Winds of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ blowing from Karnataka

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There are some developments reported from the Dakshin Kannada district of Karnataka that appears to be symptomatic of the making of Hindu Rashtra. These activities are certainly unlawful and can draw the attention of the law enforcement agencies soft-peddling it because it’s carried out by the Hindutva zealots.

The media too is not making any noise about it because they are hand in gloves with such forces that are currently holding the reins of political power in the country.

The first such activity is noted on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami on August 18, when a huge cut-out of Nathuram Godse was put up at several public places in Mangalore. They were at Surathkal, Baikampady, Kuloor, and surrounding places. The Akhila Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha and Hindu Jagaran Vedike are believed to be behind such acts.

Objection to it was raised by the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council, B K Hariprasad, who questioned the controversial banners with pictures of Godse who had murdered Gandhi. He sought to know how Godse’s image was put up for the public view and who gave the permission to install his banners.

However, the fact is that the banners of Godse were put up by those people who idolise him and portray him as a national hero. They want to glorify him by declaring him a true patriot belittling the sacrifices made by Gandhi for the nation’s independence.

The hoarding of Godse was for the celebration of the killing of Gandhi and to send the message that forgetting Gandhi and accepting Godse was national. It remains to be seen how the people of India will accept this new narrative for which the ground is being prepared from Karnataka. The big deal is to debunk ideas such as ‘Iswar Allah tero naam’ and accept ‘Jai Shree Ram,’ as the national credo.

Another development in this direction is noticed at a school in Gujarat when in 2019 in a question paper for class 9, students were asked to write how Gandhi committed suicide. The students were supposed to accept the fact that Gandhi was not murdered, but had committed suicide. This is also a new narrative developed by the Sangh Parivar to wash the taint that Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu radical.

There are other signs of the making of the Hindu Rashtra coming from Dakshin Karnataka. A day before Janmashtami, that’s August 17, a banner of Veer Savarkar, the Hindu ideologue, was put up in Kumpala near Ullal in Mangalore.  The message was to accept Savarkar as a national hero.

Even ahead of the 75th Independence Day, Karnataka witnessed a political controversy. The state government’s advertisement for the newspaper had V D Savarkar’s image but Jawaharlal Nehru’s image was missing from the list of freedom fighters.

As part of the Independence Day celebration, Bajrang Dal activists put up a huge poster of Savarkar in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka. This became contentious and a Muslim group opposed it. In the ensuing clashes, a man was stabbed.

It is seen that wherever the Savarkar poster comes up it evokes opposition and that leads to clashes. While some people want to hail him, others question his contribution to the country.

In the same sequence of events, ahead of Independence Day, some Hindu groups pulled down the banners of Tipu Sultan put up by the Congress party along with several other freedom fighters. The Hindu group refuses to acknowledge the contribution made by Tipu Sultan to the struggle for the freedom of India and wants to paint him as an anti-Hindu and religious bigot.

This is a new template of politics that has emerged in Dakshin Karnataka riding the wave of Hindu nationalism. This symbolizes the BJP’s vision and mission to promote the cause of Hindutva and to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’

The BJP is drawing capital by pursuing its anti-Muslim agenda. It has developed an 80-20 model, where 80 percent of Hindu votes can be consolidated by opposing the 20 percent Muslim votes. This ensures the party’s victory as long as the democratic form of governance is practiced in India. The anti-Muslim agenda serves the BJP’s interest very well.

The developments in Dakshin Karnataka point to the fact that India is on the cusp of choosing two diametrically opposite paths; one that is currently underway a ride over the Hindutva juggernaut and the other to change the course of Indian politics. This can happen only through a decisive political mandate. But will the course correction happen when the EVMS are rigged and MLAs are bought over by the BJP? Nonetheless, the election in Karnataka due next year promises some hope.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Disclaimer: Winds of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ blowing from Karnataka - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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