BY SYED ALI MUJTABA
A heartwarming example of brotherhood has come from Dakshina Kannada, the second laboratory of Hindutva after Gujarat, where a Hindu man rescued a Muslim man from a swollen river. The incident happened at Hariharapallathadka in Sullia taluk in Dakshina Kannada, on August 2, 2022.
Mohammad Shareef, an earthmover operator was clearing driftwood that had been washed away by the swollen water body and some of which were stuck on a bridge at Hariharapallathadka. During the clearing process of the driftwood, Shareef accidentally fell into the river which was in spates.
Sensing danger to the life of Shareef, his associate Somashekar Kattemane jumped into the swollen river, risking his life. The video of the rescue act of a Shareef by Somashekar is going viral on social media. The heartwarming images have received widespread appreciation by the common people negating the theory that the coastal region of Karnataka has become the second Gujarat.
Dakshina Kannada is a hotbed for communal violence. Locals say they have grown used to the endless cycle of violence that may erupt anywhere and at any time in the region with the prospect of peace seeing no light in the tunnel.
The roots of communal clashes in Dakshina Kannada dates back to Babri Masjid demolition on Nov 6, 1992 where there were communal riots. This event polarized society and made people conscious of their religious identities. Since then brainwashing of the people is being systematically being done that religion comes first and other things later. This mindset has spread in the entire region.
Simultaneously some militant Hindu groups like Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuva Sene, Sri Rama Sene, Hindu Jagarana Vedike and Hindu Rakshana Vedike has emerged in Dakshina Kannada to protect the Hindu community from the Muslims.
In response Karnataka Forum for Dignity which started as a forum to protect the minorities, Dalits and other marginalized communities soon became the Popular Front of India (PFI) and SDPI (a registered political party) to address the issues of the Muslims.
Just like the Hindu outfits, even the Muslim organizations and parties have a vested interest in the politics of polarization in the region. The SDPI which is contesting Gram Panchayat and Zilla Panchayat elections is gaining from the politics of polarization.
However, the main gainer in communal politics is the Hindu right-wing political groups. They have a huge stake in the politics of communal polarization and they want the communal pot to be boiling. This politics has a direct relationship with the Assembly elections that is due in Karnataka next year.
As such both sides do not want to make peace. However, the heartwarming example of brotherhood from Dakshina Kannada suggest that peaceful coexistence and unity in diversity, the age-old Indian tradition remains an impregnable for that cannot be breached by the extremist of any community.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at email@example.com