Historian K.N. Panikkar has said there has been no serious thinking at the intellectual and political levels on the reversal of the secular traditions of the State over the past few years.
Inaugurating a ‘Cultural gathering against religious extremism' organised by the Purogamana Kalasahithya Sangham here on Thursday, Dr. Panikkar said the society here was characterised by blind religious faith that was likely to trigger hostility among religions. The Kerala society had undergone reversals in social and communal relations, especially in the past four or five years, he added.
Terming the communal situation in the State today as alarming, he said the people of Kerala was the most communalised in the country. He said religion was confined to families and places of worship in the State 25 years back. Religion today was mainly working in public spheres. Today there was hardly a moment when religion did not address the people or vice-versa. As more and more people became adherents of religions, changes were happening in people's consciousness, he said. Religion was playing a major role in deciding people's identities, which, in turn, would lead to fundamentalism and extremism, he said.
Dr. Panikkar said that while humanism was the basis of all religions, superstitions were a negation of humanism. Calling for a ban on schools and political parties named after religions and communities, he said the partition that had been in the minds of the people in the State had been clearer now.
While irrational allegiance to the ideas of one's religion without applying logic was a cause of religious fundamentalism, religious extremism also emerged as a weapon against the imperialist interventions in the Muslim world, he said.
He also said forces that worked to bring religion out to the street were religious heads and commercial interests. Religious extremism was the outcome of the commodification of religions, he observed.
K.C. Harikrishnan presided. Cultural activists A.K. Nambiar, K. Panur, K.P.A. Rahim, V.K. Joseph and Ponnyan Chandran were among those who spoke at the gathering. The participants also took an oath against religious extremism.