By Dr C. I. Issac
The present socio-political condition of Kerala compelled once its former Chief Minister, Shri A. K. Anthony, to accept certain realities on the economic front. In the reading of the former Chief Minister, the religious minorities are more organised politically and also as an economic force in the state than anywhere else in the country. One of the factors that contributes to this state of affairs is the remittances received from the Gulf countries.
The reason behind the incidents like ?Marad genocide? was a result of the ?acquired? collective bargaining power (vote bank) of the religious minorities. In the former Chief Minister'sown words, ?My personal feeling is that such bargaining power may lead to an imbalance in the economic status of the majority and the minority communities. There is already a feeling among the majority community that minority communities are securing most of what is due to them through collective bargaining. This should not be allowed.? Whatever may be the wisdom behind this recognition, no doubt, it points to the burning realities.
On the very day of the above disclosure by the Chief Minister, the leadership of the organised religions as well as the pseudo secularists started to attack tooth and nail the statement of Chief Minister. It ultimately ended with the recent dethroning of the Chief Minister by a most favoured Christian, Oommen Chandy. On behalf of minorities they began to argue that the minorities gained nothing in an out-of-the-way manner and if they got anything, it was the legitimate right guaranteed by the Constitution. The pro-minority leadership including the Left parties and a faction of the Congress pose a serious threat to the state government. No doubt, the objective behind their political drama is the appeasement of the organised minority vote bank that constitutes 45 per cent of the total population.
Material prosperity and political control
It is interesting to see that the minorities in Kerala, particularly the Christians, have objected to any governmental attempt at meaningful social control over the educational institutions in this state since the days of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyyar (the 40s of the last century), the Diwan of princely state of Travancore, to the days of Shri Achuta Menon, Chief Minister of Kerala in the 70s of the last century. Before the muscle power of the organised minority religions of Kerala, all such efforts turned as futile on the part of the successive governments. Now they are using the same muscle power in the case of self-financing of professional colleges. But it is paradoxical to see that the Marxist party is cynical to Chief Minister'sstatement on the minorities? organised bargaining strategy. What is the logic behind the Marxist'sfoul play?
Is it the same Christian minority leadership that sabotaged the first elected communist ministry of 1957 through their notorious liberation struggle of 1958? Long before it, the same Christian forces set fire to the famous Shasta Temple of Sabari Hills and later attempted to occupy the land by attempting to plant a cross in the holy garden of the temple. The fertile Malayattoor Hills near the birthplace of Jagatguru Shankaracharya were occupied to construct a church initially by planting a cross. The organised Hindu forces defused the foul stratagem of the Catholics to occupy a Hindu temple at Matrumala near Kottayam, about three decades back. Crosses in several streets of Kerala still continue to serve as stumbling blocks to its progress. The Christians, particularly the Catholics of Kerala, are zealous in occupying the PWD roadsides by planting a cross and subsequently constructing chapels. The ?cross cultivation? of this minority'smuscle power is not merely satisfied with the roadsides but has shifted its attention to revenue lands and forestlands.
It is paradoxical to see that the Marxist party is cynical to Chief Minister'sstatement on the minorities? organised bargaining strategy.
Kanjikuzhi is a busy junction in Kottayam, a district headquarters town, where two chapels of different Christian denomination are creating traffic congestion and accidents. In the same town, within the district collectorate compound a church is functioning smoothly at the cost of development of the concerned area. Likewise, the cross as well as chapels stand as ?stumbling blocks? to human development in various towns like Piravom, Ernakulam, Aluva, Mallappally, Calicut, Alleppey, Kanjirappally, Thriuvella, Changancherry, etc. In Kerala there are several cross-junctions, which are bearing the burden of the sin of the muscle power of the Christians. Is this not minority obstinacy?
Including the Marad seashore, where the recent Hindu genocide took place, there are several unauthorised mosques which have been constructed in the last two decades. In Changanacheery, a municipal town in the Kottayam district, the Muslim religious hierarchy of Puthoor Palli (a mosque) forcibly occupied a public stadium and a road with impunity on acquiring political power through the successive coalition regimes. The same mosque authorities forcibly occupied the land of a nearby government school too. The district revenue authorities, including the District Collector, remained as passive spectators before the Muslim muscle power by not knowing what to do. Three years ago, at Pathnamthitta, a district headquarters town, as part of the anniversary of the demolition of the ?shameful structure at Ayodhya?, some Muslim goons looted and set fire to non-Muslim business establishments. The culprits of this crime are still living in the same place as respectful citizens of Bharat. All the above-mentioned are a few episodes in the long sceptical existence of the minorities in Kerala protected under the special umbrella (minority rights) of our Constitution.
The minorities in Kerala are, nowadays, politically and religiously an organised force. So, they can very easily sabotage the UN norms regarding the identification of minorities in the state. As per the above charter, minorities should be a category that constitutes a population of below 10 per cent of the respective state'spopulation. Even in USA in certain states the Blacks are not included in the category of minorities. If the UN norms are strictly implemented here, none of the present minority communities would fall under the purview of the special privileges granted to minorities.
In the 40s of the last century, 40 per cent of the total land of the state was thick forestland. Now the forest area in the state has fallen to 10 per cent. It happened so because of the organised effort by the Christian Catholic church through the stratagem of planting the cross along the forestlands. The Catholic church openly interfered to protect the forest encroachers? interests. Father Vadakkan, a Catholic priest became the Messiah of the forest encroachers with the blessings of the church hierarchy. Nobody can forget the Gandhian style of agitation staged by this priest in the Churili-Keerithode forest region of Idduki district to desist government effort at eviction of unlawful occupants from the forestland. This practice continued through years and now has reached the Mathikettan forests. The recent attempt by the state government to evict the unlawful occupants from the said forestland was countered by the church alongwith the Marxist companion, Shri P.J. Joseph, the man who dishonoured Sarasvati Svandanam recital in the Education Ministers? conference held at Delhi some five years ago. On the other hand, if a landless Vanavasi was to make an effort to occupy a piece of land in the forest area of Kerala, what would be the politico-church reaction of Kerala? The recent incidents in Muthanga forest show that immediately after the occupation of the forestland by the Vanavasis, the ruling government indiscriminately/cruelly used its machinery to oust the poor unorganised Hindus. Earlier the media of the state protrayed it as an encroachment of the forestlands and as a danger to ecology.
The Christians, particularly the Catholics of Kerala, are zealous in occupying the PWD roadsides by planting a cross and subsequently constructing chapels. The ?cross- cultivation? of this minority'smuscle power is not merely satisfied with the roadsides.
Is the land reform drama of Kerala staged during the days of the first communist ministry and continued by the subsequent ministries a result of the conspiracy hatched to impoverish the Hindu community? Let us examine the socio-political background of the ministers who were at the helm of land reforms. In order to save the landlords belonging to the minority community, the church intervened to allow use of excess land to continue by the minority by including relaxation clauses for the plantation lands/estates. Now with mounting minority pressure, the government is making amendments to the old land reform act to save those Christians and Muslim landlords who later converted their surplus land into cashew plantations by giving estate status to cashew-cultivated lands. This attempt is termed as a passing episode in the highly communalised and politicised society. In short, the coconut plantations of the Hindus did not come under the purview of the estate when drafting the land reforms. Hence the entire land of temples became surplus land and the deity of the temple became the landlord/janmi. At the same time the land owned by the churches was not included under purview of land reforms. All these events in the yesteryears are unforgettable chapters in the Hindu history of Kerala.
The foreign funding for religious propagation and proselytism received over the years and predominance in the political scenario made the minorities economically secure and they resulted in getting an upper hand in the field of education business than the Hindu majority. During 2000-1 alone Kerala received Rs 360 crores as foreign contribution. Nearly 90 per cent of this went into Christian hands. On the other hand, Muslims received such contributions through hawala transactions. Recently the police unearthed a hawala transaction to the tune of Rs 350 crores. Such unnoticed transactions may take place by more than ten to fifty times. In 2002-03 the bank deposit in Kerala crossed Rs 59,399 crores. The share of Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) was Rs 28,696 crores. But the source of the remaining bank deposit of Rs 30,703 crores is a bit mysterious. How a state, that is industrially and agriculturally poor, can contribute such a big sum to the banks? No doubt, the foreign contributions either through a proper channel or through a hawala source is the villain of the piece. All these things are happening in the state only because of the organised strength and collective bargaining power of the minorities.
(The author is Head of the PG Department of History, CMS College, Kottayam, Kerala and can be contacted at Chavanickamannil, Vadavathoor P.O, Kottayam, Kerala 686 010. E-mail: [email protected] Visit: www.christiansofkerala.com)