“I have already declared it officially that I am not a Hindu. I am a Lingayat”, said veteran writer Kum. Veerabhadrappa.
Speaking at the symposium on ‘Communal Harmony’ organised at Lok Nayak J.P Thinkers’ Forum at Gandhi Bhavan in Bangalore, he said that the word Hindu was coined first in 1824, earlier to that there is no clear mention of the word Hindu.
Stating that India has over 12,000 different castes and equal number of cultures, he said that there is no other country which is as culturally diverse as India. “ Therefore it is not appropriate to call all of us as Hindus”, he said.
Mentioning one of the incidents that highlight the communal harmony of the State, Veerabhadrappa said that a boy named Nijalingaswamy got lost at the age of two in one of the annual fairs. He was found after 22 years at a house of Muslim by name Usman who raise the boy. After realizing that the boy was Hindu, he made sure that the boy grew up following Hindu customs and beliefs. “ He took care of the boy without even changing his name. This is the real India”, he said.
He chided the ‘Hindu icon’ stating that some “ghosts” of Golwalkar, Nathuram Godse and Hegdewar frequently hunt some people here.
“They issue anti Muslim statements when these people are possessed by these ghosts. BJP MP, Tejaswi Surya is the good human being, educated person, but on some occasions he suddenly gets overpowered by these ghosts and he starts giving anti Muslim statements.”
“ There is one more BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal of Vijayapura. He too gives some strange statements when possessed by the ghosts”, he said.
In his address, Retired High Court judge of Karnataka Justice Nagmohan Das opined that the religion came into existence to address the grievances of the people. Thus, religion is nothing but the voices of oppressed people.
Claiming that Kashmir has over 92% Muslims where many Muslims women do not want to wear burqas. “But some fundamentalists are forcing women to wear burqas. Forcing people to apply vermilion, sporting a beard etc. is all part of fundamentalism. We have to oppose them. We should not become anti religious but we all must protest all efforts to de-democratize the religion”, he said.
Senior journalist, B. N. Hanif regretted that the media is running behind Television Rating Points (TRP). When there were thousands of Muslim girls who go to schools and colleges without wearing Hijab, the media did not show that. “ The education standard would not have declined if the students were allowed to wear Hijab in classrooms. Similarly, Islam also would not lose its sanctity if the students sit in classes without wearing Hijab”, he said.
Calling upon people to think about the nation first, he said that countless people have lost their jobs. Industries are getting shut, but the media is not ready to talk about it. The government has already borrowed a loan of lakhs of crores. “ Some politicians say that the Hindu blood is flowing in their veins but will they get Hindu blood if they go to a blood bank and ask for only Hindu blood”, he remarked sharply.
Soumyanand Swamy, Mufti Mohammed Ali, Father Ceral Victor and former chief minister H. D. Kumaraswamy was present.