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The canard against Karnataka: The Hindu’s hit-job continues: Intro

July 19, 2012

Over the past few weeks and months the attacks against Karnataka in the media have become incessant. Once it is ‘housing discrimination’ in Bangalore, then it is ‘anti-minority’ RTE  (both of which this blog has addressed) and of course the ‘Rama Sene’, ‘Mangalore pub’, ‘Church attack’ and many more such attempts at slander by the pink-chaddiwalas and their ilk. Most of these have been refuted by the ‘affected’ parties themselves! (for another blog)

Another in this line is an article from a newspaper ironically titled “The Hindu”. The article attacks the “education department” in Karnataka, which has become the whipping boy of the media. The ministry is headed by a simple, well-intentioned  gentleman, Visveshwara Hegde Kageri, whose clidren actually live in a viallge and attend the local goverment school there. (mentioned this in the RTE post as well!) The media continues take advantage of him and paint all sorts of stories attempting to tarnish his image. (media should try doing this with the Gowdas if they have the guts). Coming back to the article, in ‘The Hindu’ it is titled “A book of Indian holidays without Christmas or Id”. The real title of the book is ‘Festivals of Indians‘. Notice the sly deceipt – Festival is replaced with Holiday. This in itself exposes the agenda of this media house. 

Again, this is a reference book  – NOT a textbook. Meaning, this can be referred to by students for deeper study in a particular subject matter. Typically there would be a list of various books under this category. While this is only one of the  reference books, covering Hindu festivals,  the list could well include the Bible or the Qu’ran. ‘The Hindu’ as usual does not bother going into the details of which other books have been classified as ‘reference books’. Research has become too much of a headache for our media. Fortunately, the Directorate of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) in Karnataka has published textbooks online, which are downloadable free of charge. This is perhaps one of the few states in the country to take up such an initiative. But ‘The Hindu’ did not consider it worthy to be written about.

Getting back to the point, the 10th standard social science text-book (compulsory reading for all students) contains a Chapter on ‘socio-religious reformist movements in India’, the only reference to religion in the book.The contents are ‘secular’ from every angle and hence do not excite ‘The Hindu’. The ‘upper-caste’ (as ‘The Hindu’ would prefer to call it) Brahmo and Arya Samaj movements are covered alongwith Phule’s Sathya Shodak Samaj, Annie Beasant’s Theosophical Society and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s Aligarh Movement. It was secular enough for India’s richest muslim to endorse – the website is supported by Azim Premji Foundation. But ‘The Hindu’ isn’t convinced.

‘The Hindu’ further goes on to exasperate “even religious days observed primarily by the upper castes,……, are given detailed descriptions in the book.” Now what does this mean?  Let me for a minute assume that this assertion is accurate. Why do the religious days observed by so-called upper castes not merit a mention? Aren’t they part of this country’s heritage and culture? Or do such practices affect the ‘feelings’ of certain communities? What sort of nonsense is this? The book is meant to talk about certain festivals celebrated in India. The author is free to describe any festival he has knowledge of. The DSERT in no way states that this book is the Bible (pun intended) for all students. This is one of the books that students can CHOOSE to refer in a particular subject area, if it interests them. This sort of mischievous language by ‘The Hindu’ is aimed at spreading malice amongst different castes – against each other.

For all it’s secularness, see this article in ‘The Hindu’ titled “Festivals of Light“. Curiously, the article talks ONLY about, non-Hindu festivals and contains a picture of Christmas tree. By the same logic, how is this secular? There are no photos of Muslim festivals – so is this Islamophobia? Giving the benefit of the doubt to ‘The Hindu’, ( ‘a Hindu’ is always magnanimous. Not too sure about ‘The Hindu’) one would assume that the article attempts to highlight lesser known “festivals of light”. Similarly, this book as well – Sri. (Sorry, that was communal) Mr. Varadarajan, I hope you get it! 

The article quotes a member of the Dakshina Kannada, Congress Minority Committee. Talk about being apolitical and ‘secular’. Flashing this book at him would be akin to flashing a red rag to a raging bull whose brain cells have been replaced with testosterone.

This is but a part of a larger effort to malign Karnataka as it stands out like a sore thumb in ‘secular south-india’. The steadfastness of the state to its roots irks the ‘secular media’. The BJP government has come at a convenient time for the creation of ‘communal’ bogeyman. The secular media is having a field day, pontificating from their air-conditioned offices in salubrious Bangalore.

PS: There has just been too much muck floating around – communal, casteist etc. which needs to be addressed. This is just an introduction. I hope am able to get out of the Bangalore weather induced indolence and get to the rest!

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