Karnataka

I can now raise my voice against issues: Senthil

Electoral politics a no-no, says IAS officer who resigned from civil service

Stating that he will not join any political party, former Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada S. Sasikanth Senthil said here on Wednesday that he is now in a better position to understand the problems of people and work towards addressing them.

“I now have the moral and ethical responsibility to raise my voice against what is happening in the country. I could not do so while in service,” he said. Mr. Senthil, a 2009-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, resigned from civil service on September 6 stating that it was “unethical” on his part to continue as a civil servant when “fundamental building blocks of diverse democracy are being compromised”. His resignation is yet to be accepted by the government.

Talking to reporters after participating in the launch of a four-month-long Gandhi Chintana Yatre by Samadarshi Vedike and other organisations, Mr. Senthil said: “Electoral politics is certainly a no-no”. He added that coming out of the civil services places him in a position of anonymity that helps to understand problems in a better way.

“I can be of better use to many... I am now entering a better space to work on the problems and use influence in the government to address them,” he said. On some people calling him “an anti-national” soon after his resignation, Mr. Senthil said he was not surprised by it. He ruled out reconsidering his resignation. Mr. Senthil’s wife Sujatha told reporters that her husband’s decision to quit civil services was not sudden, but taken after conscious thought. “Those who know him closely are not surprised with his decision,” she said.

‘Flexing muscles is not nationalism’

Nationalism is not reflected by flexing muscles but by protecting diversity, he said.

Love for humankind is nationalism as per Mahatma Gandhi, which is sadly not the one that is being advocated now, he said. “For him love of mankind is nationalism. It cannot be trivialised to what we see these days,I do not think it is right too" he said.

Calling himself an average “Munna Bhai” (from the movie Munna Bhai MBBS) in his understanding of Gandhi, Mr. Senthil said he is among the many millennials for whom Bapu symbolised a lot. The Mahatma’s nationalism was not the breed of violence that is seen now, he said, referring to violence in Chowri Chowra in 1922 that led him to call off the Khilafat movement following the death of 22 policemen in a mob attack. He also spoke about the non-violent way activists, inspired by Gandhi's thoughts, took blows from police outside the salt factory in Darsana in 1930. Mr. Senthil recalled Mahatma’s tour of parts of Bengal in 1947 to stem violence.

Gandhi showed that it is not "Chowri Chowra" but "Darshana" that symbolised nationalism. While pointing out that nationalism can be nurtured by love and emphathy, Mr. Senthil said, "Nationalism is a binding force and not a divisive one. Only humanism is nationalism and that shall and may be the guiding light"

Mr. Senthil said he got introduced to Mahatma during his preparation for the civil services examination 2001. "I share love and hate relationship with Gandhi," he confided.

Writer Jagadish Koppa spoke on "Bapuemba Manukulada Belaku" (Bapu a light to the mankind).

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:00:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/flexing-muscles-is-not-nationalism/article29577766.ece

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