How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; Part 18: Two murders, political factions and Muslim polarisation conclude this series
Since socio-political polarisation along the lines of religion emerged in Coastal Karnataka, the Indian National Congress was seen as catering to multiple interests. There were leaders from Christian and Muslim communities such as Oscar Fernandes, Margaret Alva, UT Fareed and BM Idinabba and leaders from lowered castes such as Janardhan Poojary, Veerappa Moily and Manorama Madhvaraj.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 17: Multiple accounts from Dakshin Kannada describe how divisive politics corroded everyday lives
South Karnataka has a different side to offer everybody. For the occasional tourist, it brings forth images of the pristine coastline. For a historian, Karavalli is a treasure trove, with the expanse left by successive rulers and colonial governments. Even better for oral historians, as the majority, Tulu speaking population of this region believes in deities rooted in their past, the stories of whom have been passed on from generation to generation.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 16: Sangh appropriates local cultural symbols as Congress' brand of 'Hinduness' falls flat
The programmes of the Sangh relied heavily on evoking a homogenising religious pride while appropriating local cultural symbols.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 15: VHP strengthens after Hindu Samajotsav; newborn BJP distances from Sangh ahead of 1984 polls
The Hindu Samajotsava is a yearly show of strength of the Sangh Parivar in Coastal Karnataka. The first such rally was held in Mangalore in April 1981 when Alva was serving his term as the district president for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The theme that year was 'unity of Hindus.'
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 14: RSS uses religious festivals to embed sense of Hindu identity in locals, widen its base
Till the 1970s, RSS didn't have a strong mass base in urban coastal Karnataka. The organisation remained Brahmin-centric, with most leaders belonging to the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 13: Under Deoras, Sangh widens base in Dakshin Kannada, ramps up support from lowered castes
The Sangh, by now, had made its political entry into coastal Karnataka by winning the Municipal Corporation elections in Udupi. At 28, VS Acharya took charge as the youngest ever Municipal Commissioner. He later emerged as one of the most significant politicians for the BJP, going on to become the Home Minister of Karnataka in 2008. But this decade was not his to shine.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 12: Nagpur-born Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangathan alters history across Dakshin Kannada to fit national religious narratives
The manner in which oral narratives have been altered across Dakshin Kannada to fit narrative of religious forces. The most recent entrants to have altered the local history of Coastal Karnataka are the Nagpur-born Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangathan.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 11: Economic, political shifts create vacuum in Dakshin Kannada; identity-crisis furthers Hindu homogenisation
Only with the coming of the Sangh and its projects like 'Hindu Samajautsav' and 'Ittiga pooja' were these spaces revived to operate as another space from where the Sangh could further expand their base.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 10: Early Communal riots break out; Sangh ups Hindutva frenzy
Despite the Sangh's best efforts, its politics had few takers in Coastal Karnataka as up until then — the Tulu identity was more powerful than the 'Hindu' identity. The support for Hindu mobilisation remained mostly in the urban areas and small towns of the region such as Mangaluru, Ullal, Udupi, Puttur, Sullia, Karkala, Moodabidre, Ujjire.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 9: Flag wars hit Dakshina Kannada port, Bunder shows how commerce trumps communalism
The culture of flag wars at the port isn’t more than two decades old. It started after the Surathkal riots of 1998, in which the Sangh played a major role. The violence which put the region under a 12-day curfew left six Muslims and two Hindus dead. The flags on the mast of fishing trawlers docked at Bunder mark out the communal faultlines that today define Coastal Karnataka.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 8: Bharatiya Jan Sangh emerges amid nationwide crackdown on Hindu nationalists
The emergence of Bharatiya Jan Sangh: The unrest within RSS grew over the fact that they couldn't participate in elections and directly confront Congress. This led to the formation of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951 which later morphed into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 7: Hindu groups rally behind love jihad; anti-Muslim sentiments seep into local consciousness
Starting from 2005, the stories around how Muslims were indulging in love jihad to lure Hindu girls became a topic of conversation at almost every meeting of the Sangh in Dakshin Kannada. These activities were further fuelled when BJP came to power in 2008.
The incident that the leaders at the Vamanjoor Gauraksha Dal launch kept referring to, as a trigger point for their renewed anger against gau-kalathana (cow theft), happened 15 kms away from the event.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; Part 5: Gauraksha goes mainstream, Hindu groups launch National Cow Weekly in Udupi
The Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) picked up gauraksha as one of its primary action points immediately after its formation. In 1952, a national call was given by the BJS and the RSS to observe 26 October as Anti-Cow Slaughter Day and to collect signatures against slaughter.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; Part 4: RSS banned, Golwalkar forms VHP, recruits Vishvesha Teertha of Pejavara mutt
The RSS, apart from organising programs for their national leaders like Golwalkar, was mainly strategising on expansion. They hardly had any direct involvement in the freedom struggle. Some RSS leaders and cadre in the region participated individually. Under the leadership of RSS Mangalore head HV Sheshadri, his recruits started setting up shakhas in urban Mangalore and smaller towns like Udupi, Puttur and Karkala.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; Part 3: Hindu groups organise, Hindu Rashtra is defined, Savarkar makes his mark
The year 1915 is significant in Indian political history because it was then that the word 'Hindu' was used and accepted as a political term to define those who were not Muslim, Christian, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist. Until the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha was formed, the Arya Samajis, for instance, referred to themselves as 'Aryans', the followers of the ancient Vedic faith.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 2: Arya Samaj picks up Hindu nationalism after Brahmo Samaj fails to unite local communities
The Arya Samaj's activities complemented those of the Brahmo Samaj. Their founder Dayanand Saraswati had devised a purification ceremony through which Muslims and Christians could be reconverted to Hinduism.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised; part 1: Hedgewar sends emissary to Mangalore, an RSS shakha is born
It is the locus of origin for Hindutva in South Kanara, and describes one end of a long and ragged timeline that has scribbled its way to present day coastal Karnataka, which has transformed into a bastion of the Sangh.
How coastal Karnataka was saffronised: The story of rise and rise of Hindu nationalism in syncretic South Kanara
For more than three decades now, South Kanara has gained a reputation as the Sangh Parivar's laboratory. People unfamiliar with coastal Karnataka believe it is responsible for the growth of radical right-wing organisations like Hindu Yuva Sene, Bajrang Dal and Ram Sene, which propagate a form of divisive, hate-fuelled politics, using love jihad and gauraksha as instruments of coercion.