Hindu Samjotsava paints a saffron picture with hate speeches4 min read
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and their counterparts left no stone unturned in attracting large crowds to its annual Virat Hindu Samajotsava, which took place in MGM grounds on the afternoon of 9th March. Preparations for the propagation of the event had started much earlier with prominent locales like Udupi, Syndicate Circle, and the roads around it being decked in saffron. Flags of the same color were also seen fluttering over Manipal’s auto rickshaws which bore the Hindu insignia of “Om”. The event which had been under the radar of the police saw a significant crowd of people gracing the event.
The processions leading to the event saw hundreds of supporters decked up in saffron, marching in unison with the flags of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and the like; shouting, chanting and cheering slogans in support of the Hindu outfit. Having never actually attended a religiously charged congregation of such a huge extent, I soon realized the gravity of the situation when I heard slogans against Pakistan and a strong feel of animosity in the air. I finally entered into the huge podium which was crawling with men, women and children of all age groups.
Welcoming the huge turnout, the announcer claimed it to be the highest ever in Udupi district. The first speaker, Vishweshwa Tirtha Swamy of Pejawar Mutt, Udupi, condemned the consumption of beef, and pointed out that Karnataka should follow Maharashtra in such matters. The huge cheer from the crowd made it unabashedly evident that the people were in consensus of this jargon and having someone else decide their diet. He also defended the recent wave of conversions that is plaguing the country by stating, “We don’t convert, only re-convert”.
Another speaker, from Anegundi Mutt, Kalahastendra Saraswati Swami made the gathering take 4 vows, which included stopping the onslaught of conversion from Hinduism, stopping the practice of “Love Jihad”, not allowing Bangladeshi Muslims in the country, and the most hilarious one, which dictates Hindu households having more kids. How can increasing the populous of an already overpopulated nation or prohibiting our next door neighbors from entering the country be beneficial in uplifting the society, is above me.
Every speaker managed to make their disappointment evident, about Dr Praveen Tagodia not being allowed to attend the gathering after being banned from many districts across Karnataka. The reason for his ban was his attempt to spark communal tension through his hateful speeches in the past.
The most influential amongst the speakers was however, Prashant Hartalkar, hailing from Maharashtra who spoke in Hindi and tried to create an emotional connect with the people. Elucidating about the indentured laborers who had been taken away to different South American and other colonies in the past, he gave the examples of prominent politicians who are descendants of the laborers by stating how they have preserved their “Hindu Culture” and transpired from (his terminology, not mine), “Zero to Hero”.
Infact a large number of Muslims had also been taken as laborers in the past, but that point was obviously omitted by the vociferous orator at the Samajotsava. It’s ironic how our own leaders are trying to induce the same kind of ignorance that the Britishers had once used to transport millions to other countries as bonded labour, in this day and age to emotionally bind a certain majority section of the populous in order to polarize and create mass support most probably for vote bank politics.
Such kind of behavior, I believe is not a result of insensitivity but one that stems out of an intent to indoctrinate segregation by attacking the very national fibre, propagating an idea of a “Literal Hindustan”. During these speeches, a security drone, a first for the district was introduced by Udupi SP K Annamalai, to keep an eagle’s eye for miscreants. The whole crowd’s attention shifted to the drone for a minute, with everyone waving their hands out of joy and exuberance, paying no attention to the speaker. I stood, giggling to myself, trying to understand as to whether I should be more worried about the hate speeches by the outfits, or a crowd which in its collectivity has an attention span of a two year old. Soon the drone drifted away, and the crowd once again came back to cheering and shouting slogans.
Edited by Manasi Srivathsan