Monday, July 05, 2010

How far is Saudi Arabia from Kerala?

By John Cheeran
How far is Saudi Arabia from Kerala?
Saudi Arabia is a state of mind, a state of mind intolerant of other points of view. It comes as no surprise to me that Kerala is not far from that theocratic state as evidenced by the chopping off act on Sunday in Thodupuzha. Taliban have infiltrated Kerala’s body politic for a long time and the vengeful act that reeks of the primitive and barbaric justice system that Saudi Arabia swears by was put into practice by a band of thugs who swear by Islam.
On Sunday a university professor’s right wrist was chopped off in Thodupuzha, Kerala, by people who carry, what’s generally regarded as Muslim names.
It was no ordinary crime.
It was religious backlash and the man under the axe, TJ Jospeh, a Malayalam professor, was suspended by Newman’s College, Thodupuzha, for including a question derogatory to the founder of Islam, in an examination paper. Now, Joseph, who went into hiding after those who were hurt by that question paper, raised a ruckus, had been arrested by the state police and later released on bail.
All that is fine. You can get offended for whatever slights you could imagine. In our democracy that has become a fundamental right for fundamentalists.
The point is that should we accept the rule of law or should we lie back and let Taliban take hold over us?
I have noticed that those who have a stake in this issue, LDF and UDF politicians, and especially, the leadership of assorted Muslim organizations in the state have condemned the barbaric act. They have made the routine noises about how violence is antithetical to Islam, etc.
It would be naïve to consider the chopping of the wrist as a stray event. May be no religion, on the face of it, allows for a vendetta as barbaric as that happened in Thodupuzha. But there has been a consent built over a period of time various religious communities that justifies any ugly and revolting deed if it is consecrated in the name of God.
It’s difficult to read Muslim mind in these troubled times and especially if you live in Kerala. Away from the public glare there has been a Muslim consciousness at play, fundamental in its thought, and fanned by petrodollars from the Middle East. And this Taliban are at work in various disguises, declaring at times solidarity with social causes only to further its own narrow and divisive agenda.
The intolerance against perceived slights to religious prophets and retaliations, purely inspired by a barbaric justice system, such as in Thodupuzha are dead give-aways that there is a tacit approval from the Muslim community for such heinous acts.
To confront this Taliban is the immediate responsibility of the Muslim leaders in Kerala. You cannot take the grievance that India has been unfair to Islam’s followers beyond a point.
Mind you, this is India. This is not Afghanistan. This is not Saudi Arabia. The political leadership on the left and right may well kiss the Middle East arse, but those who talk about pogrom in Gujarat should also remember that you cannot butcher men in the name of the most merciful.

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