Members of Rajya Vokkaligara Okkuta protest against Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad for his statements on Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, during Tipu Sultan Jayanti, at Town Hall, in Bengaluru (Photo: DC)
Bengaluru: There seems to be more than what meets the eye in organising Tipu Jayanti celebrations. While the state government had perhaps many reasons and petitions filed by various Tipu organisations to defend its decision to hold the celebrations, feedback from the Muslim community and the Jayanti schedule fixed across the state suggest that the government seems to have cleverly designed it to whip up emotions.
After the first-ever Tipu Jayanti attracted strong protests and ended on a sad note, the Karnataka Minority Welfare Department announced that there is a big demand from across the state to organise Tipu Jayanti celebrations. "The government did not do it on its own. We had received several petitions from Tipu organisations requesting the government to celebrate Tipu Jayanti and considering the demand, it was decided to organise the event," Syed Sharfuddin, media advisor to Minority Affairs Minister Qamar ul Islam said.
Siddaramaiah is out to woo microscopic minorities for his party. His predecessor B.S. Yeddyurappa had made Kanaka and Valmiki Jayantis state festivals. After becoming chief minister, Siddaramaiah announced state festivals for Bhagiratha to respect the sentiments of Bestas (fishermen community) and Devara Dasimayya, the hero of Nekaara (weavers) community and also held functions in Vidhana Soudha.
The Devara Dasimayya function turned violent with historian Dr M. Chidananda Murthy opposing it. Recently, he announced that the state will hold a festival for Vemana to honour the sentiments of Reddy community.
The other reason why a ‘political design’ could be behind Tipu Jayanti is the government’s oral order to district administrations. "Though Tipu’s birthday was on November 10, we told districts to hold the Jayanti on any day that is convenient to them," sources in the government admitted. In Mysuru, the Jayanti was organised on Wednesday a day after the Bengaluru function. In Chamarajnagar, is is scheduled for November 21. "Because of law and order concerns, we asked them to hold it on different dates," sources said.
This fueled speculation that Mr Siddaramaiah is on a mission to carry out social engineering ahead of council and taluk and zilla panchayat elections.
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