Bengaluru: The 13th edition of Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFes) which began on Thursday evening and already got into controversy for portrayal of Hindutva icon, V. D. Savarkar but exclusion of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
The event is being organised by Karnataka Film Academy and was inaugurated by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
In the inaugural program, cutouts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Savarkar were also placed on the stage.
Savarkar is a hero for cheerleaders of hindutva. During his incarceration at the cellular jail in Andaman Islands, Savarkar wrote several mercy petitions to the British government. After his release from the jail Savarkar professed his loyalty to the British government and started giving speeches and started working towards his theory of Hindutva and Hindu nation. He was staunch opponent of Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of plurality and Hindu muslim unity.
In 1948, Savarkar was also charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi; however, he was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.
The presence of Savarkar cutout has brought strong criticism from the people and social media is rife with comments on Basavaraj Bommai and BJP govt. love for Savarkar.
BIFFes Inaugral Event
The BIFFes inaugural event was at University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore’s auditorium.
Before inviting CM on the stage, a small introductory video clip about Chief Minister Bommai was shown. Similar clips about the chief guests, actor Bharati Vishnuvardhan, Malayalam director Priyadarshan was also presented.
Other dignitaries including Minister Muniratna, actor Darshan, producer Rockline Venkatesh, Ahwini Punit Rajkumar Information Commissioner P. S. Harsha and academy chairman Sunil Puranik.
After the address of Bommai, the cultural event started. With some of the songs, tribute was paid to actor Punit Rajkumar who died recently.
In one the events on the portrayal of ‘role models’, a dance was presented where icons such as Kittur Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna, Chatrapati Shivaji, Mahatma Gandhi, Jhansirani Lakshmibai, Subhas Chandra Bose and Onake Obbavva were remembered.
At the end of the dance event, the artists stood together on the stage. At that time, around a ten feet tall cutout of Patel and Savarkar was displayed.
Among the list of ’role models’ there was no inclusion of B. R. Ambedkar or Karnataka Warrior Tipu Sultan who fought the British.
Later, gaurilankeshnews.com contacted Chairman Puranik why Savarakar’s cutout was displayed Puranik shot back ” Do you think Veer Savarkar was a terrorist? He further said that the government is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit programme to mark 75years of Indian independence. Therefore, they are remembering people such as Bhagat Singh, Savarkar and Chandrashekhar Azad.
When asked why they did not consider Ambedkar for the event, he said that “ We have remembered all those who have fought for the freedom of Indians. We are working as per the constitution of India written by Ambedkar”, he said.
When inquired why Shivaji was presented, Puranik said that like Sangolli Rayanna and Laksmibai, Shivaji too was a warrior. ” He strove to protect Indianism. And you are saying he was not a freedom fighter?”, he replied.
When asked why Tipu Sultan was neglected, he gave justification that it was not possible to include everyone in a 10 minute long programme. Moreover Tipu is a controversial man, he said.
When asked why he did not consider Shivaji as a controversial person who meted out injustice to Kannadigas, Puranik said that in his view, Shivaji was a gallant warrior. “ Don’t talk of patriotism or love for Kannada etc. Over six lakh people have fought for freedom in India. Is it possible to show all of them in a ten minute event?”, he replied.