Communalism, made snana, displacement of people a threat to region: writers

Writers and social activists at the Jana Nudi — a two-day literary meet being held parallel to the proposed four-day Alva’s Nudisiri — highlighted the grave issues confronting the coastal region — such as communalism, made snana, moral policing, regressive rightwing activities, displacement of people and weakening of democratic institutions.

On the inaugural day on Saturday, the speakers said that progressive forces should expose the “naked face of aggressive State” while creating a stronger counter force that reaches every single defenceless person fighting the State and institutions that are increasingly turning feudal. An example of a lone woman displaced from Bala for Mangalore Special Economic Zone without giving any compensation merely because she could not produce the document was cited.

The former Chairperson of Kannada Book Authority S.G. Siddaramaiah pointed out that a section of society defended retrograde practices such as made snana saying it was the question of one’s belief. But this was merely an attempt to mislead people because it was the priestly class which had introduced the system for tribal people after usurping Kukke Subramanya Temple which was in the hands of Malekudiya tribe.

Meenakshi Kale, a writer, said Pejawar Math seer Vishvesha Tirtha should have displayed the courage of conviction against this by asking Brahmins not to take food if others were to roll on their leftovers. Instead, the seer said he would make devotees roll on plantain leaves on which food offered to the deity (prasada) was placed. This would only encourage blind faith.

Rajendra Chenni, Professor, Kuvempu University, said “unexpressed violence” was far more terrifying and literature should give expression to this as suggested by B.R. Ambedkar. It should speak about how caste was a multi-storied building without steps to climb down.

Urging people to break the silence, he regretted that nobody raised their voice in dissent or protest when Belgaum session of the Legislative Assembly passed Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Bill, 2013, making striking work a non-bailable offence, enabling police to make arrests without warrant, .

Writer Sara Aboobacker wondered why the government, which can give crores of rupees to temples, could not come to the aid of endosulfan victims and their parents whose life was one long struggle and misery.

Faculty member of Azim Premji University Narayan A. said while democracy was deepening, it was paradoxical that institutions were becoming feudal. Even those fighting against the powers in the name of development had the same vision of development as those in power. Unless an alternative model was developed, the fight against those in power could hardly be effective.

A writer’s resolutions

Writer H.S. Anupama said at the inauguration session of the literary meet that she has decided not to participate in any function or programme organised by those with a communal bent of mind. She also decided not to run after awards or use the money earned through writing for personal purposes.

Writers such as Sara Aboobacker appreciated Ms. Anupama, but said there were occasions where she had learnt the true colours of organisers only after reaching the venue. “I get caught (in such situations),” she said.

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