Pradeep Panangad, Paul Zacharia and T. K. Rajeev Kumar at MBIFL 2020
Thiruvananthapuram: Noted writer Paul Zacharia said that communalism is the biggest challenge that Kerala has to survive.
He was discussing the topic ‘Athijeevana Malayali’ (The surviving Keralite) with film director T. K. Rajeev Kumar and critic Pradeep Panangad at Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) 2020.
Pradeep Panangad acted as the moderator and the discussion focused on the life of survival of Keralites.
Zacharia opined that the unity between Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities were the cornerstone of so many good things that happend in the state. However, that unity is under threat now and losing it would mean the end of Kerala.
Zacharia criticised that the media injected communalism into the minds and brains of Keralites little by little. Most Keralites trust the media blindly and it helped make communalism acceptable. Such a communal divide will have a drastic impact on the economy, he added.
Rajeev Kumar said that communal preferences were prevalent while casting for a movie during the 80s but the situation has drastically changed. Nowadays new movies and young directors don’t consider religion or caste during any stage of producing a movie.
They give importance to democratic values, secularism and gender neutrality. One’s religion or gender does not matter, Rajesh Kumar added.
Zacharia agreed and added that new age movies have inspired writers to rethink the way they consider values of democracy, secularism and the relationship between men and women.
The writer added that political parties, apathy of regimes, corrupt executives, politicised police, media and blind faith were the other matters Kerala needs to survive or is surviving.
Rajesh Kumar criticised that Keralites were surrendering to new technology without thinking twice. That reflects on every aspect of society.
Responding to questions from the audience, Zacharia said that changing the educational system was the way to move forward. He added that communalism and idol worshipping of leaders had creeped into student politics that the purpose of student politics has been defeated.
Rajesh Kumar shared his fear that soon there will be so much censoring on movies that film makers will be asked to submit scripts of upcoming movies well in advance.