24 Dec. Mangalore is suffering under an incurable disease. The saffron experiment that started in 1980s has continued unabated. The experiment of saffronisation and communalism. Mangalore, in the coastal Karnataka region, was their little laboratory along with Gujarat. And they have reaped the harvest in saffron and the resultant red.
Apparently, there is nothing one can do about it, it looks. With the right wing BJP government at the Centre executing its saffron agenda and trying to wipe out every trace of diversity, harmony, and peace in the country by attacking and undermining constitutional and social institutions and legacies, and the Karnataka state government becoming a spineless onlooker -thus becoming a collude-r with these elements on the rampage-, there seems little hope for a sane society.
Mangalore has been on the boil for a long time now, especially ever since the B.S. Yeddyurappa government started buying elected representatives (MLAs) to ‘prove majority’ in the Legislative Assembly to install the first BJP government of South India in Karnataka, in 2008.
Minorities and secular citizens have been under serious threat ever since. Churches were stoned systematically. Mosques and Muslims were attacked. Differences of opinion and any dissent were stifled with an iron hand. Harsh cases were filed. Security forces were injected with saffron ideology. Police were either rendered helpless or turned into saffron agents (including posting a picture of the mother of the saffron brigade RSS on the home page of the official police website!). Youngsters and girls were attacked in restaurants and celebrations and beaten up brutally. Journalists have been put behind bars without inquiry. After some people made some noises and kept quiet, government went back to its usual slumber.
In 2013, the Siddharamaiah-led Congress government came to power. He kindled many a hope. But this government has been a major let down. Intellectuals have been killed (M.M. Kalburgi) or attacked (U. R. Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, and many a writer). There have been over 600 attacks on Christians and Muslims in Karnataka in a single year. But the State government has done nothing to contain these elements and ensure security of its voters. Youngsters have been at the receiving end. Girls and women have been pushed behind closed doors. These self-styled im-moral police from the saffron brigade have been dictating who should walk with whom (boy-girl), which religion girl should not marry which religion boy, who should /not eat what meet, drink what drink, who should/not wear what dress, etc. And celebrations, parties and marriages have been attacked, had them cancelled – as late as in December 2015! And our governments are busy filling their pockets – drenched in corruption top to bottom.
Now, there is one more major threat – freedom of women and freedom of expression.
Vidya Dinakar, a woman activist from Mangalore has been abused in the worst possible language and threatened.
Last week, Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale Hindi film was released (18/12/15), all over the country. And immediately the saffron brigade (this time Bajran Dal) attacked three multiplexes in Mangalore, demanding cancellation of the film. Their point of attack was the Hindi actor for his recent remarks against the growing intolerance under the Modi-government. Dictators never like dissent or difference of opinion; they only have ambitions of power, and more power. Anyone with a different opinion is seen as a threat, and is attacked, and silenced into abject surrender. That is the nature of our society. And the saffron brigade has mastered this evil art.
Vidya has been spearheading the civil society’s movement against this intolerance by Bajrang Dal. Hence, this dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishat (International Hindu Council – of the saffron parivar) attacked her with the most indecent and abusive language on Facebook. And police did nothing about it! Absolutely nothing! Whereas, when some youngsters criticised Narendra Modi in 2013 and 2014, or a girl questioned -on FB- the logic behind declaring a holiday on the demise of a private citizen Bala Saheb Thakre, and her friend “liked” this post, the two girls were arrested and serious cases were slapped against them! You can see the hypocrisy of our leaders and police?
This time things are far worse. They have forgotten all “samskara” – manners, and gone to the extent of threatening a lady with sexual assault, calling her all forms of crude names beginning with b, f, p, traitor, and anything a sick mind can conceive of. And all this on Facebook, a public forum! Fearlessly and shamelessly. What does it say about them? And about our police? And about our government?
Do we have no respite from this malaise? Do we have no cure for this sickness that has affected Indian society and its smaller societies? If everytime we have to resort to civil society organisations to protect us, why should our police be paid through our taxes? And why should we elect politicians – we could as well do with civil society organisations!