Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Kerala Minorities and their 'Minority Status'

(Religion as an opinion or an intellectual vision as we knew it is changing, taking new forms of power, politics and material. We are upset about changes. But do we fear that breaking our silence on changes will dent on our decency and good nature. For those who think that a discussion on change is eminent to forge a healthy religious unity among the Kerala people, here is an opportunity)

The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) on Wednesday granted minority status to five educational institutions under the Pushpagiri Medical Society; ending an eight-year-old wait that began in February 1999. With this, the number of professional colleges having minority status in Kerala has gone up to 11. reference

Currently the number of minority institutions that got ‘minority status’ stands at 27 and the upward trend continues.

The Commission’s verdict, apparently kept under wraps by Kerala’s Media from reaching its majority, is riddled with controversy, lack of common sense and is another example for India’s judicial bungling.

That an Indian constitutional clause (article 30) intended to guarantee a minority, rights to run own educational institutions to attain equal development with the majority is used to enhance the minority’s domination over the majority, is the controversy.

The verdict is a cover for the rich owners of Kerals’s Professional Colleges to renege on their social responsibility. For the socially and economically backward, still reeling under India’s old apartheid and the poor it deflects professional education into an unreachable trajectory.

No doubt, it hacks through the socialist model of development that Kerala has been envisaging for decades. I wonder how many current flag bearers of the ‘minority status’ would have been there if Kerala had not embarked on that model.

Currently the two minorities in Kerala, the Christians and the Muslims, are far more advanced than the rest of its population.

One cannot forget how these minorities have turned Kerala’s old apartheid situations to their favour: a Kerala that reeled under the lordship of a lazy, unskilled feudal land-lords, and an equally inefficient royal princes.

Colonialism with its missionary outfit and the oil in Arabian lands rushed more opportunities into the minorities’ hands.

When feudalism crumbled, its bankrupt managers had no choice but to pawn away Kerala’s land properties to the rich minorities.

In the rush of the foreign money even when the minority wholesaled the landed property of Kerala, the poor patiently retreated to the outskirts blaming their own destiny, appreciating and respecting the achievement of the minorities.

They never interfered with the minority’s rights to language and religion and never discriminated against them.

Yet, why are my minority friends cutting out a sorry state of them invoking article 30? To gain development at par with the majority, or to renege on their social responsibility towards the disadvantaged and the poor

Who is a Kerala Minority?

Amidst all these perhaps the most interesting questions are (i) Who is a Minority in Kerala (ii) In the context of Article 30 of the I.C, are the rights for minority educational institutions the same as ‘minority status’?

Even the UN that stands to protect the rights of the minorities the world over does not give a definition on, ‘Who is a Minority?’

In some context, minority is taken to be people that are undergoing serious discrimination and ill treatment from the rest of the population, which has never been the case in India.

Likewise, the Indian constitution never defined who is a minority in its national or state contexts. The following article highlights that even article 30 of the Indian constitution are silent on “Who is a minority?” reference

John Dayal, President of All India Catholic Union Secretary general, All India Christian Council defines in his article, “The Indian Government, the Supreme Court and the Religious Minorities of India”, that article 30 as one that gives “ Minorities, both religious and linguistic, the right to administer their own institutions as the means to preserving, encouraging and propagating that distinctive culture which makes them what they are, members of India’s rich tapestry of a plural culture”. reference

Do Christians in Kerala have a ‘distinctive culture’ different from that of the rest? If so, is it European, Roman or American? The same question applies to the Muslims?

According to a 2004 statistics in Kerala, there were 258 professional colleges run by minorities against 89 Hindu-owned. Were they for ‘preserving, encouraging and propagating minorities’ distinctive cultures? (Somebody please help me)

In the same article Dayal talks about Soli Sorabjee, India’s esteemed former Attorney General that he recently presented before the Supreme Court of India that “the right of the minority communities to establish and administer an educational institution was absolute and this right should not be "tinkered" with.”

But see what is reported as written by the very honourable attorney general under “What is a minority?” on April 11, 2007.

In the Kerala context, he observes that “In its advisory opinion in 1958 on the Kerala Education Bill, the Court opined that as the legislation in question applied to the whole of the State of Kerala, the existence of a minority “must be determined by reference to the entire population of that State” and that by “this test, Christians, Muslims and Anglo-Indians will certainly be minorities in the State of Kerala” ”(this opinion was based on numbers).

In the next page he expresses his own view that the practice of deciding a minority based on mere numbers is ‘not conclusive’. Instead he says, “ The criterion should be empowerment. The relevant questions to ask are, what is the strength of the community in decision-making, formulating policies and their execution” reference

Based on these criterions, who is a minority in Kerela?

If anybody is having any doubt read the following article. reference

A little bit of history

The current ‘minority status’ has a history starting with the Self Financing Institutions established in Kerala in 2000 during the time of A.K. Antony (UDF) as the Chief minister. Initiated apparently to attract rich learners who threw huge capitation fees in colleges outside the state, it evolved into a private-public partnership in higher education with the slogan ‘one aided college equals two government colleges’ that contained a reservation programme for the backward (socially, economically and physically).

That the disadvantaged Hindu communities and the poor were unable to take advantage of this government partnership offer is a crucial point here.

Instead, the economically, politically and educationally dominant minorities lapped it up.

This resulted in an enormous rise in the number of seats created in the private colleges. According to the Education Minister E.T. Mohamed (2005), the number of seats in engineering, medical, agriculture and B.Pharm courses rose to 29,511 in 2005-06 from 9,369 in 2000-2001. During the same period, the number of candidates admitted under the reservation quota for Scheduled castes, Tribes and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes also shot up to 7,004 from 2,666. reference

However the management of the unaided institutions was never in favour of a reservation intended to help the poor.

Without mentioning a few ‘important’ Supreme Court verdicts made in the case of unaided institutions in the era of the Capital, the story of Self-Financing Institutions will not be complete.

The first was the Unnikrishnan case (1993), in the verdict of which Justice Jeevan Reddy evolved a scheme to help the poor, which was apparently the base for Antony’s education plan.

The second was Justice B.N. Kirpal’s majority judgement in the 11-judge TMA Pai case (2002). In the zeal to remedy the pitfalls in the Unnikrishan case, TMA Pai ruling went in favour of the managements. It gave autonomy to un-aided institutions in certain aspects and State control in other aspects which created more confusion than clearing some. It let the aided colleges to interpret autonomy as it pleased to charge tuitions fee and capitation collection at their whims and fancy.

It also made some slip-ups here and there which prescribed reservation ‘locally’.

After the TMA Pai case verdict, the fees both in the aided and government colleges soared beyond the reach of ordinary people about which the Supreme Court could do nothing. reference
Then there came a Supreme Court Verdict in 2005, which abolished the government quotas in unaided professional colleges in the case of Kerala.

The Kerala Professional College Bill passed in the legislative Assembly (2006) was apparently the state’s way of dealing with the issue that too is nullified by the Supreme Court.

As MA.Baby, the current minister of Education (LDF) explains the Bill was dealing with Minority Educational Institution and not about Minority Status. And according to him hardly any of the Kerala minority institutions had opted for minority status because they never fulfilled the conditions it entailed. That means minority institutions and ‘minority status’ are two different things. reference

Amidst all these constitutional and legal confusions, then all of a sudden we see the tinkering up of the Commission for Minority Educational Institution with extra judicial powers and the appointment of three members from the minority communities as its commissioners and it conferring ‘minority status’ on Kerala’s minority institutions.

This legally redeems them from the social responsibility of reservation.

Some Suggestions as Way forward

(1) The government of Kerala instead of wasting time on discussing the matter with private management who had already lost their credential on trustworthiness should embark on making new laws to assist the disadvantaged and the poor

(2) In case it fails, it should withdraw with immediate effect, the aid it provides to the minority educational institutions and assists the disadvantaged communities and the poor to establish their own institutions until a proportional balance is reached in development between them and the so-called minorities.

(3) This issue having the self-financing managements and its supporters on one side and the government, the disadvantaged, the poor and their supporters on the other, many think, has the potential to divide the Kerala people along religious-social and personal lines. What can be done to avert this impending crisis seems to me an important question.



  1. The comment i have noted. There are around 49 engg college owned by the governement, lbs and ihrd and cape. There atere are a large no. of seats.
    An SC St candidate who passed will get an admission there. That is also the case with backward cates such as ezhava, obc's . ten years ago, if a christian or nair wanted to study mbbs in kerala, he must be under the rank med entrance rank 450. But an Sc St student who is having rank 23000 had got admission for mbbs.
    these christian, nair students had to go to other states paying 20 lakhs as donations.
    in order to solve this, the christian church has started many institutions withj great pains.
    From the beginning itself, there were a lot of disturbances from the marxist party.
    these engg colleges are started by taking huge amounts of loans from the banks. if you visit a catholic shurch engg college you will see the facilities there.
    these persons sfi, dyfi are always pointing towards the christians and christian institutions.
    but you take the cae of matha amrithananda mayi. that lady is getting around 3000 crores of rupees from europe and america in an year. She hass started a medical college. on the next day it became a deemed university. there they if we need a medical seat, we need to pay 40 lakhs. these marxists, sfi, dyfi have nothing to talk about it.
    since it is a majority college.
    the christians in kerala have developed much only because they we are believing jesus christ as our savior and god. We are hard working. We are not conducting adultery and homosexuality. but you take the case of nairs, muslims and other lower caster in kerala. they all are practicing these these things from the ancient times onwards. as a result there is no progress is there for them.

    other major humiliations suffred by christian community are

    in the divine retreat center potta at chalakkudy, the raid was conducted by the police with the support of marxist party. if it ahppens in amritananda mayi's center then kerala will be burnt and akg cenetr will get collapsed.

    from the time of independence we know that there were a large no of abled ias officers from christian community. But a christian ias officer was selected as chief secretary only in 2003 during antony reign. you see the humiliation faced by christians.

    from independence onwards christians are facing a lot of insults.

    another thing on the news paper deepika. it was the sound of christians in kerala. now that news paper is in the hands of the criminal cpm state secretary pinarayi vijayan. he is a threat to the minorities in keral. He has got 200 crores as bribe in the lavlin case. why the govt is not arresting him. Why cpm is not removing him from the post of secretary. if it was christian, he would have been in jail.

    so if you want to develop annd progress there is only one way. Beleieve that god has come to this world as jesus christ and he is our savour and abstain from adultery , homosexuality.h

    1. Hw can u say an ezhava can get into mbbs course with low rank...I have got 1600 in eng entrance,even then I couldn't get into cet...ezhava and muslim last ranks are close to gen cat..maybe latin christians can get with low don't disguise itself as christian...ure a bloody hindu..I know for sure...

  2. Dear Sajeev

    First, let your Jesus himself arrange for your salvation. But remember he could not help himself. But if you are mentioning the usual sluggish christian crap that Jesus died for humanity, it is for the kunjaadukal like you who belives in it, not for me.

    However, I say this in passing cause, my blog is not on Christianity but the unfairness in the Cristian aramana and its mamngers who are so keen on running education in Kerala as a business.

    The uncouth Chrisitan church managers pretending to be humanist and jesus lovers have violated first of all its own commitment to the govenment. Then they influenced the judicial system, a major part of which is apparently currupt.

    The Indian majority needs help for highter education. If you do not like it you can jump into the sea and get lost.

    How dare you could say that 'christians in kerala have developed much only because they we are believing jesus christ as our savior and god. We are hard working. We are not conducting adultery and homosexuality'.

    Look into the world, if Christians were not in this world how peaceful the world could have been. A wrold that was devoid of the devastating world wars, colonilaism, illeggal occupations, now the barabric Iraq war, my God I loose count of them.

    if you are in a dream world come down to the real world.

    My cause is the poor and the backward. You can do nothing to make me belive in your crapy religious witchcraft.

    however, thanks for letting me know your mind.

  3. Minority people in kerala are under threat. This is mainly due to the misunderstanding of us by our brothers(hindus). They are reading(mathrubhumi) and listening(asianet) to majorities only not minorities(Deepika & Jeevan).

  4. dear J mathew,

    I did not get exactly what you are saying. Anyway so what news paper are you reading in Kerala.

    So are you saying that if one reads news papers other than those mentioned in your comment, he or she will get the idea that the minorities in Kerala are under threat. Oh what are those news papers?

  5. To the blog owner. this comment does not find a place here but such things have to be dealt with then and there itself.
    @ sajeev
    Brother i am a practicing Syrian Catholic and a Christian. But after reading the later parts of your comment i feel ashamed to know that there exists people like you in my community. Your comment is full of crap that i dont know from where to start countering you. I dont know what you are but from your comment i can make out that you are definitely not a catholic you are either an RSS in disguise or a third rate pentacostal rat.

    You dumb head we are surviving here just because this is a hindu majority state. if it were a muslim majority both of us would have been looking for the north and pointing our a$$es to the skies and chanting allah ho akbar.The reason why We can build churches,run institutions,pray and protestant rats can go out in public places and scream out without being arrested or harassed is because this country is hindu majority. Because you have taken it so much for granted you hardly open your eyes to see what has been given to you. I wish you were born as a christian in Pakistan then you would have glorified the tolerance of hindus of this country.
    The boot licker Samuel (YSR) reddy is AP's CM just bcoz he is a xtian.
    How many christian CMs did kerala have ? we lost deepika bcoz the bishop arackal was dumb and did not see the other side of Pharis.Divine center was raided bcoz there were illegal activities happening there.
    so u stupid jacka$$ open your eyes.
    Indian Christianity can do away with pathetic contemptible rats like you. I wish you death and nothing less. May you rot in hell for promoting enemity between two peace loving religions.

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