Communal harmony need of the hour in India: History conference


Saudi Gazette

— A two-day history conference, held here recently with the participation of prominent politicians, historians and academics, emphasized the need to protect India’s plurality and its unity in diversity, which has been challenged by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Sangh Parivar supporters by spreading hatred and killing opponents.

Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikkutty, a Member of the Parliament, opened the conference that was organized by Muslim Heritage Foundation at JDT Campus near Calicut. He said the Sangh Parivar-led government in New Delhi has been rewriting India’s history, distorting facts and making false claims to realize their vested interests and tighten their grip on power.

“India won freedom from the British colonialists as a result of the joint struggle of Hindus, Muslims and other communities and nobody can deny this fact. The Sangh Parivar wants to change this history through falsification to negate Muslims’ role in the freedom struggle,” Kunhalikkutty said while commending the organizers for holding this timely conference on a crucial topic.

He also denounced Narendra Modi’s recent speech at the Parliament in which he attacked the country’s first Prime Minister Nehru. “Had Sardar Vallabhai Patel become the first prime minister, Kashmir in its entirety would have been ours,” the MP quoted Modi as saying.

He said Modi and his Sangh Parivar forces have been trying to divide the country on ethnic grounds and undermine its secular and democratic principles. “Modi’s 90-minute speech in the Parliament shows he’ll go to any extent to destroy the country’s communal harmony in order to make political gains. It’s another attempt to communalize India’s history,” Kunhalikkutty added.

The conference reiterated the need to confront the politics of hatred and vengeance being practiced and promulgated by the Sangh Parivar, upholding the values of love, peaceful coexistence and justice between followers of different religious faiths in the country.

“Kerala has set an example for peaceful coexistence of different religious communities including Hindus, Muslims and Christians as well as Dalits and the Sangh Parivar have so far failed to divide the Keralites on religious grounds,” said Sheikh Mohammed Karakkunnu, chairman of the heritage foundation, while speaking to Saudi Gazette.

Prominent historian M.G.S. Narayanan, author of several books, was another keynote speaker. He emphasized the close trade relations between Kerala and Arabs and Europeans as a result of the south Indian state’s strategic location. “Kerala’s place in global trade since time immemorial helped the state promote better social coexistence between different communities,” he added.

“Social coexistence: Lessons from Kerala” was the title of the conference, which saw presentation of 50 research papers in seven sessions. Speakers highlighted the peaceful coexistence of different communities in Kerala in politics, spirituality, culture, cinema, media and other areas.

M.I. Abdul Aziz, president of Jamaat-e-Islami Kerala, inaugurated the concluding session, said the Sangh Parivar’s anti-national activities were threatening the country’s very existence. “India’s history does not back the Sangh Parivar’s ideology of violence. As a result, they are trying to rewrite the history to mislead people,” he told the gathering.

Swami Dr. Atmadas Yami, a Hindu religious leader, attended a session that focused on the role of religions and scriptures in promoting spirituality and friendship. He impressed the audience by reciting a few verses from the Holy Qur’an as well as from Bible and Hindu scriptures. He stressed the need to promote better relations between people of different faiths and cultures.

Vice President P. Mujeeburrahman, who presided over the final session, said social coexistence and justice should be the basis for proper recording and reading of history. KNA Qader, a member of the legislative assembly in Kerala, said people are afraid of democracy and elections after the forces led by BJP came to power in New Delhi after the last poll.

KEN Kunhahammed, a prominent writer and speaker, emphasized the need to stop the government’s hegemony over citizens. “We should counter the move to frighten the public by adopting an intelligent and rightful approach. We should not put our heads under the feet of others.”

E.T. Mohammed Basheer and MI Shanavas, both are members of the Parliament, highlighted the conference’s significance in light of contemporary developments. Ashraf Kizhuparamba, executive editor of Prabhodanam weekly, said the conference was successful in highlighting the close friendly relationship between the various religious communities in Kerala.