Presenting the award to Mr. Joseph, poet and activist Sugathakumari said the attack on him would always remain a black mark in the social history of Kerala. Such incidents point to the slow degeneration of the Kerala society.
“Why should there be a distinction between human beings based on religion when in real life everybody shares the same grief and joy that life and society offer? Kerala should learn to live without bloodshed,” she said, lauding Mr. Joseph for his tolerance towards his attackers and his ability to forgive them.
The function began with rendition of three keerthanams by musician Suresh Babu and his disciples, each of them conveying the message of religious harmony.
Offering felicitations, Hindustani musician Ramesh Narayanan said, “When we enjoy music and when we are able to appreciate arts, we are free from negative thoughts and feelings.”
The organisers gave an opportunity for Molly, a physically challenged woman working in a nearby teashop, to showcase her singing talent.
Students from YMCA performed with their instruments.