At a time when Kerala is experiencing unprecedented levels of rains and floods that has rendered lakhs of people homeless, and caused over 300 deaths, it is extremely petty to link such a natural disaster to superstitions and religious beliefs.
Some people (both high profile as well as the ordinary trolls) on Twitter recently claimed on social media, that this disaster could be due to the wrath of Hindu gods, and why? All because of petitions before the Supreme Court to allow all women entry to the Sabarimala temple; and the people of Kerala consuming beef. These ‘social media warriors’ believe that the gods are seeking revenge by making the whole of Kerala suffer.
Kerala is Fighting Floods —and Bigotry
Spewing venom and bigotry are only doing injustice to the core ethos and values of true Hinduism. Especially during a crisis of this nature, of all things, people should not be using the divisive agenda of religion, politics, caste, class and gender to make things worse.
Moreover the collective solidarity and courage shown in Kerala between the general public, state administration, central government, Indian Armed Forces, media, NGOs, civil servants, police, fireforce, doctors, nurses and so on, is unprecedented too in recent times.
Almost every machinery of the state as well as every segment of society has joined hands in mitigating this crisis.
There was one video doing the rounds on WhatsApp and social media which claimed to show Muslims and Christians praying and requesting Lord Ayyappan to forgive them, and save them from the Kerala floods. This video is most likely doctored or fake. Malignant campaigns like these are in poor taste, when many lakhs of Keralites are in genuine trouble.
Kerala Perseveres Amid Bigotry
Ours is a beautiful state with so much brotherhood, sisterhood and unity among various communities across the spectrum. In times of crisis, people of all communities in Kerala help each other without asking their religious identity or background or lineage. This is clearly getting reinforced and demonstrated at the moment, in the relief camps and through the rescue operations underway.
Hence it is most unwelcome, unwanted and unnecessary to hear people from other parts of India trying to bring in ‘menstruating women to enter Sabarimala’ discussions or the ‘beef issue’ and conflate those with the narrative of the present disaster.
Ridiculous aspersions and mad accusations by hard core right wing fanatics have more following and support on social media than you can imagine! In fact, this makes the recent book by Dr Shashi Tharoor titled Why I am a Hindu even more relevant right now.
Looks like the gaps between pristine Hinduism and extreme Hindutva is widening beyond sane limits.
(The author, Dr Aswin Sekhar, is a Malayali scientist working for the University of Oslo in Norway and is a science activist in India. This is a personal blog and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)