Mangaluru: Dakshina Kannada which has been the cradle of social harmony and unity for centuries has gradually been losing its hallmark qualities and virtues. Petty politicians have been creating problems for the sake of electoral gains in recent times.
Last month, such a fuss was made about a non-Hindu official’s name appearing in the invitation of a Hindu temple in Puttur. But non-Hindus are needed in renovation work of the temple and also during fireworks show since no one else comes forward.
A few years ago, during the ‘Avabhrita’ bath ceremony of the deity in Puttur, two Hindu youth had drowned. They were pulled out by non-Hindus, even risking their own lives.
Restrictions were imposed on non-Hindus taking up stalls on auction during the Puttur festival. But it was an open secret that every year they are sub-let by the official bidders to non-Hindus at a large profit margin.
Jasmine flowers grown by Christians are bought in wholesale trade by Muslims to be used mainly in Hindu weddings and other ceremonies. In the daivasthana rituals of Udyavara Manjishnar in Kasaragod, Hindus and Muslims jointly perform the rituals.
Fish caught by the Mogaveeras taking great risks at sea are bought by Muslim vendors to be sold to all communities, esp., Christians in large numbers.
Such has been the social fabric of the undivided district for centuries. But trouble-makers here and there are trying the create breach in the relationship and harmony. Katipalla and Suratkal are among the very sensitive areas in the district. Very often skirmishes have been breaking out around these places.
While everyone is free to conduct legal activity anywhere in the country, a banner, put up on behalf of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike in Katipalla, announces restrictions on non-Hindus from holding any trade activity during a local festival.
Many Hindu citizens around expressed concern that it could lead to needless communal strife and tension. Besides being an eyesore, it also poses a challenge to the Constitution of India, they say. They further point out that stalls were being put up by people from different communities through proper channel all these years.
When enquired about it, Ningaiah, the executive officer of Shri Mahaganapati temple in Ganeshapura, said that the matter had not come to his notice until then and assured to look into it. Since it is governed by the department of endowments (muzrai), it is up to the temple management committee to decide about who should and who should not put up stalls. No other individuals or organizations could dictate terms, said some devotees.
It is time that the local corporator and the police took action in the matter.