Kerala is on a self destructive path and no one is to be blamed for it other than the malayalees themselves. The salafist school of orthodox Islam has established itself to such an extent in the state that it is rapidly eroding the social and cultural gains that the state had achieved over the years and turning the clock back forever. The fear of being labelled as “communal” has stopped many from the majority community from raising their voice against the Saudisation of the state , while the feeble resistance offered by the handful within the Muslim community is muzzled with an iron fist. It is high time that we acknowledge this phenomenon and start asking some hard questions.
As we all know wahabbi incursions started with the gulf boom but it took nearly two decades to get itself planted on this soil. As a non Muslim my first encounter with it was at school when some of my classmates who used to cover their heads with shawl switched to wearing hijab. It was 15 years back and they themselves were a rarity as Muslim women like most of the Malayalees wore saree or salwar kameez . Then all of a sudden mosques started to come up at each and every locality and with it came orthodoxy. Though my school had fewer Muslims they started to segregate themselves from us and many of them started to preach what they were being taught. I was told what a sin it was to pray to an idol and that I will most probably go to hell for that where I would be roasted and fed to devil. With the onset of teenage like anyone I turned to atheism , but for my fellow classmates it was a greater sin. During this time Minority schools started to prop up , some even had fez cap as their uniform. Madrassas became ubiquitous so did the religious sermons. Today my part of the state is unrecognisable , The land where once communism thrived is now a Mecca of sorts and the sad part is that , it is still in a state of flux.
When Muslims started to wear their identity on their sleeves , their Hindu neighbours also started to do the same especially those from the higher castes. The Nairs , who were staunch communists started to gravitate towards RSS. The main reason was their economic decline. Unlike the Muslims , Nairs ignored the gulf boom , which made them financially weaker. Most of the old Tharavadus were sold to Muslims at cheap rates and many of them migrated out of the state. Those who remained only had the family names and a baggage of history. They were envious of the success their Muslim compatriots were having and budding BJP was their refuge. Now Nairs and a huge section of Ezhavas are staunch RSS men. They sport Kavi Mundu, red thilak , kangan and a plethora of sacred threads.
Though Hindutva is a threat to Malayanma, it is just a fringe phenomenon. With a falling birthrate the chance of Hindus being a driving force in the region is a lesser possibility. It is believed that by 2060 Muslims would become the largest religious group in the state. In such a situation the ascend of orthodoxy is a real threat to the survival of us as a people. Moreover this could elicit counter reactions from the Hindu hardliners from outside the state causing the situation to deteriorate. It is high time that Kerala come out of the false facade of secularism and address the serious issue at hand.