Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wahhabification of Kerala? - How a cultural melting pot is begining to show signs of boiling

Los Angeles Times ran a front page story today (Jan 28, 2007) about how migrants returning from the Persian Gulf with stricter views on Inslam are altering the melting pot in an Indian province of Kerala.

It was not long ago when hindus visited islamic shrines and offered prayer before a sufi saints. I was there in one of the jungle shrine on the way to a hindu temple called Mamanam Temple in North Malabar during my school days. The islamic shrine is called Nilamuttam (Courtyard of moon light) in the midst of green forests of western ghats. I stood with my parents infront of the shrine with equal if not more reverence and god fear with which we stood infront of the hindu diety we prayed an hour ago. It was mesmeric and was an early education to me about the organic harmony with which two religions coexisted in Kerala.

Last time I checked with my parents, the hindu visitors are not visiting the islamic shrine any more. I dont know the reasons. It could be that hindu extremists started spreading word that its an insult to their god that the hindu visitors stopping by an islamic shrine after the temple visit. It is also possible that doors of the shrine are closed for hindu visitors. Either ways, its a sad thing that happened to Kerala psyche. It looks like the trend is not singular. The pull to the extremes are getting stronger as years pass by. Los Angeles Times article chronicles the wahabi part of the story. But other side of the story deserves mention. When my cousin showed up at work in Saudi on Dec 7, 1992, the day after Hindu extremists demolished a disputed centuries old mosque-temple Babri Masjid, his arabic manager asked him, 'Are you guys getting more intolerant towards our brothers in India?'. He did not have an answer. Let us hope that Kerala find her answer by keeping its tradition of beinga true melting pot that never boils over.

Read the Los Angeles Times report

1 comment:

Sajee said...

'Kerala' has turned to be a time bomb, dangerously wound with emotions of religion but yet known as a black comedy of times 'secularism'. When u land in Kerala, u'll definitely see angst-ridden faces and could smell blood in the air. What has gone wrong in Kerala? You're right, there were times when we all lived in harmony with no fears. Respected the religions, revered dieties, felt the veneration to humans... but what has gone wrong over the years?

I always thought, 'religion is the most lightest emotion which can be exploited; effortlessly and undeniably'. That has happened in its brutal and vindictive manner where humans have lost their senses to get confounded to their minds.

Kerala is volcanic, will soon get baked into the kiln. I wonder, who can stop it?? Should we wait for a 'godot' who never comes?