Friday, August 7, 2009

What is the joy in abusing culture?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The protests by certain pro-Kannada organisations against the unveiling of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue in Bangalore is shocking. This is a stark reminder of the divisive forces that exist in our society. Language, culture and religion have become bigger identity for each and every individual in a country where we stand by the tag “unity in diversity.” There seems to be a hypocritical love for 'Mine' and unbending hate for 'Yours'.

It is well known that there exists an undercurrent between the two states. There groups are against the unveiling of the statue Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi. Be it the decades old Kaveri water issue or the Hogenakkal integrated drinking water project the two states have always been locked in a battle ground. There are notorious elements on both sides trying to use a little bit of friction to create tension between the two southern neighbours.

It was very heartening to see prominent Kanadigas rally behind Chief Minister Yeddyurappa welcoming the unveiling of the statue in Bangalore. Tamil Nadu is scheduled to reply the gesture by unveiling the statue of Kannada poet Savajnamurthy in Chennai. Isn't this a good step towards bringing down the tension between the two states which was divided by politics rather than culture.

The question is what is the joy in abusing each other's cultures? What has culture got to do with the political problems that exist between these two states? How would these groups feel if one of their cultural icons was humiliated in some other state? These groups which declare themselves as the self styled protectors of culture must realise that it is important to respect other cultures so that their own culture is respected in return.

As far as such groups in both the states are concerned they should realise one fact, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will have to remain neighbouring states even if someone doesn't like it. There will be lot of cultural exchange taking place between both the communities. It must be also realised that politics and culture are best when they don't come in each other's proximity. Abusing someone's culture is lending an invitation for your own culture to be abused.


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