I am a proud Malayalee, proud of our state, proud of our people, proud of our Human Development Index and healthcare, proud of the generous mentality of our people, and even somewhat proud of the politicians in my state. I am truly blessed to have been born in this state and to be identified as a Keralite.
With that said, I am now worried. Worried that the secular fabric of my state and it’s people is getting muddied. This worry has been creeping up for some time now, I tried to hide it under the carpet thinking it was possibly the creation of a hyperbolic media which in these days seems to be only interested in sensationalism and TRPs. But the murder of 20-year-old Abhimanyu at Maharaja college, makes me think otherwise.
If a graffiti on a wall is so important for groups like Campus front, that they are willing to take the life of a hard-working college student, there is something genuinely wrong with our society. What is even more frightening is that most of the accused are also young, barely adults.
There should be no mistake, these religious fanatics are trying the age-old practice of scaring away the general public so that we don’t voice our concerns. That’s why they went to the most leftist campus in the state to unleash their terror.
It has been a couple of years, that we have been hearing news on a consistent basis of young men and women joining the ISIS from North Kerala. The consistency is very frightening, what we see in news is always just the tip of the iceberg. If the tip is so visible, we have to naturally imagine the indoctrination of religious fundamentalism is much more rampant and also very effective.
The undeclared war between the communists and RSS, where human lives have been reduced to statistics is very saddening. We have young communists and RSS taking each other’s lives for literally anything and everything. The fact that the society at large has become desensitised to these killings makes it very dangerous. We have forgotten that behind those numbers, which the politicians scream in television debates are actual human lives with dreams, families, careers and hopes.
In my state, being human was always first, religion was secondary. That is not the case now. Religion is taking precedence in judging characters and forming friends. People are getting suspicious of each other if they are from another religion. Internet and social media has only accelerated this process. Social media has divided societies into black and white all around the world, and our state of Kerala has also fallen prey to this division.
The government can’t sit and wait, they have to be more proactive. They should first find out the gravity of the problem. Take a strong stand against these religious fanatics groups and ban them. There should be a zero-tolerance policy for violence on religious grounds. They should not be scared to call out certain groups for their activities. The government can’t afford to play politics with this issue. We need a strong government who will take a stand no matter what.
The society at large should pass on the secular values we learnt from our earlier generations. We should not be afraid to talk against any religious practice or teaching that may be used to brainwash the coming generations. If they are so effective in their indoctrination, we have to be doubly effective in our practice of secularism. They are trying to cower us into a shell. And if we do that, they win. We can’t let them win. Don’t be afraid, voice your opinion, this is not a fight we can afford to lose.
Kerala is God’s own country not because of the religions, or temples or mosques or churches. It’s called God’s own, because here the people are loving, caring, generous, accommodating, welcoming, secular, and most of all, humane. We can’t lose these qualities as a society, not in the name of God.