Mangalore: Wanted Leaders - Any Takers?

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. 


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? 


Florine Roche - Archives:

by Florine Roche - Daijiworld Media Network Mangalore
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Comment on this article

  • Shankar Shetty, Padu Kudoor

    Thu, Dec 11 2008

    Excellent analysis indeed.

  • Rupert, Mangalore/Canada

    Wed, Oct 01 2008

    Excellent article and very inspiring. Hope Florine will write many more such articles and enlighten the minds of present leaders if at all they care to read them. Christians have lived in peace and harmony with Hindu brothers for several hundred years,and I have shared classroom, dormitary with Hindu,Muslims boys and we never even thought about each others religion.

    Each one of us practised our religion and I never thought or dreamt such events would ever happen. Unfortunately, this violent culture has been imported into Karnataka from the north and hope one day we will have good leaders and bring peace to our place.

  • stanley d'costa, mangalore

    Tue, Sep 30 2008

    Mangalore is the land of educated, cultured, civilized, harmonious, good relationships with one to one and helping in need of the hour with people irrespective of caste and creed. With very few fanatics are spoiling the entire society and the communal harmony of the city of Mangalore. Every educated individual especially the youngsters of 21-26 age group raise above and voice for the peace and harmony. Mangalore is in the hands of youngsters. Peace can be restored by youngsters with able guidance of elders. Forget about the party politics. Think only the relationship with humanity and provide leadership with young thinking and bright vision of Mangalore

  • Bhavni Shankar , Mangalore[Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 30 2008

    It is time the people take note of the politicians who are meddling with religion for their political gains. What more can we expect from leadrs like Deve Gowda or Congress 'stalwarts' whose moves are guided by the political mileage they can accrue. Sitting MLA's of the district were conspicuous by their low profile involvement in the events in Mangalore.

    We really need leaders who have a broad vision of Mangalore and are impartial when it comes to religion. "Secularism" is a much abused word. If one can call Deve Gowad secular, imagine what secularism stands for. Let us not c the caste or relligion or party of the person while electing them. What use relgion when we are not able live as human beings?

  • lenafernandes, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Dear Florine, Your article is well written. We want young people like you who do not have any hidden agendas to be the leaders. Why not coax some of your friends who genuinely love humankind to train themselves to be leaders? Religion of these leaders should be the human religion of loving your neighbour and helping the downtrodden without wanting a bloated image. We who are in the evening of our lives want you youngesters to lead our country to greater glory where people of all hues and ideas live without friction. Is it too much to ask "into that heaven of freedom my father let my country awake?" Keep writing, someone may be inspired to be the leader we all need irrespective of our being hindu, muslim or christian. Good luck. Lenamam.

  • John Peter Fernandes, Moodubelle/Nottingham

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Florine nice article...Christians got a good leaders but they don't come forward..For expample INDIAN CATHOILC YOUTH MOVEMENT (Mangalore President)....recent attacks he would have a shown good leadership quality!!!!forget about politics..


    Mon, Sep 29 2008


  • vish nayak, mangalore/usa

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Very well balance artical, This artical is written from heart.every managlorean today thinking in way same. In my child hood there used to be "kattai" where many people gather in the evening to discuss what happend through out the day in city and nearby places. Here everyone from different religion,cast and language used to meet. This discussion forum is the uniting forum for them.

    There usually a person used comeout as a leader among them, everyone used to respect him. Since they are regulary meeting they found each one their friend and many a time any death happens or emergency happens all used to attend. Many a times decission used take place there it self. Today I am seeing that due to advancement may be TVor people are henind earning. This kattai is missing. What people see in TV influence every one. Now there is a need to creat this "kattai" through some forum and need to find theleader. who does not represent any community/caste/language. He represent the local kattai and see the over all problem and try to sort out.

  • Kiran dsouza, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    I appriciate the thoughts of Mr.Guru Baliga. If every individual in this region takes initiative as said by Mr.Guru - then we will not have any disputes and issues concerning relegion, caste or politics. Thanks Mr.Guru for inspiring with your responsible and caring comments.

  • Guru Baliga, Bantwal/NewDelhi

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Can an independent win from Mangalore or Udupi? Person with such charisma is hard to find in this twin district. Anybody raised as a leader will be quickly compelled to take a side. If not he will be lost in this arithmatic of cast politics. Even though its not so deep in our region but every party count their sheep before fielding a candidate. Leadership in whatever form will be later coloured when they voice on issues. So its better to have a people to people initiative to strengthen the multi religious co existence. Let every individual connect with their friends in other religions.

  • Vinson Vaz, Kadri,Mangalore/Kuwait

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Dear Florine, Well I have seen you in the St Aloysius Evening College. I am a student of the college too during Ms Leena Fernandes' time. Well said Florine in this article. You have made it very clear that a leadership is the need of the hour at the moment and from the christian community.

    We have a lot of christian rpresentatives but alas they are left to their own devices, show less attention to the citizens at large. What feel Florine is we need a independant candidate, well educated without any vsted interest in any field. He/she should be not be corrupt and should selflessy work for the citizens irrespective of the caste sex or religion. He should not belong either to the Congress or the BJP or any other political party. No person or organisation should have a direct influence on him/her. That is he/she should not be obligated to any person or organisation. I know a couple of people who fall in this elite category.

    They are successful, honest and Deligent in imparting their duties. Thanks Florine for the article anyway and please keep us posted of any developments.

  • Rajesh, Barbados

    Mon, Sep 29 2008

    Well said, a very good write up and needy at time. There is still a bit vaccum, this could have been lifted if you have included few words on those who also responsible to some extent on whole issue by publishing comic booklets!! Its time all catholic and Hindus work together and bring harmony. It’s also time for swamijis and bishop /fathers to rewind and look at the mistakes they do! Anger they show!! Hope all these people will realize the mistakes and look forward to bring peace I the society.

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