M. Chandra Poojary, professor at Kannada University, Hampi, has said that unless the cultural politics of the upper castes are opposed effectively, development politics will not address issues pertaining to the oppressed classes.

Prof. Poojary was speaking at a seminar, organised by Sahamata Vedike in association with the Hassan district units of the Students’ Federation of India, the Democratic Youth Federation of India and Bharatiya Gnana Vignana Samiti, here on Sunday.

The cultural politics of the upper castes had been deciding what others should eat, drink and worship. This had been done through school and college syllabi, religious programmes in schools and colleges, and the menus for midday meals in schools, and meals in government-run hostels, he charged.

Prof. Poojary said that this divided society and triggered cultural and social inferiority among people. “Based on the cultural politics, the parties in power design development programmes,” he said.

Stressing the need for efforts to counter its impact, he said that constant efforts by various organisations in coastal Karnataka ensured that the BJP lost the Assembly elections. “The BJP was defeated in the coastal areas not because of the Congress but because of the efforts of many progressive organisations that professed harmony,” he said.

Prof. Poojary added that neighbouring Kerala was following a model of development that put human development before economic growth. Karnataka, which had been following an economic growth model, should take a cue from its neighbour, he added.

Several personalities, including writers Roopa Hassan and K.S. Ravi Kumar, as well as activists B. Vedavathi and Mamatha Shivu, took part in the discussion.

Shive Gowda from the Government Arts College presided over the programme.

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