Kozhikode: Amid the ongoing controversies associated with the ‘narcotic-jihad’ remark by Pala Bishop and the political chaos following it, a professor, who had to bear the brunt of religious extremism in Kerala, painfully watches the developments requesting to stop using religion for selfish gains.
The life of TJ Joseph, a former Malayalam professor at Newmans College in Thodupuzha, turned upside down after a question he framed for an exam irked religious fundamentalists. On July 4, 2010, his right hand was severed at the palm by fanatics; eventually, he lost his job, his wife killed herself and his family faced ostracisation.
With left hand, he penned all the miseries in a 300-page autobiography, titled ‘Attupokatha Ormakal’, in January, 2020. The book has now been translated by K Nandakumar into English and is slated to be relased on Monday ( 20 09 21).
“The so-called religious leaders in Christianity and Islam, cannot exist without followers. The extreme faith among the followers helps create an environment favorable to be exploited. Religion provides the leaders money and power and whatsoever they want. They somehow have to sustain it, by keeping the followers even more closer and by attracting many more to the religion. By releasing such statements, these leaders succeed in hurting religious sentiments so as to keep people segregated religiously,” said Joseph.
In fact, they are equipping followers to fight with other religions and it is a deliberate move to keep them as religious slaves. “I see all these current developments in this perspective. This is absolutely inhuman in nature and cultureless too.”
He also said that Semitic religions like Christianity and Islam cannot accept other faiths and the term religious harmony is far away from the principles of these religions.
“In India, these religions stay relatively calm owing to the secular principles of the nation. Religious harmony is still a distant dream in India as these religions do not allow other faiths to flourish.”
“I am a victim of religious extremism and the fundamentalists who assaulted me have no regrets. They believe that by attacking me they have ensured a place in heaven. If a religion teaches its followers to hurt others, how secularism will prevail.
All religious books need timely reforms to weed out such ill practices. “Do not teach the younger generation the message of hatred. Let them grow up without fear and malice. Religion should not intervene in social life,” concluded Joseph.