Word For Peace
While it is clearly evident that the Citizenship Amendment Act was brought with an aim to create division among communities, people are protesting against the discriminatory law in unique ways of communal harmony and togetherness. The Hindu marriage that took place in a mosque premises in Kerala is only the latest in the list.
When Anju and Sarath got married according to Hindu rituals at the Muslim Jamat mosque at Cheravally near Kayamkulam in Alappuzha on January 19, 2020, it was a part of history being made. Hindu priests carried out the traditional rituals on the raised platform set in the mosque compound, and the bride and groom exchanged garlands. The villagers, without considering any differences in religion, attended the wedding and enjoyed the vegetarian sadya (feast) afterward.
Anju is the eldest of the three children of Bindu, who lived in a rented house at Cheravally. After the unexpected demise of her husband Ashokan two years back, Bindu has been toiling hard to keep the two ends of life meet. Anju and her younger sister had to discontinue their formal education after plus two, though Anju did a short-term course. Their only brother was in class 10 when the father died, however, he was able to continue his studies with the help of Nujumudheen Aalummootil, who also happened to be the secretary of the Muslim Jamat mosque.
‘My son and his friend brought back to me a faith in God,’ said a happy Bindu to TwoCircles.net, while recollecting how her son and his friend had asked her to approach Nujumudheen for help in November. Nujumudheen directed them to the mosque committee, which discussed the matter and decided to help the needy family. The matter was then presented before the believers who attended the Friday sermon and was approved. With the generous support of the people and cooperation of the temple authorities, the committee moved forward and fixed the wedding date in January. The wedding was organized and celebrated as a festival of the locality. While speaking to TwoCircles.net, Nujumudheen expressed his pleasure at having been able to bring joy to the needy family, especially in these turbulent times. The Jamat also gifted the bride Rs 2 lakhs and 10 sovereigns of gold.
The historic wedding got much media attention and popularity. The Chief Minister and other ministers, as well as political leaders and people’s representatives, lauded the wedding as an example for the communal harmony of Kerala. In another incident during the time of nation-wide protests against the newly amended citizenship laws, the St Thomas Mar Thoma Church at Kozhencherry in Pathanamthitta celebrated Christmas in a unique way. The carol was performed by girls in headscarves and boys in skull caps; and was sung in the tune of Mappilappattu, the traditional Muslim songs. The girls clapped their hands as in the oppana, the traditional dance form performed by Muslim women. The Muslim attire was chosen as a symbolic protest against the Prime Minister’s controversial statement that those behind the anti-CAA violence could be identified by their dress, according to media reports.
Response to the Prime Minister’s mention of the attire of the protestors was expressed in several other quarters too. Several non-Muslims put on dresses normally worn by Muslims and expressed their solidarity to their Muslim brethren. Malayalam actor Anaswara Rajan posted her hijab-clad pictures on social media (December 17). Similarly, Indulekha Parthan, a law student in Ernakulam, participated in the students’ protest against the CAA-NRC in the city on December 18 wearing a burqa and hijab, and holding a placard that read: ‘Mr. Modi, I am Indulekha. Identify me by my dress?’ Five days later, Sreenath K attended the citizens’ Long March (from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to the Cochin Shipyard) in Ernakulam wearing a long black cotton kurta and black dhoti, with a kirpan in his pocket and a colourful skull cap, and holding a placard that said: ‘Identify me by my dress?’
A mega oppana was performed by a large number of girls and women at Nidumbram near Thalassery in Kannur, in association with the local Sree Muthappan Madappura festival there. On December 28, the Secular Youth March was organized from Muvattupuzha to Kothamangalam to protest against the discriminatory citizenship laws. The march led by leaders of the UDF reached Kothamangalam at dusk and the azan (call for prayer) for the maghrib namaz was called at the Mar Thoma Cheriyapalli (Jacobite Syrian Christian Church). Muslim Youth League leader Syed Munawarali Shihab Thangal led the prayers held in the church premises, while prayers at the time of sunset were held inside the church.
These instances of communal harmony and solidarity have indeed showed hope and reassurance in the minds of people.