Mangaluru: Hindu Samajotsava – Some Grouse, Some Grace: What the People Said…

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Mangaluru: Every time such a huge conclave is organized, many citizens harbour apprehensions of fear and worry about the unpleasant incidents which have often ensued thereafter in the past.

But this time around, there were no such developments except a couple of stray incidents outside the city. Credit is due to the organizers for ensuring a peaceful conduct of the event, to the district administration – the deputy commissioner, the police commissioner, the district superintendent of police and all nodal officers, local magistrates and officials who saw to it that things were under control.


Going around the venue and speaking to those who had come to listen to the speeches and those who had gathered merely out of curiosity provided interesting inputs. Here are some representative opinions from the general public – whose desire to remain anonymous is being respected and protected.

1. “The Hindu community can take pride in conducting such a massive event this time, since some undesirable incidents had taken place in the aftermath of such meets in the past. People gathering in large numbers showing their unity should make us proud and happy.”

2. “Everything was fine. But Sadhvi Balika, true to her name is said to be still a teenager. Such words coming from her mouth was not in keeping with the Indian womanhood, known as a symbol of a perennial mother, full of care, concern and compassion. Even the little children being made to carry swords was not only in bad taste, but did not augur well for the future generation. I wonder if the organizers had made their own children or others’ to carry swords. The Dharmadhikari, whose religion is an embodiment of Ahimsa should have expressed his displeasure over it.”

3. “The district administration and the minister-in-charge had assured of their full cooperation, but had also appealed to the organizers not to allow outsiders to come here and create rift among the communities. But the Sadhvi’s speech violated the spirit. The organizers had also been asked to ensure that no provocative slogans were raised. There were banners containing provocative text, and also slogans were raised during the procession and on their way home by the participants.”

4. “The authorities, especially the police, deserve high praise for installing CCTV cameras all over the district, which prevented the miscreants from creating problems anywhere. There were slogans raised against a certain community. But they too exercised restraint and did not react. This saved the situation”

5. “The hate-mongers are heavily rewarded in cash besides airfare being paid and asked to wreak venom here. They collect their pile and fly back safely. But the people here who have been living like brothers for centuries are made to fight with each other. When will our people learn?”

6. “I am a staunch Hindu. I have been attending these meets every time for about 30 years. Ultimately, what benefit does it give? The money spent in crores on these meets could have helped many Hindus to build new homes and marry off Hindu girls who remain spinster for want of resouces.”

(Another even said that such meets are used as occasions to rake in tax-free money. Besides the crores spent on organizing the event, a few spoke about the logistics of security arrangements made by the government the cost of which itself might run into a couple of crores, all from the tax-payers’ money.)

7. When there were so many of the local Swamijis on the dais, the absence of Shri Kemaru Swamiji was very conspicuous. A few made a guess that he might not have wished to share the dais with another religious head, against whom he had recently campaigned in the matter of a girl’s death.

8. Many felt that in the middle of all this, there were two aspects which served as a saving grace. Shri Pejawar Swamiji, in his speech, gave a call to the Hindu youth to do good to the community and not to indulge in acts like pelting stones at prayer-houses of other religions. This won a great bit of appreciation from many.

Secondly, Dr D Veerendra Heggade, the Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala, made a vaild point. He said that such meets should not instill a sense of fear among the public. The very fact that about 4,000 police personnel had to be deployed to ensure peace was not a happy thought.

There were other grouses from taxi and rickshaw-drivers who lost their daily income since traffic was banned across the most visited parts of the city and also from the regular commuters and employees who had to walk it out up to the heart of the city and back since there was no transport available.

In general, there was an opinion among many that a large ground outside the city limits should be designated to hold such meets, whatever the background is, whether religious, political and social, so that the common man is not inconvenienced.

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