The impact of demographic change is always felt over a period of time, typically decades and centuries. Who could have predicted that the Islamic onslaught in Kashmir in 13th and subsequent centuries would de-Hinduize it to such an extent that there would practically be no Hindus left in the valley by the 21st century. Or for that matter, who could have thought that Kabul and Gandhar that fell to Islamic conquests in the 10th & 11th centuries would forever be culturally severed from Indosphere. North East India followed mostly tribal and indigenous religions till as late as 1950s, one glance at it now and one would assume that it has forever been Christian.
Unfortunately, India as a nation has chosen not to take any lessons from history. The de-Hinduization (Hindus being a loose appelation for all Indic religions and cultures) of Bharatvarsha that began with Islamic conquests continues unabated till date. The modern and secular republic of India perhaps has fared the most poorly in being able to protect Indic religions and cultures in all of India’s history. That it was born from the dastardly partition of the sub continent along religious lines should have made the Republic more circumspect and careful to learn from historical mistakes but westernized value systems and the need to appear political correct has meant that modern India is merely repeating the mistakes which led to the trifurcp,ation of Bharatvarsha in recent times.
In 1921, with the British crackdown on the Khilafat movement, the Muslims of Malabar region rose up in arms. This was understandable as the Muslim world in general was going through a challenging time with the defeat of the Ottoman Caliph.
But the Muslims, known as Moplahs vented their anger against their Hindu compatriots. Hindus were forcibly converted, Hindu women were raped and those Hindus who wouldn’t convert were driven off. Annie Besant estimated that as many as 100000 Hindus were driven away from their homes. This was not the first time that Hindus had drawn Moplahs’ ire.
During Tipu Sultan’s invasion of Malabar, Moplahs had been willing participants in massacres and conversions of Hindus and forcibly occupying their lands. In spite of this brutal piece of history, Moplah rebellion of 1921 is cited as an expression of India’s freedom struggle. In 1971, the Communist government of Kerala recognized the rioters and arsonists of Moplah rebellion as freedom fighters. The Communists, interestingly allied themselves with Muslim League and worked with them to create a Muslim majority Malappuram district.
As per available data, nearly 69% of Kerala population followed Indic religions, predominantly Hinduism in 1901.
By 1951, their numbers had dwindled to 61%. 18% of Kerala was Muslim and 20% followed Christianity. By 2011, Hindus made up only 55% of Kerala’s population. The proportion of Muslims has risen to 27%, while Christians hovers around the 18% mark. Data, however gets interesting from this point onwards. Of all live births in 2015, 43% belonged to Hindus, 15% to Christians while a whopping 41% of the births in the state belonged to Muslims. Between 2001-2011, Hindu population of the state grew by 2.23%, the Christian population grew by 1.38%, while the Muslim population exploded by 13% approx. In the 0-6 year age group, Kerala counted 36.74% of the children as Muslim in the 2011 census. If data is anything to go by, Hindu population of Kerala is expected to plummet further in the coming decades, while Muslim population will continue to soar.
The blatant appeasement of extremist Muslims in Kerala by successive state governments has meant that Kerala’s Muslims who used to be almost indistinguishable from their Hindu and Christian neighbours only decades ago have now begun to appear as a distinctive group. Burqa, never a part of Kerala’s traditional attire now is a common sight. ISIS has gained a fan following in the coastal state even as the state government turns a blind eye to the menace. Cases of people from Kerala fleeing to Syria and Afghanistan to join ISIS and Al Qaeda has now become familiar news. Disturbingly, there are also recurrent news reports of Hindu women being converted and married to Jihadis much to the shock and disbelief of their parents. Not so long ago, there were reports that a professor had his hands hacked off by Islamists who alleged that he had blasphemed. And as recently as today, news reports emerged that a Kerala author has been asked to convert to Islam within 6 months failing which he would have his hands and feet hacked off.
Demographic change combined with government apathy to accept and ameliorate the situation and worse still hobnobbing with Jihadi elements means that Kerala stares at disturbing times ahead. It is a matter of concern for the entire nation that a state once known for its rich and illustrious past, fondly known as Gods’ own country is hurtling down a demographic precipice from which recovery seems impossible.