21 June, 2021

Captain @99

In the country’s red bastion, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan beats history and opponents with relative ease

Illustration by Saahil
Captain @99

Sometimes, simple human reactions tell a story much more completely than dry statistics. It’s not just that they are more evocative—in expressing a singular mood, they catch a collective moment, resonating with larger, mass sentiments. On the day election results were announced in Kerala, the video of a lone elderly woman went viral on social media. It was a simple video: the woman, in her 70s, was seen walking down an empty street waving a CPI(M) party flag, while two policemen looked on, somewhat amused at the sight of the cheerleader. There was a stringent ban on victory celebrations in place, but the police had fair reason not to stop her: mask, face shield, social distancing protocol, all was in place. She was celebrating the stupendous victory of the CPI(M)-led LDF, but showed no obvious emotion. It was a plain, unadorned walk—the walk of one set on a determined path. A Communist ditty played in the background. In one brief frame, it caught the blend of expectation, subdued elation and, most importantly, validation that pervaded the air among Left leaders,...

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