number of English newspapers reported on January 20 the marriage of a Hindu
couple in a mosque in Kerala’s Alappuzha. The Cheruvally Muslim Jamaat mosque
near Alappuzha, made all arrangements for the marriage and the marriage
ceremony was conducted according to the Hindu rite by a Hindu priest.
reported that the mosque committee also gifted 10 sovereigns of gold and
200,000 rupees to the bride as a wedding gift, besides meeting all expenses of
the marriage, including meals for 1,000 persons belonging to different
communities. Indeed, this is an excellent example for communal harmony and
genuine secularism in action: acceptance, appreciation and promotion in spite
of religious differences.
It is not
the first time that the ordinary people showed to others, especially to the
communalists of all faiths that religion is not a barrier to express love and
humanity. During the great flood in 2018 hundreds of stories were reported of
people in Kerala supporting each other without considering their religion.
Temples, churches and mosques were opened for accommodating people whose houses
were flooded or destroyed.
2019, Idivetty Juma Masjid Mahal committee near Perambra in Kozhikode postponed
Milad-Un-Nabi celebrations to facilitate the marriage of Hindu girl, who stayed
right next to the mosque. Prathyusha’s marriage was reportedly set to take
place on November 10, the same day of Miland-Un-Nabi celebrations.
did the Juma Masjid Mahal committee postponed the celebrations to November 17,
but joined in the marriage festivities as well. Upon the conclusion of the
wedding celebrations, Prathyusha, the bride, and the bridegroom interacted with
the Mahal committee members and thanked them profusely for their wonderful
Back in the
summer of 2015, the heart of a Hindu man was transported across Kerala for a
Christian patient in dire need of a new one. Funds were raised by a Muslim
businessman to pay for the operation, which was performed by the state’s top
heart surgeon: a Christian. The entire state became engrossed as the story
be various reasons for the harmony among the followers of different faiths in
Kerala. Significant percentage of Muslims and Christians in Kerala population
could be a motivation for the different communities to live in harmony.
to Census 2011, Muslims and Christians constitute about 45 percent of Kerala
population. The question of superiority and inferiority doesn’t affect much the
relationship among the communities. High level of literacy and education could
be another reason. The liberal thinking among the Keralites could be the
contribution of the leftist movement. In contrast to much of north India,
inter-community relations in Kerala have always been fairly harmonious,
although the situation is beginning to change today.
Khan in her book, “The Sacred Kerala- A spiritual Journey,” writes about a
long-standing tradition of religious overlapping or shared religious
identities. For example, at the annual Chandankulam festival in a remote Kerala
village, devotees of all faiths gather at a Catholic church, proceed to a
Bhagvati temple and then finally congregate at a mosque.
undertaking the strenuous journey to the shrine of Ayyapa at Sabarimala must
first visit a mosque, and, after completion of the pilgrimage, often visit the
shrine of a Christian saint. Ayappa, one of the major Malayali Hindu folk
deities, is believed to have been a close friend of a Muslim named Vavar, and
also of a Christian priest.
also has mentioned that, in recent years, Kerala has witnessed the emergence of
a number of right-wing communal and religious ‘fundamentalist’ movements among
Hindus, Muslims and Christians. These movements see the state’s rich legacy of
shared religious traditions and spaces that bring together people belonging to
different religious communities, as ‘superstitious’, ‘aberrant’ and ‘deviant’.
These movements have had a major impact on Kerala society, and have succeeded
in making communal divisions much stronger and clearly-demarcated.
who participate in the anti-CAA, NRC, NPR movement in different parts of India
are also redefining secularism. For example Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where women
have been protesting against CAA for almost a month, has become a place of
communal harmony. On January 15, a group of Sikh framers from Punjab prepared Langer,
community meal, for about 1,000 people who were protesting at Shaheen Bagh.
Majority of the protestors are Muslim women.
different faiths came together on Sunday, January 12 at Shaheen Bagh, to
participate in a “Sarva Dharma Sambhava”- a multi-faith prayer ceremony. The
inter-faith ceremony, consisted of traditional Hindu-style “Hawan” and chants
of Sikh “Kirtan”, followed by reading out the Preamble of the Constitution and
taking an oath to preserve its “socialist, secular” values. Portions from the
Gita, the Bible and the Quran were read and Gurbani held. People are protesting
by showcasing the pluralistic heritage of India to the rulers who are making
all efforts to demolish it.
One of the
core values of Indian Constitution is secularism. Secularism in the context of
India is Sarva Dharma Sambhava or pluralism in the sense of acceptance,
appreciation and celebration of differences, especially in terms of religion
and culture. Unfortunately, many political and religious leaders distorted and
disfigured genuine secularism in order to protect and further their vested
religious leaders, who do not share the vision of India as enshrined in the
Constitution, follow the ‘divide and rule’ policy by pitching one religious
community against the other. In order hide their weaknesses, failures and
corrupt practices from the public eye they present other religious communities
as enemies of their own community and create conflict among the followers of
developments show that the people of India have started realizing the games
played by the political and religious leaders. They have started questioning
the game plan of the leaders and they demonstrate what genuine secularism is
through their actions. Will the leaders learn from the ordinary people?
Headline: Ordinary people redefine secularism
Source: The Matters India