I had never heard of Kerala and its people before I went to Doha, Qatar three decades ago. Once, it was my second home for a decade. Every day, right before my very eyes, I saw so many erudite Malayali people.
They were employed in every stratum of society all across the Arabian Peninsula. My boss at a company was from the Indian state of Kerala. I learned so many things from him. He was my mentor and I learned some Malayalam from him.
Kerala is one of the states, which receives the highest rainfall in India. So, monsoon rains make the grounds of Kerala lush with coconut and other trees and make green paddy fields. But this year's excessive torrential rains triggered a massive flooding and suffering to the people.
The recent flooding in Kerala state put both Hindu and Muslim communities in the same line of humanity when they embraced each other forgetting their religious differences. This state did not witness such a devastating flooding for centuries, which claimed 500 lives and rendered over a million people homeless.
There is so much hatred between Hindus and Muslim all across the South Asian countries. Hindu-Muslim relations have always been at a nadir in India as well.
At this juncture, the Keralite Hindus and Muslims set several examples of communal harmonies, when sometimes; they find it hard to get along with each other. The other parts of South Asia need to follow the example of Kerala to make their own regions peaceful and harmonious for their people.
A mosque in Malappuram, which was one of the hardest hit districts by the deadly flooding, sheltered to 17 Hindu families including members of different ages. They were provided with food and places to sleep in the mosque. They were given some basic necessities of life while leaving the mosque.
On the other hand, on the day of Eid al Adha, in the Thrissur district of the state, Muslims performed their prayers in the Rathneswari Temple. The temple management vacated a room of the temple for the Muslims to say their prayers. Once the prayer was over, the management provided Muslims with food and other necessities of life.
The deluge shattered all the religious hurdles that stopped Hindus and Muslims from mingling with each other. Muslim organizations, youths, and Muslim clergy-men helped cleaning up so many Hindu temples in the affected areas. So an immediate rapport developed between the two religious groups with the Muslims' cleaning up of the temples.
Despite having its own share of communal disharmony, almost every year this state ranks top among the Indian states in health, education, infrastructures. The foreign tourists, as well as the tourists within the country, come to visit the state's tea garden, wildlife sanctuary, the Mermaid Statue, and many more.
This state is the 4th largest in the country in terms of Muslim population, which they call it their home.Interfaith and inter-caste marriages are good for a society like India, where these marriages are still a big issue.
It is obvious that like many other ethnic races in India, the Malayalees are also an insular race. But education and enlightenment have been going hand in hand in this state. With its top literacy rate, these kinds of marriages are gaining popularity. So, racial harmony among the Malayalees is more than the other ethnic people in India.
The writer, a Bangladeshi freethinker, is based in Toronto, Canada
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