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Karnataka Government‘s Unconstitutional Action

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

24 July, 2012

Karnataka government order asking the temples of the state to perform rituals so that rains come to save the farmers and cattles of the state is a blatant violation of constitution. Can a state government of a secular country invest huge amount of money on performing puja to bring rain? How will this influence the minds of our children?

Karnataka government’s revenue department has issued a circular to nearly 34000 temples of the state to conduct several rituals to bring rains in the state so that the farmers may be saved from the severe drought situation prevailing there. It is not that these rituals would be performed free of cost. The state government has made elaborate arrangements to fund these ‘projects’ but according to political leaders of the state, it might come from other schemes. The government, it seems, is determined that once these rituals are performed, the Gods will be pleased and rain will pour in the state for the welfare of the people and cattle.

According to news published in the Hindu, the government has sanctioned a maximum of Rs 5,000 for each temple and the amount costing the event would be around Rs 17 Crore. The government has too much faith in some of the temples which are mentioned in the circular.

This GO is a serious violation of India’s constitution which, as per article 51A asks the government to promote humanism and scientific temperament. The other noted violation is the secular preamble of our constitution. If the government believes in different powers of Gods then it must give support to all the religious institutions so that it is not charged blatantly violating the secular constitution of the country and promoting the activities of a particular faith.

Unfortunately, such incidents have not happened all of a sudden in Karnataka and other states where the Hindutva party is in power. Those who see RSS and BJP as two different outfits make mistake in ignoring the nature of the political class of the Hindutva party which learn its basics in the RSS and when they come to power, their first agenda is to impose those communal and sectarian ideas on the people. The flirtation of the Hindutva with Mutths is an open secret. After Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh became the laboratory of Sangh Parivar. They do not seem to work for the people but using the issues which are sentimental and will take people back to primitive age. The states have open heartedly given huge lands to big swamis, Babas and other religious gurus while no land is found for the poor for redistribution to the poor.

Last year, during a historical celestial event, the Madhya Pradesh’s Minister for science deplored scientitists for saying that the esclipse does not influence anything leave alone ‘Graha’ and it is an event that we should celebrate. The Minister virtually chided Prof Yash Pal, one of the very few academics who have been very vocal in promoting science and scientific temperament in the country, saying that he was speaking against ‘proved’ Indian values. In Madhya Pradesh, the schools are forced to do ‘Surya Namaskar’. In both Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the schools have been asked to educate students about ‘Gita’ the holy text of the brahmanical Hindus. The Ministers for education in these states defended their action terming Gita as a secular book and good for everyone. And this has happened despite the fact that education should be made secular and free from religious biases put in the text. The minorities and all those who do not believe in these text and faiths face difficult in going to the government schools. It clearly means that it is a violation of constitution rights of people to go the school as the schools and educational system is promoting a particular religious brand and values.

Just a few days ago, we watched in horror, how a young girl was compelled to sit on fast in Aligarh to bring rain. Sooner, the girl became a ‘Devi’ and thousands of women and men started sitting around her and supporting her cause to please God ‘Indra’. It was a terrible site and rationalists condemned this incident as the girl was suffering and really did not even know what she was doing but those surrounding her was making her ‘goddess’. Finally, the district administration acted and the fasting of the girl was stopped. The Monsoon was already on its way in the north.

Hence, Karnataka government order to temples perform certain rituals to bring rains in the state is a dark chapter in the history of India. It may look simple but it violate our constitution and take us back to those ages where we impose the brahmanical supremacy on the people of the state. Can a state where we have the finest scientists and science institutions allow such to happen? Why does Karnataka need Infosys, Wipro and other institutions which have made the state proud by their hard work and research? There is an Indian Institute of Science in Banglore, apart from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited but this look futile when the government of the state focuses on these issues which are nothing but utterly communal and blatantly violate our constitution. That such an action is coming through a government order is more shameful. For the individual cases of spreading superstition, we can ask the state to take action against the individuals as happened in the cases of Nirmal Baba, Pappu Baba and others but what action should be taken against a state government which is wasting tax payer’s money on fictitious rituals meant to help the Brahmins of the state. It seems that the temples of Karnataka are not receiving many funds that they need government charity of Rs 5,000 each to keep the Lord Indra happy. If Karnataka government has no faith in the Met department, it must close them down and appoint a group of Brahmins to diktats the auspicious moments for everything. We all know how former Prime Minister Dewe Gowda took oath on a auspicious day when he became prime minister but those auspicious occasions did not stop the fall of Gowda and his family. Yedirappa has performed numerous Yjnas but that did not save him from vacating his seat which is still far away from him.

The central government must act on such rhetoric of the states. One thing is sure; there is a need for central guidelines on the issue of Promoting Scientific temperament, humanism and human rights. That apart, state should also be send specific guidelines how our secular values should form part of our curriculum and anything which bars our children from creative thinking and modern outlook should be prohibited. It is the duty of the state to promote ideas of democracy, human rights, scientific temperament, humanism so that our children are prepared for 21st century and do not follow those primitive brahmanical ideas that has stopped our march to modernity and brought disrepute to the country.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com



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