Friday, Jul 04, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Girish Menon
The order issued by the Census Director, Sheela Thomas, who belongs to the Kerala cadre, for a detailed study on churches and mosques merely followed the 1990 decision of the Census Department to conduct a survey of places of worship and bring out monographs on them as part of the department's inter-censal studies.
Owing to the enormity of the process, it was decided to initiate a survey of temples in Kerala in the first phase. The department has published four volumes of the monograph on the temples of Kerala, authored by S. Jayashanker, former deputy director of the Census Department. The volumes are focussed on the temples in various districts. The monographs on Kasaragod, Kannur and Wayanad have been published so far and the fourth one on Kozhikode is now in the press. The monograph also includes an introductory volume covering a whole spectrum of temple architecture, rites, observations, idols and administration.
The Census Department decided to take up the studies on churches and mosques of Kerala as part of the inter-censal studies during the 2001-2010 period. Such a study would have been relevant considering the historical fact that Christianity and Islam came to Kerala much before it arrived in other parts of the country and that many churches and mosques were centuries old, with their own hoary traditions.
The guiding factor while ordering the inter-censal studies in 1990 was to capture for posterity the cultural traditions of Kerala. But unfortunately, the good intentions of the Census Department has been misinterpreted.
Several minority religious groups have now taken up cudgels against the survey, characterising it as a dubious move of the BJP-led NDA Government. Interestingly, most of the reactions from these groups have been based on media reports, creating a fear psychosis among the members of their respective communities. One organisation even went to the extent of characterising the survey as a move to put some of its places of worship out of business. The main objections revolved around the questionnaire distributed by the village officers who have been drafted to help conduct the surveys. But most of the questions are simple and straight ones.
As for the political leadership, the reaction has followed the traditional one-up-man-ship. The Kerala Tourism-Fisheries Minister, K .V .Thomas, met the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani, in New Delhi today to register the strong reservations of the State Government. Legislators and other leaders have also not lost a chance to take political capital out of it.
A few years ago, Kerala was rocked by a similar controversy when the State Government ordered a social economic survey. Objections were raised over some of the queries in the questionnaire. The controversy forced the Government to give up a noble effort which would have gone a long way in preparing proper plans for their socio-economic development.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of