It is the state that for many decades has had the most balanced birth rate, fundamentally because all of the girls go to school, and therefore get married later than girls elsewhere. They speak about it openly, without any fear at all. The peaceful arrival of Islam dates back to the VII century; this came about by means of the Arab spice merchants. Simon Manuel Kidangath, told them that tradition, rules, and the faith of the believers were more important to the church than Priyanka. The children of the different religions begin to live side by side sitting at their school desks. Elsewhere, Christians are a more or less scant minority, in many cases busy resisting persecution, oppression, hostility of every kind.
On the other hand, it is also true that, as Dumont states, not even the Christians of Kerala are completely free from conceiving society from a caste point of view. However, when the Portuguese power declined by the early seventeenth century, the hold of the Roman Catholic church in Kerala weakened, and allegiance to the Syrian Orthodox tradition was reaffirmed in front of an improvised cross at Mattancherry in , an event known as Coonan Kurisu Satyam. On different occasions Islamic militants have been arrested while fighting in Kashmir, and it happened that the Islamic organisations themselves considered fundamentalist openly condemned the use of the madrasas as hiding-places for arms and explosives. Here, all things considered, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which is just over a thousand kilometres away, and the pogroms against the Christians of Orissa, are seen as dramatic but distant events. What happened next was even more shocking. Even during one of the most critical periods in the history of India, between and , when 1, incidents between Hindus and Moslems were recorded, only took place in the south of the country. This is a huge percentage if one thinks that the average Christian population in India is calculated at 2. The church is proud of the succession from St. In a small parish of Kottayam, for example, one of the parishioners converted from Hinduism. The survival of Syrian Christians in Kerala was also a result of the benevolence and tolerance of the rulers in Travancore, Cochin, and Malabar who donated land and helped financially to build churches. There is a region in which Christians are ten times as numerous — 20 percent, as opposed to 2 percent of the national media — and above all live in peace. Furthermore, it is known that the financing comes directly from Iran, Pakistan and other middle-eastern countries. Annual parish festivals still draw big crowds, many Christians abroad catching a flight back home to attend. The fact remains that the majority of the mappilla, as the Muslims of Kerala are commonly called, have not yet given in to the voices of fundamentalism. Asia's two giants are emblematic. Some of the assailants ordered the nuns to leave the village and to stop converting Hindus to Christianity. It is of no importance that Rawther belongs to the Muslim community. The numbers speak for themselves here too: Almost everywhere, stuck on the brick walls, can be seen the electoral posters of the local Communist Party. The disgraceful experience that Priyanka and her family suffered at the hands of the Attamangalm church is a great example of the vicelike grip that the Syrian Christ clergy. Although Christians constitute only If, on the one hand, it is true that the burden of the caste system still weighs upon the society of Kerala, as in the rest of India, the promotion of education by the Church has undoubtedly made it possible to mitigate the rigid hierarchical system of society and has given many children belonging to the lower castes and the untouchables the possibility to improve their social condition. On arriving in Kerala it is not long before one understands that things work differently with respect to the big cities of the country that everyone looks to for economic records. Abraham Mar Julios, Bishop of Muvattupuzha, recounts that recently thirty Hindu families in his diocese, who had immigrated from Tamil Nadu, converted to Christianity. The children of the different religions begin to live side by side sitting at their school desks. He would often add that she might save some for the next one! Disheartened, Priyanka and her family was about to go back to Mumbai with the body when another clergyman, this time a kinder one, - bishop of the Kottayam diocese of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Thomas Mar Themothios - offered to help.
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