‘Dambar Dabbis’ at the sad mercy of Lord Rama

Few regions on earth can boast the rich cultural tapestry of Karnataka’s west coast.

The place is home to “literate” Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists; to speakers of a multitude of languages who eat different foods, dress differently. But the ongoing segregation and ghettoisation of communities, often, it seems, to the drumbeats of a democratically elected government, receives scant notice.

Suddenly, friends are no longer just friends; classmates are no longer just classmates; neighbours are no longer just neighbours. Almost everybody and almost everything is beginning to be brazenly, dangerously viewed through a constricted  aperture custom-made to enhance doubt, suspicion and mistrust.

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Sudipto Mondal, in today’s Hindu, reports from Panja, the chikungunya capital of Dakshina Kannada, where the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has “successfully enforced” a ban in the Government composite pre-University college on Muslim girls wearing the burkha.

“Many girl students spoke about the humiliation they face every day. One of them said, ‘All the other girls have started calling us ‘Dambar Dabbi’ (boxful of tar). They have come up with rhymes that poke fun at our outfits.’

“According to her, every time she and her friends put on or take off their burkha, a few boys and girls start clapping or chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram‘. Her classmate claimed that some students regularly take her headscarf from her bag and hide it.

“The bullying extends outside the campus. An elderly woman told The Hindu in confidence that some men forced her to take off her burkha when she was walking back home one evening. ‘When I agreed, they began to celebrate and raised slogans of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’,’ she said.

Read the full article: ‘We were friends once but not any more’

Also read: Giving Lord Rama a good name, 24x7x365