Bigotry, fanaticism and religious intolerance were foreign to Indian ethos. The virus of divisiveness and the persecution of people on the basis of faith were introduced by foreign invaders
A friend of mine sent me a clipping from Kerala's leading newspaper, Malayala Manorama, dated January 10. The accompanying translation gave me access to an inspiring example of communal harmony in Kerala. It said that traditional ceremonies of welcoming Hindu pilgrims, who are on their way to the forested hill temple at Sabarimala in January every year, has a sub-event, wherein the pilgrims are also greeted by the entire jamaat at a mosque in the junction town of Erumely. From Erumely, the faithful begin their foot trek through the forest to the temple.
The mosque authorities arrange the ceremony and the public takes part in it. Also, before the ceremony begins, a jewel-bearing pot, made of aromatic wood, is taken on a caparisoned elephant, from the mosque to a local temple nearby and brought back to the mosque for safe custody. The entire event is conducted by the local jamaat.
The following day, there is yet another inter-communal event when two Hindu groups from the temple town of Ambalappuzha add spice to the pilgrimage engaging in some friendly competition, known as Petta Thullal. This is a ritualistic sacred dance to celebrate the victory of good over evil and people from all communities participate as part of the pilgrimage dispensation.