Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cry, my beloved Mangalore

My dear students,

Ever since the troubles in Mangalore, last year, when fanatics had attacked Christian churches, and this year, when fanatics attacked a pub, Mangaloreans settled across the globe have been worried about what is happening back home.

Mangaloreans, including me, are a community that migrate easily. But their roots remain back home, to which they return during the vacations and where they have built houses on the small pieces of ancestral land they own.

My father was a railwayman, having left his native village of Sornad, in Bantwal taluka, some 50 miles south of Mangalore. Denis John Pinto migrated to Bombay and got married to Mary Therese D’Cruz on 22 May 1950. But through his many transfers in the Signal & Telecom Department of Central Railway, he kept returning to his native Mangalore, steadfast in the belief that that was the surest way to ensure that his children would keep their roots nourished.

Not only Mangaloreans, but every decent citizen in India is shocked by what is happening in Mangalore. Let’s listen to a son of Mangalore – Amith Prabhu.


Hooligans today, terrorists tomorrow

“I had remained silent when the churches were attacked last September in my home-town of Mangalore. I had not woken up to the gravity of the situation, except for some still images of a community in pain.

But the Republic Day eve this year was different. As shots of the pub attack began flashing on national news channels, I was convinced My Mangalore was no more the same.

Having been born and bred in Mangalore, I have seen gradual changes in various spheres over the first two decades of my life there. The last eight years have been different: a sudden rise of mindless hooligans, backed by political parties.

The disturbing fact is that harmony is being destroyed in the name of religion. And many of the attackers are well-educated youth, who could use their potential in several constructive activities.

There is a direct link between these disgusting activists and the state government. This was expected after the last assembly elections. However, the level to which these self-styled moral police are stooping, and the way they are moving around scot-free, following these criminal acts, is appalling.

In the recent pub attack, the electronic media (forgive me this accusation) was an equal partner. In order to get cheap content, they chose not to inform the police, who could have caught these lousy miscreants red-handed by laying a trap.

While destroying property to protest unacceptable behaviour in a pub is pardonable, the beating up of customers, especially women and whacking them in front of cameras, is not just audacity but calls for public whipping. Unfortunately, our judicial system does not provide for such punishment. And news is already out that most of the dirty fellows, who were arrested, are out on bail.

Except for the magnitude and the enormous loss of life, I do not see a difference between the terrorists of Pakistani origin, who attacked Mumbai in November, and these cruel rowdies who vandalised the pub and assaulted men and women partying there.

These are no less than terrorists and are trying to gain free publicity, thanks to the news-hungry TV channels that encourage such acts by covering them with gusto.

That’s what the terrorists on 26/11 wanted in Mumbai. And that’s also what these sick men in Mangalore wanted on 24/1. Both of them got it on a platter.

NGOs usually end up as political parties or terror outfits. The roots of terror are sown during such organised programmes. Mangalore is being used as a ‘laboratory of hate’.

Thankfully, Mangalore is one of those Indian cities that are both tolerant and resilient. Mangaloreans may forgive, but won’t forget. Such violent attacks on harmless citizens will be given fitting replies.

A national movement against terror and hate is taking birth. Mumbai saw a glimpse of this campaign during December. Another “freedom struggle” is waiting to take off.

This time, against the hooligans of today, who are training to become the terrorists of tomorrow.”


Amith Prabhu is an Indian communications professional, who has lived most of his life in Mangalore, and is currently based in Mumbai.

The next piece is by Kajal Iyer, who works with the electronic media in Mumbai.


Men need to control women

“Isn’t Vijay Mallya from Karnataka? So is the state ready to give up its highest revenue-generating industry, at the whim of some group that thinks it is protecting Indian culture?

And pray, what Indian culture are they talking about? They surely haven’t read about how the great courtesan Amrapali was revered as a woman of learning and influence by this very Indian culture.

Have they read Bhasa, Kalidasa or Jaidev’s Geet Govind, which are our cultural heritage? They sure haven’t read any of the scriptures or maybe they have only read select paragraphs of the Manu Smruti, which is why they think they need to control women.

Every so-called culture in the world has this great insecurity about their women forgetting their culture. It’s strange, isn’t it, that men beat women, calling themselves the custodians of culture, and demanding that the women should ‘mend’ their ways so that they would give the correct cultural knowledge to future generations?

If these men are such great custodians, they should be able to impart all the so-called cultural values themselves, isn’t it? Why hold women responsible?

Tacit supporters of the attacks say that the liquor culture is spoiling our youth. Such incidents might help ‘correct’ some errant youth. Then shouldn’t they become volunteers with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)? Strange how even attacking someone’s personal space is interpreted as the constitutional freedom to voice a protest.

I don’t enjoy pubs much. But that doesn’t mean I have the right to judge my friends, who frequent pubs. Have these men ever heard the quote, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend, till death, your right to say it”.

Oops, I forget, the quote isn’t Indian, na?”


Kajal has her own blog.


Where do we go from here?

We have seen a lot of petitions on the Net - sign them. Be active. Join groups. The main thing is action, not mere writing and discussion on the Net. Remember, the hooligans have to be faced on the streets. Like the terrorists were confronted in Mumbai.

Here, there is a lot of scope to act on our own. We do not have to rely only on the government or political parties.

Suggest action. Wherever you are, get in touch with like-minded persons.

Your support is my strength.
- Joe.

Pune, Tuesday, 3rd February 2008.