Of Fanaticism and Cowardice

I didn’t want to write about this. I kept hoping, what with the somewhat positive noises being made, that the sensible thing would be done, and that this lecturer from Kerala whose hand was chopped off by medieval-minded stupid religious nuts from the Popular Front of India (PFI) for setting a question paper wouldn’t have to go through with worse.

Just in case you’ve been asleep for the last three months or so, here’s some background: There was some Malayalam Language question paper that required students to mark up a dialogue with punctuation. Here’s an image of the question paper (I found it here). If you know Malayalam, you can verify for yourself that the following report (from The Hindu) is accurate:

In the question paper, he had used a passage about an imaginary dialogue between God and Muhammad, and the students were asked to comment. Certain Muslim organisations, assuming that ‘Muhammad’ in the passage was Prophet Muhammad, took offence and staged protest rallies and clamoured for action against the professor. Stones were thrown at the college run by the Christian church.

I’ve made what I think of hypersensitive religious wackaloons quite clear. This teacher, who was not only harassed but also arrested for this ‘insult to Muslims’, and was attacked by fanatic thugs who chopped off his hand, has to now face all this without the support of his employer – he’s been suspended from his position at the college. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the church that runs the college is publicly supporting the ouster of the lecturer from his position. A pastoral letter has been read out at 120 Sunday mass gatherings of the parishes of the church, the report says.

The Bishop of the church has very helpfully said that the lecturer is free to approach a court and that the church will abide by the court’s decision. If that sounds odd to you, this might help: the church came under attack for religious divisiveness, and had to do something to safeguard their image. They decided to let this man take the hit, if that meant the church would get away without much damage. They have nothing against this man personally, or what he did, of course, so they’ll take him back if they are ‘ordered to’ do so by a court.

So in addition to being god-wallopers, the church are also deserters and cowards. Why am I not surprised?


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