Kochi : Writer and social commentator Paul Zacharia has lamented that the word ‘renaissance’ has been reduced to a joke in the wake of the present brouhaha over the entry of women of child-bearing age into the Sabarimala temple.

Speaking at a seminar on Monday in connection with the ‘Krithi’ international book fest currently on in Kochi, the writer opined that much of the current discourse on renaissance in the backdrop of the Sabarimala issue was “superficial”.

“Now the term ‘renaissance’ is being used like a brand name. The term has been reduced to a joke what with virtually anything and everything being described as renaissance,” Mr. Zacharia said.

Weighing in on the Sabarimala issue, he opined that he did not view women hitting the streets in protest against the Sabarimala verdict allowing women of menstrual age entry into the hill shrine as a sign of the ascendancy of right-wing forces like the BJP.

He also came down on the media in Kerala, saying that the media played up the Sabarimala issue in a bid to garner eyeballs.

The Sabarimala issue would die down only if the media stopped viewing it as a means of reaping profit, he charged.

Lamenting the erosion of renaissance values in the state, Mr. Zacharia said that it was futile to criticise just the political parties for this situation, adding that the media was just as culpable in the state losing the gains of renaissance.

To buttress his point, he cited as example the role played by the media in the rise of self-styled god-men and -women.

He also bemoaned the degeneration that has allegedly crept into political parties such as the CPI(M) and the Congress.

Saying that the CPI(M)-led LDF government prevaricated on the Sabarimala issue even more than the Congress, he opined that no CPI(M) leader except Pinarayi Vijayan was able to explicitly declare support in favour of entry of young women into the Sabarimala temple.

Coming down on Congress leader and leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala, the writer said that the Congress leader’s stance on the Sabarimala issue was even more extreme than that of the BJP.

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