U. Mahesh Prabhu

Investor | Author | Media, Management & Political Consultant

The Political Side of Mangalore’s Mayhem

Last week, an untoward incident happened in Mangalore. The proselytizing center of ‘New Life’ Christians was ransacked by Bajarang Dal activists and, in the confusion, the Catholics too were targeted, thus leading to chaos.

There were two reasons that led to the attack by infuriated Bajarangees: first, the denigration of Hindu Gods and Goddesses; and secondly, ‘forcible conversions’.

The following are the list of abuses from one such book—Satya Darshini—distributed by the missionaries of ‘New Life’. This book is in Kannada and the translation of the abusive passages are as follows.

  • Urvashi, the daughter of Lord Vishnu, is a prostitute. Vashishta is the son of this prostitute. He in turn married his own mother. Such a degraded person is the Guru of the Hindu God Rama. (page 48)
  • When Krishna himself is wallowing in darkness of hell, how can he enlighten others? Since Krishna himself is a shady character, there is a need for us to liberate his misled followers. (page 50)
  • It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita. Since Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, were themselves the victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods. (page 39)
  • When the Trinity of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) are consumed by lust and anger, how can they liberate others. Their projection as Gods is nothing but a joke. (Page 39).
  • When Vishnu asked Brahma to commit a sin, he immediately did so. How can such an “evil Brahma” be a Creator of this Universe? How is it possible for both the sinner and the entity which provoked the sin, to be Gods? (page 39)
  • God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping false Gods that believe in the pleasures of illicit, ‘vyabichari’, relationships. (Page 39).

A few days later, with the noble intention of bringing about peace, Christian and Hindu leaders held a meeting to thrash out their mutual differences at the city’s circuit house. The meeting was fruitful and differences were sorted out.

Just as everything looked under control, the Congress and the JD(S), who have had a really tough time in the recent elections and who are facing a rather ‘grave’ threat from the BJP, decided to settle their scores. The BJP had recently begun extracting elected MLAs from the opposition thus, weakening the position of the Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka further.

Several leaders from as far as Delhi, started towards the city which was otherwise mostly peaceful and began reading their electoral speeches for the imminent Lok Sabha elections rather prematurely. It was evident from their acts that the reason for their being in the city was to lay the groundwork for these elections. Margret Alva, the leader of the opposition Congress, even went on record to say that the peace accord, arrived at with mutual consensus by religious leaders of both communities, was ‘completely unacceptable to her’!

Continuing further with the attacks on the ruling BJP, Teesta Setalvad, human rights’ activist, even targeted the police for ‘atrocities’ committed on the ‘peaceful’ Christians in the region. Kumaraswamy, the former chief minister of Karnataka, lost no time in jumping on to the bandwagon.

When the entire episode of attacks on churches was going on, I wasn’t in Mangalore. I was undergoing treatment for almost a week’s time at Hubli. Just a day before I landed in Hubli, a few non-Hindus happened to pelt stones at the procession of the Ganesha idol. The situation was almost similar as in Mangalore, but the police effectively brought the situation under control.

The damage caused to the idol and the accompanying paraphernalia wasn’t any less in comparison to the prayer houses. Yet no politicos considered it to worthwhile to visit the place and convey their ‘condolences’ over the untoward incident. Why? I am yet to find an answer that is convincing enough.

The target of the Congress, Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), and other ‘human rights’ organizations is now the Bajarang Dal. They are seeking a ‘ban on the organization’ which is even being compared by these politicos to notorious terror organizations like Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Yes, I have to completely disapprove of the way in which the Bajarangees acted. They had no business taking the law in their hands. And such nefarious activities of the organization need to be stopped. It is completely against the norms of civilized society.

But I shall condemn all other allegations and even the unjust comparison of these Bajarangees to terrorists. Bajarangees are nationalists. The only thing that is supreme to them is their nation, their belief, and their culture. It is specified in the charter of the society that,

‘The Bajrang Dal is not against any religion. It acknowledges respecting the faith of other people, but expects and asserts similar respect of Hindu sentiments. Being Hindu, the Bajrang Dal believes in the validity of all religions and respect for all human beings, irrespective of caste, color, and religion, (Aatmasvat Sarva Bhuteshu). It is for this purpose that the Bajrang Dal has undertaken various public-awakening campaigns. It does not believe in violence or any unlawful activity.’

Their ways may be wrong, but they aren’t the wrong people. There is every chance of convincing these frustrated individuals and turning them on to the right path, unlike terror organizations such as SIMI.

The Congress and the other party in the opposition benches in the Karnataka State Assembly which popped up on the scene did nothing to ease the situation. Instead they provoked the sentiments of the Christians to further intensify their hatred against the Hindus and the ruling BJP. It is certainly not wrong to say that the opposition Congress and the JD(S) caused the communal tension which would have been long forgotten by now.

Given this, it is certainly not wrong to conclude that the instigators (Congress and JD(S)) are as much responsible for the situation as the perpetrators (read Bajarangees) themselves!

Author | Investor | Painter | Media, Management & Political Consultant

1 Comment

  1. Ramesh Rao says:

    There is a need for careful reporting from places where such incidents of religious/caste/class conflicts take place. Thank you for bringing some sanity into the conversation about the dynamics of Christian proselytization and Hindu backlash in India. Unfortunately, there are too few men and women among the political class in India who can think beyond the short term interests of their party, and we find thus the continued presence of politicians like Deve Gowda and his sons who are no more than crooked village headmen whose sights don’t extend beyond their village boundary.

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