People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 9

March 08, 2009


Fight This Talibanisation Culturally & Politically:

U R Anantha Muthy

U R Anantha Muthy is a distinguished writer and critic in Kannada language. He is a recipient of the Jnanpith Award for Kannada language. G Mamatha of People’s Democracy spoke to him when he was in New Delhi. The following are his views on the moral policing in Karnataka.

THIS Talibanisation of ‘constructed Hinduism’ would shock all religious people. This is a criminalisation of Hindutva and it is carried out by goon elements. Unemployed youth were swayed into these activities. The attention given by the media to this is mind boggling. A non entity Muthalik was turned into a national figure. A saner government would have acted soon on theses incidents and a small story on this should have appeared inside the newspapers. Muthalik is very grateful to the media for giving him such attention. The unfortunate thing is the Sangh Parivar, which drew its support from some sections of upper castes, now, has got a backing among the lower castes too. The absence of a movement dealing with the real issues of the people that could have moulded these boys who are getting into the trap of the Sangh Parivar into the progressive channels is a sad thing. The liberal forces, the Left has to make efforts to overcome this lacuna.

The deep seated prejudices and chauvinism of the Sangh Parivar has resulted in the attacks on the girls who dress fashionably. It is absolutely abnormal in a democractic society to beat girls. The BJP which is in power in Karnataka follows a dual policy regarding these elements. It wants them to be subdued while it is in power and utilizes them when elections are around. As such, it is a little embarrassed with these incidents. But the BJP that subscribes to an extremist ideology which aims at a majoritarian rule in India always nurtures such extremist elements. The entire civil society is shocked. We have been fighting against these chauvinist forces. Pattabhi Rama Somayaji, a lecturer, who has been campaigning and fighting against this was served a memo by the university authorities. We demanded the university to punish the guilty and not the ones who are fighting the crime. A kind of fear is sought to be instilled among the people and the government remains a mute spectator and does nothing except issue memos to the people standing up for safeguarding the democratic rights of the country.

There are two major reasons for this sorry state of affairs to continue. One is the lack of will and unity in the Congress party that cannot get its act together and fight these elements. The other is the secret pact between these extremists and the government, which does not wish to alienate them, for they would be of use during the elections. In this context, one tends to recall what Anant Kumar, MP, said recently about turning Bababudangiri into another Ayodhya. Bababudangiri in Chikamagalur district in West Karnataka is a famous Sufi place of worship where people from all religions visit and offer prayers. The BJP wants to use this as an election issue.

The immature and childish politics of JD(S) has resulted in the rise of BJP in Karnataka. The mining lobby of Bellary is very powerful and they have no political scruples. They have made crores of rupees at the cost of people. I have been campaigning that selling ore is a sin, but the government does not care a bit. With these kinds of developments happening around, a sense of demoralisation and helplessness is spreading, which is being encashed by the divisive forces.

The need of the hour is to fight it culturally. And this cultural protest must be backed by political action. We all must unite and celebrate the rich plurality and tolerance prevalent in our country and strive for safeguarding them.