Mangaluru: ‘Whenever I visit my home-district, I feel as if I am getting into a land of the blind. The district is going through developments good enough to instill a sense of fear in anyone. It is in this backdrop that the book like the one launched on the day could dispel the blindness that had afflicted the people. Contrary to the much-talked about Ghar Wapsi, what is needed today is Drishti Wapsi (return of eyesight),” said Dinesh Amin Mattu, a senior journalist and media adviser to the chief minister of Karnataka.
He was speaking on the occasion of the city launch of ‘RSS mattu BJP – Onde Haadi : Bhinna Shrama (RSS and BJP – Single Path : Diverse Effort), a Kannada translation of the English book ‘The RSS and the BJP – a Division of Labour’ by eminent author, advocate and Constitutional expert, A G Noorani, by city-based thinker-activist Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, who is also the president of the district chapter of Komu Souharda Vedike, in the city on Monday.
Dinesh Amin said that there were many individual fighters in the district espousing different causes but what was needed was a collective and concerted effort. He cautioned the activists over hazards to their personal safety from divisive forces.
Basavaraju Sulibhavi (BaSu) of Ladai Prakashana, the publisher
Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, the translator
Dinesh Amin Mattu
K L Ashok
He said that although the original subtitle of the book was ‘a subdivision of labour’ it would have better suited to call it ‘a division of sin’. The RSS was founded by a close-knit group of intelligent individuals. There are always two classes of men among them – one to propagate their ideology, other to run down all others of different denominations who they opposed.
The RSS only stood for self-deception and hypocrisy. When they spoke of Dharma or Hindutva, they could not decide whether it was the one propounded by Swami Vivekananda or Savarkar or Pejawar Swamiji. He cited the examples of Pejawar Swamiji who recently said that casteism should stay but there should not be untouchability.
Asking to be excused for a down-to-earth parallel he had been forced to draw, he said it was as good as wanting to have sexual relationship with a woman but wanting no children. Both attitudes in hypocrisy were tantamount to adultery, he said.
He recalled the occasion when he had interviewed the Pejawar Swamiji 25 years earlier as a staffer of ‘Mungaru’ Kannada daily. The Swamiji, when asked about the discrimination and untouchability, he had expressed his helplessness claiming to be ‘captive’ inside the Math. Amin had even asked him as to why, if others around him did not agree depart from tradition, why he alone could not stand apart and be an instrument of change, for which he had no answer.
Similarly, prime minister Narendra Modi had only few days earlier said that this country belonged to everyone irrespective of religion and that the Constitution was the only guiding principle for the nation. This enlightenment had not flashed on his mind for all the 60-plus years of his life, not when he had ruled Gujarat as the chief minister nor when even Vajpayee had asked him to stick to Raj Dharma. Amin argued that instead of the Swamiji’s visiting the Dalit colonies, he should ensure the visit of the upper classes also to visit such places.
Amin further said that all temples and Maths run by the upper classes were being funded by the lower classses (shudras). If the shudras stopped funding them, all the temples and Maths might have to be shut down. To bring about true transformation in the society and ensure eradication of the caste system, the only way was to stop funding all such religious centres which encouraged discrimination among castes during community lunch or in any similar manner.
Dinesh Amin was all praise for the quality of translation of the book and revealed that at one time he was thinking of getting the translation done by himself. He called upon everyone to read the book and understand the communal danger faced by the nation.
Earlier Ramjan Darga, a scholar in Sufi and Sharana philosophies, spoke on the book. He began his speech with a reference to the Mudipu bus incident that took place on the outskirts of the city just two days earlier and also to the recent fiery speech of 19-year-old Sadhvi Balika Saraswati. He recalled that the state and the country had a tradition of inclusive attitudes with unity and identification of each other in each other community’s customs and celebrations.
But, he said, conflicts were being created with a tussle between inclusive philosophy and divisive thoughts. When those persons demand that all follow a single culture, he wanted to know if it was the culture of Manuvadis or the culture of 120 crore Indians. He said that certain thoughts that were expressed by Savarkar in 1920’s were not being brought in the open.
The lower-class youth were being fed with the thought that different classes were born of different parts of the body. Instead, they should be taught to adore the local great personalities like Rani Abbakka and Koti-Chennaya. He cautioned that the country was slowly being transformed into a battleground for Hindu fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism. In fact, the Muslim fundamentalism has the Hindu fundamentalism in its growth, he further said.
Darga recalled the killing of Baba Lal Das, former pujari of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple, on November 16, 1993, just within a year of the demolition of the mosque, and two days before the UP elections. (After he had been removed from the post of chief priest by the BJP government of Kalyan Singh, he took the Sangh Parivar and other affiliated mahants and paid a heavy price for not toeing the VHP line and instead taking a secular stand.)
He squarely blamed the Congress party for failing the people and also failing to fill the political space which was later grabbed by the divisive forces. Instead, it only indulged in gains, he lamented.
He expressed grave concern about the hate campaigns flying around and wondered what kind of a society the present generation would be leaving behind for the next. But he expressed confidence that anyone reading the book would not become communal and even if a communal-minded person read the book, he would have a change of heart and turn seclar.
K L Ashok, state general secretary of Komu Souharda Vedike, spoke about various efforts being made to vitiate the social environment in the coastal and Malnad areas in particular, like the Nandita case and the Mudipu bus episode, and gave a call to everyone to be alert and stem the rot.
Ismat Pajeer introduced the author and the translator, and also the guests on the dais. Suresh Bhat Bakrabail narrated how he was inspired to translate the book. Publisher Basavaraj Sulibhavi BaSu) spoke about the motto of his publications and also thanked everyone for making the event possible.