ARUN PADKI writes: 65 years after to the day when the Constitution of India was adopted paving the way for the birth of Republic of India, has the government of Karnataka undermined the spirit of our democracy by displaying a tableau of Tipu Sultan?
Knowing very well that the antecedents of Tipu are hazy and not one that could be showcased as a symbol of the State or Karnataka’s pride, the government of Karnataka’s decision to make him the theme of its tableau at this year’s Republic Day parade is not in good taste.
The fact that this tableau was chosen over Kodagu-the land of warriors tableau is only rubbing salt over their wounds.
The contribution of Kodavas to this country is immense and on this community Tipu committed atrocities unimaginable that befits a king. Only a warlord or one with extreme perversion and hatred could do these heinous acts of murder, maiming and forceful conversion.
The other people who suffered similar atrocities during Tipu’s regime were the people from Coastal Karnataka, mainly Catholics and the people of Malabar who were forced to flee to a friendlier King, the Raja of Travancore and the rest staying back, after accepting a religion forced onto them.
The government could have chosen from and done justice to the citizens of the state and country by showing Karnataka in true spirit: The splendour of Mysore Dasara in the 18th century or the Saavira Kambada Basadi (thousand-pillared temple), a Jain temple that is spell binding.
Since Dasara has its own platform to exhibit’s the splendour, this can be given a miss. As a true Mysorean, even I would not complain since we are a State with lots of diversity. One State, many worlds…indeed!
For centuries Jains in Karnataka have given more to the society than one can imagine. If the monuments they have built, their generosity and the benign leaders of the past are one aspect, the education institutions of today and the charity work they are doing in today’s world is another.
They do not ask for favours from Government unlike others although the the UPA government has conferred them the title of ‘minority’ in an election year.
Tipu’s contribution to culture, literature, Kannada language and more importantly secularism is always questioned. Kannada was replaced with Farsi language. As far as making him a freedom fighter is concerned, biased historians have compromised on his correspondences with the French to overthrow the British.
The Government of Karnataka has played dirty politics by displaying a tableau of Tipu with the elections in mind. It is for the people who are the target of appeasement here to understand the facts of about Tipu and not get swayed by these short term gimmicks. Mutual respect and equality is important than being appeased or tolerated.
And today, Kodavas and Jains, being small communities, have become inconsequential to the politicians as they are not a vote bank.