MALAPPURAM: If anyone requires proof for the state’s secular credo, the Pulamanthol Juma Masjid, near Perinthalmanna in Malappuram, is the place to go. The masjid is dedicated to India’s first communist chief minister E M Sreedharan Namboothiripad for repealing a British law that had come into force after the 1921 Malabar rebellion.
The confidence in this tradition is reflected in the words of Imam of the Masjid, Abdul Majeed Darimi, who makes light of the ‘threat’ of Narendra Modi. Whoever the people choose must be the right one, and nobody “needs to feel intimidated over the results of the polls,” he says.
“There is no need to fear any political party as we have an unflinching belief in our country’s democratic system,” he said, adding that the masjid and its caretakers have peaceful relations with all political parties including the BJP. The foundation stone of the masjid, which now functions under the Samastha faction of Sunnis, was laid by Namboothiripad, who revoked the stringent rule regulating the construction of mosques in Malabar in 1957. The year was a watershed moment in the history of communist movement in Kerala as well.
After the 1921 Malabar rebellion, the British had made governmental sanction mandatory for the construction of mosques in Malabar to control the Khilafat movement.
Immediately after the communist government came to power in 1957, a group of Muslim leaders from Malabar, including Bapputty Master, Malavattath Muhammed Haji, U C Kalanthar and Kanjiramutath Haji, met chief minister Namboothiripad with the request to grant permission for the construction of a mosque in Pulamanthol town. The government then decided to repeal the condition on constructing mosques.
When the caretakers of the masjid was asked the oft repeated question of whether there was a Modi fear among Muslims in the region, the reply was a categorical ‘no’. “We do not live in fear of exile or exodus because any power at the Centre will and ought to be secular. The BJP has come to power before under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the polarization of minorities under any government in power is a figment of imagination,” said Muhammed Ali, president of the masjid.
Talking to TOI, Muhammed Ali, a descendant of the founder member of the mosque, also refuted the fear factor among Muslims if the BJP came to power with Modi as prime minister.