Kerala, the south Indian state, boasts of a dynamic Muslim history and culture that dates back a millennia. Islam came to the shores of Kerala through Arab traders and merchants and the first mosque of India, the Cheraman Juma Masjid, was built in 629 (during the life of Prophet Muhammad) in Kodungallur. Besides the longevity of Islam in Kerala, it also possesses a unique historical trajectory and Keralite Muslims have throughout their history mobilized and embraced resistance and revolution. The year 1498 marked the advent of Portuguese colonialism and imperial expansion led by Vasco de Gama. Muslim scholars and community leaders responded by declaring the Portuguese invaders and called upon the people to take rise in resistance. Later we see the same action repeated during the British colonial rule as well when Muslim resistance lead by their scholars posed a serious threat to British hegemony. During the last millennium hundreds and thousands of Muslims have faced persecution and sacrificed their lives in their fight against colonialism and imperialism. This is the ever lasting and proud legacy of the Muslims of Kerala where their faith and its principles inspired revolution and poetry and resistance and culture.
Solidarity Youth Movement is a continuum of this legacy. Solidarity carries on this celebration of resistance and revolution. Solidarity is the story of how the community embarked on a journey of confidence and self esteem and to discover a self that is not in shock, cut off from its past and humiliated by being exposed to contempt, demonisation and Islamophobia. True to the tenets of its faith, Solidarity’s solutions to problems and needs, unmet by successive right and left governments, challenge in a fundamental way popular thinking about politics, economics and the principles around which society is organized. Solidarity is an idea – an idea that recognizes the search for social liberation from all power organized as inequality, discrimination, exploitation, and domination and charting a decolonial future and in essence rediscovering and trying to put into praxis a theology of Islamic liberation.
Ever since its inception and with activities and branches all throughout Kerala, Solidarity has been successful in mobilizing and bringing to the forefront issues ranging from sustainable development and ecological activism to state terrorism, unlawful detention, profiling, racialization, fascism and Sangh Parivar hegemony and Islamophobia. Solidarity’s guiding philosophy and its activities transcend all barriers of faith, language, caste and creed and in doing so have become a major force in the social fabric of Kerala.