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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hindus of Kerala destined to be refugees in their native land

Dr. C.I. Issac.

The Hindus of Kerala are getting to be a minority community in their native land, is not a secret any more. When India became a republic the Hindus of this land had a population share of 61.5%. Today it progressively and gradually declined and now it reached at the level of 55%. This numerical decline caused to the Hindu community cannot be treated as an inadvertent phenomenon. This pathetic situation is the handiwork and conscious efforts of antinational forces which operated here for the last several years. Here I am not going to use this space for the detail analysis of this ‘U’ turn in the demographic structure of Kerala. But at the same time in my mind certain doubts are arising. Recent developments prove that this numerical decline of Hindus is resulting in the defeat of the community as a whole from the social, economic, cultural, political, etc like scenarios of the land. Whether this set back is without being seen or not, remains as a question to be answered.

Hindu as a community is still technically maintaining numerical majority in the demographic charts of the census department of the land. In fact this numerical upper hand is not reflecting in its social standards. It is the reality rather than a fiction. The main reason for this set back is its inherent nature of splitting up into jatis and upajatis (casts and sub casts). The chief constituent jatis of the Hindu social fabric of Kerala mainly consist of approximately 11% of SC/ST casts, 20% Nairs and 24% Ezhavas. Even though these jatis are basically Hindus, they are lacking the sense of Hindu feeling. The particular politico-economic structure that prevails over this land forbade developing such a Hindu mindset amongst them. Before analyzing the marginalization of Hindus from the various spheres of political economy of the land we must consider all the relative questions regarding the declining Hindu population.

Those who come under the purview of SC/ST category are destined to be at the bottom of the jati hierarchy due to historical reasons are now a days slowly but surely being eliminated from the political, cultural and socio-economic scenarios of the life of Kerala. The communist movement once interlaced them, were able to wipeout their innate Hindu feeling and transplanted in its place a class feeling. No doubt to a certain extent the communists were successful in it. At the same time for decades they were able to attach this poor people as the serfs and vote banks to the party. These sections paid a good price to retain the communist party in the dental towers of political power for the last four/five decades in the state. But the party leadership and its higher political offices are still remains as ‘sour grapes’ to these poor people is still remains as a contradiction. By the way, the communist parties of Kerala were succeeded in isolating them from the age old social relations of the land but these subalterns had nothing to do with the present liberalized market economic situations. In economic scenario of Kerala these Hindu social groups are turned as big zero.

The communist parties that monopolized the leadership of the subaltern Hindu sections deliberately not attempted to make these people competent to face the challenges of the new economic order of the twenty-first century. More over the party successfully alienated these people from their noble traditions also. In the history of Malayalam literature long standing contributions were given by the subalterns. But now a day the creative genius of these sections are alienated from the main stream literary transaction through the legitimization of subaltern literature which godfathered by the communist movements all over. Here in the case of Hindu Kerala it will produce a suicidal impact over the Hindu society in general and to the subalterns in particular in the long run.

These all are about the 11% Hindus belong to the SC/ST category. The story of the 44% Hindus, inclusive of Nair and Ezhavas, quandary is not too better than that of them. Both these Hindu jatis still have sufficient potential to create an atmosphere for the Hindu unity. Unfortunately both of the jatis are too polarized. It cannot be denied that behind their polarization political reasons are too dominant. I am not ignoring the latest developments amongst the Nair, Ezhava leadership towards for a cordial coexistence. The decision of inviting Nair leadership to the 150 birth anniversary celebration of Sri Narayana Guru by Ezhava leadership is a salutiferous step towards a Hindu unity in Kerala. Kerala is known for its coalition experiments. In a state where the minority communities through their communal political parties controlling coalition politics, these polarized Hindu jatis are the major looser. In short, as compared to Christian and Muslim communities, the divided Hindu jatis are no more a pressure groups in any ruling coalitions. In general elections the Hindu jatis woos either of the two, without getting assurance of any favors.

Behind the Nair Ezhava polarization, a masqueraded minority political conspiracy is very clear. It is very clear if we analyze the events that taken place in this state since the days of Nivarthana (Abstention) agitation of 1932 to the fourteenth Lok Sabha election of 2004. At the same time the history of past assaults on the Hindu community like putting fire on the Temple of Sabari Giri, Liberation Struggle of 1958 (against first elected communist ministry), construction of church by destroying a Siva temple near the birth place of Jagath Guru Sankaracahrya’s birth place, occupation of Kottiyoor Temple land, belittling of Hindus and obstruction at the Tali Temple Renovation, construction of church at the Sabri Giri temple’s holy garden, etc are highlighting/pointing to the absence of a Hindu sense and a sense of insecurity feeling accumulated amongst the various jatis through decades.

Without mentioning something about the economic scenario of Kerala Hindu social formations our attempt to see the challenges mounting by the demographic imbalances will not be complete. NRK (non resident Keralite) remittances as well as the income from commercial crops are the main source of the income of the state. Who controls this income? The number of the NRKs during the period 1998-2002 was 3,65,293. Of which, the 82.5% are in the Gulf countries. Out of these 82.5% NRKs in the Gulf countries during the reported years, 49.5% were Muslims and 31.5% were Christians. The Hindu share in this sector is only 19% only (See Economic Times 19 May 2003). 60.5% of the total NRK remittance was the contribution of the minority communities (See K.C. Zachariah & others, Study, report in ‘The new Indian Express’, Kochi, 22 July 2003). Again the total NRK remittance is 18,465 crore rupees and it is equivalent seven times of the state government receipts as centre budgetary support or fifteen times of the earning from the cashew export or nineteen times of the states marine export. The annual average remittance per house hold is also shown wide imbalances. A Marthomma Christian share is Rs.26,098/-, a Muslim is Rs.24,000/-, a Hindu is Rs.6,134/- and a Hindu SC is Rs725/-. (K. C. Zachria & S. Irudayarajan, CDS Study, New Indian Express, Kochi, 16th July 2004). A prominent Malayalam weekly named as ‘Malayalam’ in its editorial clearly mentioned in strong terms the inherent danger in this growing imbalance of foreign remittance. (See Malayalam Varika, Editorial, Vol. VII, No. 12, 25 July 2003). The only one aspect, i.e., the imbalances in the foreign remittance is sufficient to prove the fall of the Hindu community in the near future.

The accumulated money amongst the minorities mostly invested in lands. This ultimately reduced the Hindu share on the land holding considerably. “While examining the records of the registration (land) department, it is evident that in several districts seventy percent of the lands were purchased by the above said communities” (See Malayalam Varika, op cit). In the land holding pattern also numerically ever shrinking unorganized Hindu community is marginalizing. Through the pressure tactics exerted by the minorities, they are usually compelled/forced to discard their land holdings at a throw away price. “In certain specific districts the purchase of land is the exclusive right of a particular community. The intermediary in this deal is also their religious institutions” (See Malayalam Varika, op cit). Annihilation of Hindu land ownership is started from the days of land reforms (1977). (Plantations (rubber) were exempted from the purview of land sealing because the majority plantations are owned by the minorities. At the same time coconut and paddy lands not protected under the plantation clause because the majority owners of this category was Hindus.) Now it is in the alarming condition. All this happened what other than the lack sense of Hindu feeling and numerically ever shrinking position? The rate of the last decade’s population growth of the state is 9.42%. The Hindu majority Pathanamthitta district has shown the lowest rate of growth, i.e, 3.72%. On the other hand the Muslim dominated Malappuram district has shown 17.22% growth in the said period is the highest in the state. (See Kesari Annual, 2004, pp 98-101).

If it is the state of the art of economic condition of the Hindus, it is too pathetic and disastrous that the challenges they are facing in the cultural scenario of Kerala. The cultural domain of Kerala is very fastly subjected to the Christianization as well as Islamization. Most of the visual and print media of the state is either directly under the ownership/control of the minority communities or under their influence. This state of affair is favourable to create an atmosphere in favour of the minorities in the cultural scenario. As a result in the State School Youth Festival certain items of exclusive minority art forms with little cultural value were included and non Muslim students were prohibited from the State Arabic Youth Festival, are the best examples of the threat that the Hindus are facing. Through generations Hindus are worshipping cows. The only one state in India which legitimizes the cow slaughter is Kerala. According to the official data available with the government, 500,000 cows were slaughtered in the state during 2002 and sold out 2,49,000 tones of beef. (See The New Indian Express, Kochi, 13 August 2003). In really the real statistics of cow slaughter is far away from the official accounts. It is true that a conspiracy is going on here to make younger generation of Hindus to be beef eaters. In the name friendships the minorities are compelling the Hindu boys to share beef preparations with them. All these are the indication of Hindus alienation, is not too far, from its cultural domain.

A powerful field which can control the society is education. Now the education sector in the state is under the control of minorities who are politically influential and economically sound through NRK remittance. While minorities manages 3340 schools in the state, the entire Hindu jatis altogether be in possession of 194 schools only. The Muslim and Christian communities altogether manages 223 arts and science colleges against it all Hindu jatis together manages only 42 colleges. (See Mathrubhumi Daily, 28 September 2002). Out of the 433 professional colleges only 86 are government owned, 89 are of the Hindu managed while 258 are of the minority managed. (G.K. Suresh Babu, Kesari Annual, 2004). While all minorities are permitted to do religious instructions in their respective educational institutions, this right is denied to Hindu institutions. Here Hindu students in the minority institutions are not spared and forced to study morale classes which injecting anti Hindu ideas amongst the Hindu students. This is the best known Kerala model of secularist democratic paradigm.

How it happen so? No doubt, it is because of the reason that Hindu is economically as well as politically a marginalized group in Kerala. The lessons from the history of the ancient dead civilizations which were disintegrated due to the Semitic religions invasion, the situation is not much different from the present Hindu state of affairs in Kerala. A major share of the state exchequer is spending towards the maintenance of the education of the state. If we go through the last forty-eight years history of education in the state we can see that a Hindu minister handled the portfolio of education hardly for a period of four years and three months only; the rest period this portfolio was handled by only minority communities, is the reality. The minority ministers who managed the portfolio of education helped the minority community managements in an out of way manner. Giving to minority educational institutions a hand both the right and left coalitions are no exception. Both coalitions are still following minority appeasement as their defaco policies. The result is alarming one. Out of the states 1,99,000 school teachers all class of Hindus (inclusive of SC/ST) share is 38%only; the rest is minorities. As per the 1997 statistics Kerala has 14,200 college teachers; 76% of the college teaching communities are hailing from minority communities. (G. K. Suresh Babu, op cit). All this are some sheets of the balance sheet of an unorganized demographically ever shrinking Hindu community of Kerala.

In the health care scenario also the minorities got a clear upper hand. The whole Hindu community has only ten hospitals as their own contrary to 928 for the minorities. (Matrubhumi daily, op cit). “Two three multi specialty hospitals are functioning in every town. Who is controlling this multimillion investment sector?” (Malayalam Varika, op cit).

Similarly Hindu share in the industry, agriculture and commerce is 28, 24 and 22 percents respectively. At the same time Muslim share is 30, 23, 40 percents and Christian is 35, 40, 36 respectively. (Matrubhumi daily, op cit). I think, like the Hindus of Kerala no other section in the world is marginalized like this. In several sectors Hindus are at he back but in the case of suicides they are at the front. Kerala’s suicidal rate is above the national average, i.e, 30.5 for every lakh. A recent NGO study reveals that 92% of the total suiciding population is from Hindus, 6.5% is from Christians and 1.5% is from Muslims. Insolvency is the main reason of the mass suicides of Kerala.

Kerala government’s allotment of new self financing professional colleges turned as rude shock to the marginalized Hindus of Kerala. Due to the economic backwardness of the Hindus it is difficult to compete with the minority communities for starting professional colleges. The result will be the kick out of those who are now living as socially and economically backward in the Hindu society. In medical education field alone these people (Hindus) will loose 250 seats every year. Those Hindus come under the purview reservation will loose 3800 engineering seats and 100 MBBS seats every year. After two decades in the SC/ST sections alone will have a shortage of 74,000 engineers and 2000 doctors at the present condition.

Education and economic progress are closely linked with Kerala life. Therefore any imbalance that is arising in the educational field, even though it is negligible, will be reflected hundred times in the economic scenario. In the near future because of the educational backwardness alone Hindus will be forced to leave to periphery of the society.

In the democratic process votes are decisive factors. No doubt, the numerically ever shrinking Hindus will loose relevance in the political structure of Kerala in the near future. Since independence for every decade Hindu population in Kerala is coming down at the rate of more than one percent. If this trend is continued, with in not less than three decades Hindu will lose its majority status in the state. At present technically Hindu is a majority community. But minority religious groups have a clear sway over the political, economic and educational fields of Kerala. It is no wonder the Hindus of Kerala, who are destined to be minority in the near future will be thrown out of all field of socio economic activities. This disaster of Hindu will be a great tragedy. In 1947 Muslims of India were a minority community with a24% share. But that much strength of the Muslims led to the division of India. Nagaland and Missoram turned as Christian majority centres. Soon there broke out discontent and insurgence along with divisive tendencies. To the Christian brothers Hindu became an indigestive element in the North East. If so, what will be the history of Kerala after three decades?

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