P.Valsala — Journey from a progressive to a true saffron sanghi

When some writers open their mouths to blurt out wisdom towards the evening of their lives, after years of silently churning out remarkable and ‘not so’ works of literature, one feels cheated. Cheated, at the wide gap between our long-held perceptions of the person behind the words, to the one revealed quite late in the day.

In the case of writer P.Valsala, that feeling of being cheated, happened a couple of years back. For long, the writer, now 77, had been one of the known voices from the left fold, even helming PuKaSa (Progressive Arts and Literary Organisation) and the Kerala Sahitya Academy.

In October 2013, she showed the first signs of shitting where the wind blows. Just before BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s visit to Mata Amitanandamayi math, she came out with an article in the Mathrubhumi titled `Thottunarthan Oru Cheruviral’ (The Little Finger that Wakes You Up), heaping praises on the god woman, who is accused of everything from murder to land grab to pumping in illegitimate foreign funds (one of the biggest recipients of foreign funds in the country).

More than the Mata’s credentials, Valsala’s new position was a betrayal of all the progressive ideals which she stood for once. When the PuKaSa publicly criticised her, Valsala responded saying it was vulgar to call Mata a godwoman. The slump was quick from thereon, as she began regularly appearing in programmes organised by Balagokulam (RSS’s organisation to poison kids’ minds) and Tapasya (another RSS-affiliated ‘socio-cultural organisation, whose members were recently made members of the Kerala censor board).

Two days back, she nosedived into the Sanghi cesspool when she made a public statement that Modi is the second Chanakya and until his arrival India was under the control of big mafias, a control of which Modi is effectively breaking. She further said that there is no ‘secularism’ and that humans cannot live in unity with the society around him. She also fed into the paranoia usually resorted by the RSS by claiming that Hinduism is under attack. Words which signify the virtual suicide of a ‘progressive’.

BJP leader K.Surendran visiting P.Valsala’s home after Modi statement

But, the real reasons were hidden in her reaction to the left’s criticism to her stand. “I did not become a writer by anyone’s help or blessing. I won most of my awards under right-Governments, not left.” It could be a slip, but she did make clear that her allegiance to a particular side, were prompted by the chance of getting awards. In the era when action hero (And acting zero) Suresh Gopi can become the Chairman of the National Film Development Corporation and porn star Gajendra Chauhan can be the Chairman of FTII, and writer Sethumadhavan can be pushed out from the Chairmanship of the National Book Trust and Y.S.Rao who lives in mythologies can be the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research and Modi pimp Zareshwala can be the head of the Urdu University, Valsala can sure do with Jnaanapeeth in her awards cabinet.

It is no secret that the BJP has for quite some time been trying hard to bring in writers and artistes of quality into its fold, for they only have the Chauhans and Indu Menons to parade to the world. Even their poster boy Chetan Bhagat have come out painting the bhakths as ‘sex starved’ and ‘English-challenged’. In the case of past leaders too, the RSS and BJP has been experiencing quite a drought, which prompted them to ‘steal’ leaders like Ambedkar and Vallabhai Patel, who have always taken stands diametrical to the Sangh’s.

The only wish as one writes this is that writers and cultural leaders whom we have perceived as having stood for the right thing (and not the right wing), would remain silent at ages when they could be approaching senility, like it happened with V.R.Krishna Iyer. They are doing a great disservice to their oeuvre and their admirers by revealing their khaki inner clothes quite late in the day.

Update — In 2016, she has taken the shift to sanghi madness one step further by writing a whole article in Mathrubhumi on Narendra Modi, his “Gandhian path” and “democratic nature”. She has also rubbished all the students’ movements in the country’s Universities. Full on senile. — http://www.mathrubhumi.com/features/social-issues/-malayalam-news-1.1370360