Despite being a working day, hundreds thronged Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram,to express their protest against attempts to challenge the Indian Constitution. Pink helium balloons held tightly in their hands, ready to join a movement in support of the Constitution. As they were ready to read out the preamble of the Indian Constitution, only one giant balloon was released — it bore the words ‘We, The People,’ the name of the movement that had brought these people together. Journalist N Ram was among those who were invited to speak. He read the preamble to the hundreds gathered at the Central Stadium, repeating the words in Malayalam, after Mayor VK Prasanth.
“The preamble leaves no doubt that this is not an authoritarian Constitution. It didn’t come from any monarch or king. It is a republican Constitution which embodies the most progressive values of humanity in modern times,” Ram said in his speech. “Unlike the Constitution of some of the neighbouring countries, we have a secular Constitution which prohibits any kind of discrimination, or anything that derogates the dignity of individuals in society. And this I think is great achievement, it is not just something that is on paper. It represents the fruit of the best aspects of our freedom struggle,” he said.
Ram spoke of the recent Supreme Court verdict on the Sabarimala temple allowing entry of women of all ages, and appreciated how the state government as well as the Kerala police had handled it. Without naming any political parties, he said that anti social elements had defied the SC decision through acts of violence, vandalism, destruction of property and threats against people, including women journalists. “The maturity shown by the police force is exemplary.”
Social activist and human rights campaigner Shabnam Hashmi said that it was very difficult to organise such a gathering in many states in India. “In Gujarat, for years, we couldn’t get an auditorium to talk about peace, love, our choices or the Constitution. We have to give in writing that we will not speak against the government. Before Kerala also turns into that environment, it is important that people impress upon secular political parties to come together and join hands with the people of India.”
Songs of unity came from the music band, Oorali, followed by more speeches. CK Janu, leader of Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha, said that the Indian Constitution is a model to the world. “When we challenge and destroy it, we are destroying ourselves. We are responsible to pay any price to protect the Constitution.”
Aikya Malayaraya Mahasabha General Secretary P K Sajeev said that this movement should spread to all districts, and they need the support of everyone for the Malayaraya community to get back the control of the Sabarimala Temple.The event also included music, drama and peaceful expressions from people gathered.