Sep 29, 2008
Much has been said, written and heard regarding the recent attacks on places in different parts of Mangalore, Udupi and Chickmagaloor on Christian places of worship and the subsequent developments that followed including the deluge of politicians, human right activists and other fact finding groups to Mangalore. Fortunately there were no deaths or severe casualty and credit should go to both the Christians and Hindus. Despite provocation and incendiary remarks by politicians, other pseudo secularists and self-styled leaders of various hues there was no large scale violence or casualty.
While desecration of places of worship of any religion should be condemned by right thinking people in a civilized society one needs to ponder over the events that have led to disharmony between Hindus and Christians in this coastal region as they have always shared a cordial relationship. The reasons of course are many and intelligent people of this region need to give a deep seated thought to this aspect rather than vitiate the present atmosphere in the best interest of the welfare and development of people of this region. This is the need of the hour as after a storm there is always a lull and on the face of it may look everything is normal in the district. However there is a simmering discontent between these communities which is boiling within and if left unattended to it may become a Frankenstein’s Monster.
It is an accepted fact that the recent incidents have exposed the glaring hollowness of political as well as community leadership in our district. The unpleasant incident could have been averted if the leadership had risen to the occasion and appealed to the people to maintain peace rather then resorting to violence. The Diocesan leadership woke up a trifle late and when there was an appeal from the Bishop to maintain peace violence subsided immediately. However the vacuum in political leadership is too glaring to be ignored. Both the Congress and the ruling BJP have stalwarts representing this district in state and national politics. The elected leaders of the ruling party were conspicuous by their absence when the events took an ugly turn giving an impression that the party leadership was in tandem with the culprits which nevertheless infuriated the Christians. May be they were caught unawares or just ignored it to be minor skirmish. The Home Minister, who hails from Udupi, too was caught off guard and failed to understand the gravity of the situation. Finally when it was realized the dialogue is the only solution to end the impasse the Christian community could not find leader with whom it could sit and have a dialogue without mistrusting his intentions.
The Congress has too many leaders hailing from the district who have risen to position of eminence in their party and could have used their leadership to good use. But each of these leaders has his own axe to grind and they never hesitated to find an opportunity to malign the opposition even when it led to mindless violence, destruction of public property and spread hatred. Some self-styled local leaders with an eye on Christian vote bank watched as silent spectators when the city was witnessing mayhem. Leaders after leaders from Bangalore and Delhi made a beeline to the city and by their irresponsible statements further compounded the already vitiated atmosphere. Some even went to the extent of derided the Bishop for having a peace accord with the Hindu leaders.
TIME TO LOOK AHEAD
Ultimately it is the Chief Minister who has to take the blame for the unsavory incident. But the local leadership failed disastrously to comprehend the situation and apprise the state leadership effectively so as to take corrective measures quickly.
What has happened has happened and it has left a bitter taste in everyone. Political leaders and so called human right activists come, make inflammatory speeches and go away. Ultimately it is the people of this region who have to live in the society in harmony and we cannot afford to have incidents like communal disturbances spoil the peace and tranquility.
The need of the hour is to ensure that such incidents do not recur. But unfortunately yellow journalism rules the roost in this region which does not spare any leader of repute from unfair criticism. While criticism per se is good in a democratic set up stripping the person naked with unfair criticism is playing havoc with anyone who harbours even a vague interest of joining politics. After all nobody wants to be the fodder for evening papers which thrive on gossip and character assassination. May be we need to give a serious thought to this aspect to attract leaders with leadership qualities into the political fold.
We certainly need leaders with vision and capabilities who are capable of representing the people of this region irrespective of religion or caste, who can stand by them in their hour of difficulty and give vent to their feelings and aspirations. It is not that Dakshina Kannada is bereft of good leaders. We only need to identify and choose them and ensure that they lead us in a just manner. Any takers?
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