Column: Indian archaeologist K.K. Mohammed presents facts and makes one see all of us as one group – Mankind.
By Srinivasa K. Rao
Technology is helping the world to come together. A person in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, can talk to a person in Norilsk, Russia, known as the world’s northernmost city, even though the two cities are separated by thousands of miles. But it is very difficult to have a word among religiously divided neighbors. Selfish politicians and dogmatic religious heads exploit this weakness in the people and divide the society further for their benefits.
There are some 20 religions in the world. Christianity with 2.1 Billion followers and Islam with 1.3 Billion followers occupy the top two positions by numbers. In the past, for several centuries they aggressively pursued the expansion. In recent times, Islam has been more successful in expanding its population rapidly. Indeed, Muslims in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
Religion is supposed to give mental peace, social virtues, social solidarity, socialization and social control, promotes welfare, recreation, strengthens self-confidence. Religion is doing this to varying degrees even in the present-day society. Billions get the benefits of this function of religion.
However, some, a few thousands out billions, exploit religions to achieve their personal goals. These bad eggs’ smell is spreading and covering all. We are not capable of distinguishing the bad eggs form others.
By false propaganda, misleading myths, misuse of minority status in many countries, and, above all, abuse of Quranic tenets that bind Muslims together, the society is divided vertically in every way possible and everywhere possible.
This is spreading like infection and other religious groups are also acquiring the same negative characters and reacting in the same way. This chain reaction is threatening to destroy the society. Unless this is stopped at the individual level there is no way the laws or police can stop this hatred.
We are living in a world where opinions are becoming more powerful than facts. “Our research shows that facts do matter and that they do have persuasive power — but only if they are well framed,” says Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO of the Frameworks Institute in Washington DC.
Therefore, truth is more important than ever.
This exactly what archaeologist K.K. Mohammed did in presenting facts about Muslim and Hindu monuments in India. He worked all his life in finding the facts about the monuments as the science reveals. He worked tirelessly to identify, restore and help the country save the heritage that may belong to Hindus, Christian, Muslims or Buddhists.
Mohammed, a former regional director at the Archaeological Survey of India, did this with a great courage and conviction. It is not an easy path on which he travelled all his life. He is not an ordinary archealogist. He impressed the world leaders such as former US President Barack Obama, with his guided tours and passion for mankind.
The facts Mohammed and his teams in many locations in India unearthed were buried in books again. But he recorded all the facts in a book — Njan Enna Bharatiyan (“I, an Indian”) — his professional autobiography, written in his native Malayalam language.
Framing these facts in this manner elevated their authenticity much more than ones presented by government commissions.
Mohammed not only presents the facts, he asks people to be in the shoes of others and think for a while to find answers that are needed to solve the problems among the societies. His work and thoughts presented in a 90 pages book makes one see all of us as one group – Mankind. This is the kind of frame work that is needed for public to appreciate the facts. Once appreciated they can “change public thinking, political discourse, our culture, and our society.”
A small fire is extinguished by the wind. But if the fire is made big enough, the wind will spread it. In the same manner, the facts presented by K.K. Mohammed, if spread widely and properly, will have the power to bring people together. This is the most needed medicine for the fractured societies.
(Dr. Srinivasa K. Rao is a biotechnology, life sciences, biomedical scientist who popularizes farming and processing quinoa in India. He launched a brand, “Dr. Quinoa,” in the Indian market to make the grain more affordable. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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