Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday that the powerful stream of humanism that animated the teachings of 19th-century social reformer Sree Narayana Guru was a panacea for the world torn by communal and racial strife.
Inaugurating the Renaissance leader’s birth anniversary celebrations by videoconference from Kannur, Mr. Vijayan took the opportunity to condemn the rise of religious fundamentalism in Afghanistan.
He said Afghanistan was an example of what would happen to a nation consumed by religious fundamentalism. “Fundamentalism is a destructive fire that destroys civilizations and nations,” he said.
Only humanism could extinguish such destructive conflagrations. The Guru’s teachings rooted in compassion, universal peace, human rights and tolerance have provided answers to the woes of the world.
Mr. Vijayan recalled the plight of the oppressed people of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He said communal hatred often appears in India.
“There has never been a time in history when religious fundamentalism has limited the rights of human beings on such a global scale,” he said.
The Guru had emphasized the essential unity of humans regardless of race, culture, caste, creed, religion, gender or skin color. “One caste, one religion, one God for humans” was Sree Narayana Guru’s belief system.
The LDF government had honored the reformer’s credo with progressive action. He had defeated the powerful caste forces in the feudal society of Kerala in the 19th century by spreading reason, education, enlightenment and pacifist thought.
Mr. Vijayan said the reformer recognized caste as a convenient instrument for social and financial oppression. He fought it with an emphasis on Renaissance values. He gathered a social conscience against child marriage, polygamy, animal sacrifice and other social evils of his time.
Mr. Vijayan said the Guru was above castes and religion. His teachings were universal in nature. They have had a beneficial effect on all strata of society. Mr Vijayan said it was historically inaccurate to portray the reformer as the leader of a particular caste. The seer had used religious thought as a tool to emancipate the masses.