‘The true psyche of the Malayalee is revealed outside his homeland. At home, he is a creature absorbed in trivial controversies and debates. He endears controversies more than food. The expatriate Keralites show a greater degree of understanding and unity’ says E.T. Mohammed Basheer, the former educational minister of Kerala.

He was speaking at a reception organized at the Indian Association Sharjah.

Basheer, who served as educational minister in the early 90s, belongs to Indian Muslim League, the second biggest ally of the present ruling government. The educational ministry has been traditionally held by the League whenever it is a part of the government.

The minister is well known for his educational reforms that he boldly implemented during his reign. Among them, realizing the importance of Sanskrit in the Indian culture, he setup institutions to revive the age-old language of India, just as Arabic is a part of Indian culture.

Although his speech was not focused on any single issue, he underscored the secular heritage of Indian nation. As a strong believer in Gandhian principles, Basheer said that Indian secularism is not irreligiousness of the subjects, rather the state is free of any official religion. Everyone can believe in their own religions. This is opposed to the western concept of secularism.

He took pride in his nation that has the greatest degree of tolerance- accommodating the largest number of faiths. In the climatic conditions, the costumes, the languages, the color of people, the forms of art- there is no nation as diverse as India. Diversity is the envious treasure of the Indian nation alone.

He mentioned the case of temple built in one of the many islands situated towards the South of the nation where there was 100 percent Muslims. The temple is used by only by the visiting Hindu officers once in a while. Yet not a single scar has come upon it despite the hundred percent Muslim population.

On the other hand, he also cited the work of Raghvan Nair, a Hindu scholar, who translated the entire Holy Quran in poetic form. He asked the audience (mostly Muslim) ‘how many seated here can translate a chapter of the Holy Book in prose?’

However, he lamented the recent outbreak of communal violence in Gujarat. Although Indian has been hit by occasional clashes before, this is the first time such an event is happening with the support of the state. Such moves are aimed at destroying the diversity of the nation.