15th of August 1947.
Yet the task remained unfinished and the relay race entered into the next face where Guruji Golwalkar was destined to lead the subsequent march towards the goal set by the teeming millions of India. There came from the glorious land of the great seer Sankara and great reformer Guru Sreenarayana, P Parameswaran who volunteered himself to be initiated into the Rashtriya Swayam Sevaka Sangam, that great vehicle of renaissance and re-assertion, India was determined to accomplish. When Parameswaran, the young university student turned swayam sevak, was given the responsibility of Mukhya Sikshak (Chief trainer or mentor) he had an opportunity to prove the world what is in him to take care of the events to unfold. It is now part of history how an address of Guruji Golwalker organised in Trivandrum was targeted by ever-intolerant communists by instigating young cadres including ONV Kurup, Malayattor Ramakrishnan etc. Attempted violence on the gathering was effortlessly thwarted by the effective intervention of a group of Swayam Sewaks guided by young Parameswaran. That incident, in fact, brought out the force multiplier effect in Parameswarji’s personality along with his crisis management skills. Simultaneously he was pursuing a glorious academic career at the University College, Trivandrum. He was an extraordinarily brilliant student. Yet he had to be sent back by RSS functionaries when he skipped his University examinations and preferred to arrive in Tamil Nadu to attend a training programme of the Sangh. Moreover, even after becoming the gold medalist in University BA Degree examinations he didn’t bother to collect the degree certificate and later on University had to send a reminder to him for the collection of such a precious document. In other words, he was so detached from such matters and attached to the organisation and issues with which he wanted to identify with. He followed the footsteps of his mentor, guide and philosopher, Guruji Golwalkar, stayed at RSS headquarters at Nagpur for about two years, made use of that opportunity to go deep into the wealth of knowledge stored in the extensive bookshelves of the Karyalaya. Such an exposure at the power centre of Hindu cultural nationalism fastened the process of Parameswarji’s evolution to a great personality, well equipped to face the challenging times.
Early 1950s witnessed the emergence of young Parameswaran as quite capable of joining the leading lights of nationalistic forces on a pan India basis. But for Parameswarji there were a lot of areas to be covered in Kerala so that communist and communal forces in the state could be blocked and defeated. Communal forces in Kerala were still in the hangover of the patronage they enjoyed during the imperialist English regime. Communists in Kerala were carrying forward their legacy from the 1920s by making every effort to block the course of national integration with the calculation that a divided India would be convenient for Soviet/Chinese communist regimes to encroach upon and open the path for Indian comrades to snatch the political power. Obviously that section of the population which was committed to the cause of integrated India became the targets of such communal and communist forces. Standing up against such forces, with a very limited cadre strength, was a herculean task during those days. Yet Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was determined to deploy its dependable cadre to face adversaries, lock stock and barrel.
Slowly and steadily P Parameswaran was seen growing up as a great game changer in the domain of socio political discourse of Kerala. His entrance into Kerala Politics on the strength of various assignments in Bhartiya Jansangh brought out qualitative changes in the state politics. Being a mentor par excellence and a role model, he was highly successful in attracting more and more fresh faces into the Sangh and widening the sphere of influence for nationalistic forces. He stepped into the world of intellectual discourse, enhanced the level of intellectual clarity among his colleagues and followers on the hand and engaged in healthy discussions with those who held opposite viewpoints. He got himself engaged in Asaya Samvadam with communist leaders including EM Sankaran Namboodiripad. He wrote a number of books after extensive research on various subjects such as comparative study of Vivekananda and Karl Max, life and contributions of Sree Narayana Guru, Vivekananda, Maharshi Aravinda, Bhagavad Gita. During the course of his long engagement with public life he had reflected on a wide ranging subjects of fundamental and contemporary relevance and importance to the nation in particular and mankind in general. Parameswarji wanted to institutionalise pursuit of knowledge, ideas and ideologies that would perpetuate the glory of mother India. That indicates the time and effort he had dedicated to the cause of building up, development and maintenance of institutions like Deen Dayal Research Institute in New Delhi, Vivekananda Kendra in Kanya Kumari, and Bharatiya Vichara Kendram in Thiruvananthapuram.
In the art of organising mass build up and struggles for just and reasonable causes his practices would provide very useful case studies for any one keenly interested in the subject. He carefully set the goal, meticulously planned the strategy, systematically mobilised the resources (men material and intellectual inputs) and lead from the front when situation demanded. He also introduced leaders who could have emphatically identified with cause and encouraged leadership to grow from among the yet-to-be tried enthusiasts who took on themselves to move ahead to achieve the goal or serve the cause.
Inputs provided by him in organising the historic fight against the brute forces of suppression unleashed by Indira Gandhi’s fascist administration that went for subversion of Indian democracy were of strategic importance. Imprisonment and other suppressive measures adopted by the administration and his measured responses merit specific mention in the history of India’s bold and glorious fight against that authoritarian regime. His fighting spirit was again challenged when encroachment was attempted by vested interests in the poonkavanam (sacred garden) of Lord Ayyappa at Nilackal. The attempt was with the silent support of the State administration and could have long term adverse effects on the silent, peaceful and innocent devotees of Lord Ayyappa. Parameswarji initiated a spirited movement to defend the truth under the spiritual leadership of Swamy Satyananda Saraswati and dynamic organisational leadership of Kumnanam Rajasekharan and the successful completion of that movement became a glorious part of Kerala history, providing a lesson that has restrained any further adventures of that kind.
Parameswarji’s life, thus, marked 24×7 dedication to the cause of mother India. He neither asked anything in return nor expected any reward. Even when it was offered to him during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister, Parameswarji declined and suggested O Raja Gopal to be taken into the Union of Council of Ministers. Having closely observed such a glorious selfless life, Mata Amritanandamayi said that Parameswarji reminded her of Bharata, who had sacrificed everything including the crown when it was easily available, placed Ramapadukangal on the seat of power, lived like a saint, ruled Ayodhya like a servant of Lord Rama.
P Parameswaran, who bid final Goodbye to this world on February 9, 2020 with “malice towards none and charity for all” left firm footprints for generations to get inspired from.
(Author is a special invitee to the State Committee of Bharateeya Vichara Kendram. Views and observations are personnel. [email protected])