I was born in the secular, sovereign ,republic of India. I had my education from a Catholic School where they never taught from religious texts. In fact, in my class, the vast majority of students were Hindus. We were taught the ideals of free speech, free religion and free ideas and most of us still posses these. We have never changed our worshipping habits nor have we enticed some one to change theirs. We have always believed in our Constitution. Then, why is that, when the developed nations are taking giant strides in the 21st century we are falling prey to issues that do not merit the kind ofmedia coverage they are getting.
The Kerala Seventh standard text book issue and the fall out of all the agitation- the tragic death of an innocent school teacher- is nothing but a shame on our psyche and our conscience. When there are so many developmental issues we could possibly focus on, why are we wasting our precious time on issues that are bound to put our clock centuries behind. Religion is a matter of personal choice- The Indian Constitution says that and we Indians tend to follow that. ( though in some cases, there are compulsions too). There are two types of people, those are religious and those are atheists. There are some atheists who believe that they can prove everything by science and they tend to mock worshippers. These people tend to occupy a higher moral and knowledge pedestal and criticize all religious activities. Some of them are hypocrites, whereby they secretly want their wives to go to temples and do pujas or prayers in their names and pose as atheists in the open. Now the second category of people are the hard core religious people who cannot tolerate dissent. They oppose anything and everything that supposedly pose threat to their believes.
I have personally not read the controversial contents of the seventh standard text book. But I am sure that lakhs of students /people would have already read this by now- just out of sheer curioisity. So now what does the opponents of the text book think now? Is Kerala going to be an agnostic state? If you analyze the annals of history, one would realize that the minds of students cannot be shaped by a certain chapter in some text book. It would definitely give a seed of thought to those young minds, but that is fair enough considering the fact that we are a secular nation. It would take some serious centuries old effort to change the beliefs, myths, customs and religious practices of a deeply spiritual country like India. So the critics of the CPI(M) needn't worry too much. There are management owned schools and colleges in Kerala that propagate , profess and quite enthusiastically encourage even students from other faiths to practice and convert to a different faith- that followed by the management. There are forced conversions all over India, often by enticement . Why is the UDF silent on these issues? Why can't they proactively take action against people who openly flout the soul of the consitution.
Only when the political parties move out of vote bank politics and focus on development oriented politics can we expect better days. The media has also not done justice to the nation by focussing on some trivial issues that generate unnecessary contribution. Let there be athiests and worshippers, let there be rightists and leftists, let people argue and counter argue- but please do not ever, ever take the life of an innocent parent of two childern in the name of petty politics. My heart goes out to Mr. James Augustine, headmaster of the Vallilapuzha primary school and his sorrowing family.