JANUARY 1, 2019: It was no wall, literally it was a fortress. Tens of thousands of women gathered on the western side of National Highway to imprint a new history. The women’s wall became multilayer fortress in through all districts on the first day of 2019. The wall became a fortress of humanity, equality and unity. All sections of women comprising of agricultural workers, teachers, nurses, Kudumbashree women, coir and cashew workers, students and prominent writers, artists, actors joined the women’s wall. Large number of women from the Muslim and Christian communities also participated and formed the women’s wall. When over 55 lakh women gathered on the west side of National Highway, almost same number of men assembled on the other side.
The women gathered to build the women’s wall against the forces that are trying to pull back the Kerala Society to the black, medieval age. The wall organized by Navotdhana Samrakshana Samithi (Renaissance Protection Committee) raised three slogans i.e., will not allow Kerala to become a lunatic asylum again, protect the values of renaissance and ensure equality. Three agencies, Universal Records Forum, American Book of Records and Official Book of Records announced that this wall is a world record. All three agencies assessed that more than 50 lakh women participated in this wall.
Women in the state gathered for 620 kilometers from Kasargode to Vellayambalam in Thiruvananthapuram at around 3.30 pm. The rehearsal started at 3.45pm and the pledge was taken exactly at 4 pm. The wall continued till 4.15pm.
The first person in the wall was KK Shailaja, Health Minister in the LDF government at Kasargode at the northern tip. The last person in the wall was Brinda Karat, member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau at Thiruvananthapuram.
Political and cultural leaders attended in various centres. Subhashini Ali, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member joined the wall at Kochi while Mariam Dhawale, general secretary of AIDWA joined at Malappuram.
The wall ended at Vallaybalayam, near the statue of Ayyankali, the great anti-caste fighter. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, V S Achuthanandan, veteran leader of CPI(M) and other cabinet ministers and LDF leaders were also present.
An unprecedented campaign was unleashed by the opposition parties in Kerala and mainstream media to tarnish this historical event. But the women power strongly overcame all these nasty tricks and the wall became a model for the world over. The anti-women forces challenged that the wall will become an utter failure. Accusations over misuse of the government funds was another way to break the women wall. Even after the government clarified in court that no money from the exchequer is used for the women wall, Congress and BJP leaders kept on the accusations. They even said that government was bullying the volunteers of Kudumbashree and other organizations to participate in the wall.
The grand success of the wall has been a befitting answer to the forces which tried to smudge the values of Kerala renaissance on the back drop of the Supreme Court judgment allowing the entry of women from all age groups to Sabarimala. Sangh parivar and Congress jointly unleashed a series of eerie protests against the government. They managed to organize women on the street in the name of protection of rituals. RSS goons even attacked the pilgrims near the shrine.
A meeting of socio-religious organizations which carry the legacy of renaissance was convened by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on December1, 2018, in the back drop of these violent protests. An idea of the women wall was mooted in this meeting. When the government decided to take this idea, Congress and BJP jointly unleashed a campaign. Muslim league leaders accused this as communal wall. All these campaigns were rubbished by the massive gathering of women from all walks of life. A magnificent presence of Muslim women in the wall was a pleasant surprise even for the organizers.