Kerala

Secularism under unprecedented threat: Minister

4th session of Kerala History Congress gets under way

Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel has raised caution against alleged attempts to alter the country’s history in order to further the vested interests of certain sections and foment disunity.

Inaugurating the fourth annual session of the Kerala History Congress at the Karyavattom campus of University of Kerala on Thursday, Dr. Jaleel accused Right-wing fundamentalist outfits of attempting to distort history and challenging the founding ideals of the country. Secularism, a core value of the Constitution, came under unprecedented threat in the process.

“The concept of secularism had figured in the edicts of the Emperor Ashoka, much before it became familiar to the world. However, doubts have been raised regarding the country’s fundamental ideals since the days of the Independence movement. The imperialist forces remained firm on their stance that the country with its religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity could not prosper. This reasoning behind the two-nation theory had led to the Partition of India. However, Pakistan would not have witnessed a bifurcation, which led to the formation of Bangladesh, if religion alone could hold a nation together. Now, concerted efforts are being made to project India as a Hindu nation by distorting history,” Dr. Jaleel said.

Railways criticised

The Minister was highly critical of Indian Railways’ decision to erase a mural on the Wagon Tragedy at the Tirur railway station, with scant regard for the historical account. “By bowing to the pressure of Right-wing fundamentalists, Railways have done a disservice to the country. Efforts were made to portray the tragic episode as a communal clash and not part of the freedom struggle,” he said.

Kerala History Congress president Rajan Gurukkal presided over the function. Prominent historian K.N. Panikkar (in his absence) and local historian Vellanad Ramachandran were felicitated on the occasion. Charithra Edukalile Chithalpadukal, a book authored by P. Sudarshan was released on the occasion.

Kerala University Vice Chancellor V.P. Mahadevan Pillai, Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Shaji Varkey and Head of History Department V. Sathish, State Institute of Languages director V. Karthikeyan Nair, and Kerala History Congress general secretary N. Gopakumaran Nair spoke on the occasion.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:56:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/secularism-under-unprecedented-threat-minister/article25792353.ece

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