Attack on Kodava wedding: Gandhigiri, not dadagiri is the answer
I congratulate the Editor of the Poomaale Kodava Weekly for starting a debate on ‘inter-caste marriages’ involving the Kodavas.
As expected, there have been strong reactions to my article in Poomaale in which I had condemned the behavior of Kodava activists during a wedding at Kodava Samaja, Bangalore. The activists had barged into the wedding hall and physically prevented the groom belonging to the Mukkatira clan from following Kodava wedding rituals because he was marrying a non-Kodava.
In my article, I had termed the actions of the activists as akin to that indulged by ‘Taliban’ elements. Probably, the use of the word ‘Taliban’ has not been liked by the activists and their small band of sympathizers.
I wish to clarify that when I used the word ‘Taliban’, what I meant was that the activists were playing the role of ‘culture police’ which is prevalent in some of the medieval countries. I did not mean that the activists were ‘terrorists’ as understood by some of the so called sympathizers of the activists.
In your issue dated May 25, 2011, you have carried two articles in which the writers have taken strong exception to my first article dated May 11, 2011.
I wish to comment on the articles of the two writers separately. However, I want to note that both the writers have justified the action of the activists in taking law into their hands at a private function for which the “misguided elements” were not invited. Interestingly, one of the writers is a lawyer who is supposed to uphold the majesty of the law!
In his incomplete article, Mr Mundyolanda P. Somanna (Ravi), of Calicut, has asked the Editor of Poomaale not to carry my articles in future in his esteemed news weekly. Besides, he wants me to apologise to the Kodava community for writing against the activists.
I wish to point out to Mr Somanna that we do not live under an ‘Emergency regime’ where fundamental rights of individuals are curtailed. Debate and discussion are the essence of democracy. I should have every right to have my say in the affairs of my community.
Moreover, I would like to bring it to the notice of Mr Somanna that I am a professional journalist and it is my duty to speak for the voiceless masses and not to be cowed down by the actions of a few misguided elements.
In his article, Mr Boverianda D. Poovanna, Advocate, Bangalore, has justified the actions of the Kodava activists. Being an advocate, Mr Poovanna should know that the actions of the activists violate several sections of the Indian Penal Code. Prima facie, the activists can be booked for unauthorized assembly, trespass, criminal intimidation, etc.
I reiterate that the law of the land has to be respected. Kodavas have always been known for their respect for rule of law.
I wish to clarify that I do not support inter-caste marriages among the Kodavas. However, I believe that every citizen has a right to choose his or her life partner.
I appeal to the activists to focus their energies for constructive work to bring unity in the community, through ‘Gandhigiri’!
EDITOR: The above article is a rejoinder issued by the Editor of this portal P.T.Bopanna to Poomaale Kodava Weekly, Virajpet in Kodagu District, Karnataka, in response to two articles featured in the Weekly on inter-caste weddings involving the Kodava community.