(CHAKRA) The enticing advertisements by the Department of Tourism by the administration of the Indian state of Kerala entice visitors with seductive images of natural beauty in the tropics, capping it all with the slogan “God’s Own Country”. However it is becoming increasingly apparent that this begs the question, exactly whose ‘god’ does this refer to? Which kind of ‘god’ now dominates this south Indian state?
Kerala has a rich history as one of the most diverse parts of India . It is a major tourist destination where people go for the relaxing tropical climate and lush scenery. This timeless image belies the fact that it was in this part of India that major strides were made in scientific knowledge. In the fifteenth century Indian mathematicians in this part of the subcontinent were responsible for landmark theorems in developing series expansions for trigonometry. This remarkable work was completed a full two centuries before the invention of calculus in Europe and is now considered to be the first example of what in maths is known as power series.
Hailed as a haven of tolerance it was here that the ancient community variously known as Nasrani, Saint Thomas Christians, but mostly as Syrian Christians thrived long after its mother church was suppressed in its once thriving heartland of Syria and Iran . Before being offered free passage to Israel in the 1950s, there was also a thriving Jewish community. Accorded rights and privileges, Jews dominated not only trade but were also heavily present in the military. India has the little known distinction of being the only country where Jews flourished free from anti-Semitism and it was in Kerala which can specifically boast of a king of Cochin who in 1550 went further than any other sovereign ruling a Jewish minority. Nathan Katz in his book ‘The Jews of India’:
By Ranbir Singh HHR