Thiruvananthapuram: A controversial poster by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) depicting world and state political leaders as Jesus and his 12 disciples in Leonardo da Vinci's famous work, The Last Supper, has kicked up a major debate in Kerala and earned the wrath of the Catholic Church in the state. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy too condemned the action of the CPM.
The spoof on The Last Supper has a caption which explains that the visual depicts the last supper of capitalism, and that hope rests in Marxism alone. The visual shows US President Barack Obama as Jesus. To his right are United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala. To Obama's left are shown other Indian leaders such as BJP's L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi and global leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The hoardings came up in different parts on the outskirts of the capital, including Thrikkannapuram, Kunnapuzha and Peroorkonam, and was sponsored by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. Following protests, the hoardings were removed.
Syro-Malabar Church spokesman Paul Thelekkat said: "Those who have read history would know that it was in fact the end of communism, and this cannot be denied. The fall of the erstwhile USSR and the East Bloc nations point to this fact. We are now witnessing the demolition of the statues of Marx and Engels in Berlin, and what is currently practised in China is also not communism".
Kerala Catholic Bishops' Conference spokesman Stephen Alathara said: "It is deplorable to make such a perverse portrayal of The Last Supper. The Last Supper is a poignant moment in Christianity, and this is where the Holy Mass was instituted."
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, "My belief is that the CPM will apologise for this," he said.
Christians took out rallies in different parts of the state to mark their protest against the morphed poster. In Alappuzha, children and adults took out a march from the Mount Carmel Cathedral. In Kochi, the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement members took out a protest march.