Hassan: A boy hunting for a bride in this village doesn’t bother to ask the girl he is seeing, “What’s your caste?” but “what party do you support?” It may be hard to believe, but people of Gandsi hobli in Arasikere taluk of Hassan don’t marry on caste lines. All they care about is that the family they choose for their son or daughter shares their political views.
Whether it is an election to a cooperative bank or the Loka Sabha, the people of Gandsi hobli are sharply divided on political lines with some going the Congress way and others choosing to back the Janata Dal Secular (JDS).
The political divide is so deep in the village that people attend a family function only if it is held by a relative who supports the party they vote for. Says villager, Ganganna, “Whether it’s a family function or even a marriage alliance, politics is all that people care about. A match is made only if the families of the groom and bride have the same political views. If a family with a different view is keen on the match, it is told to change its political loyalty. If it doesn’t, the matter ends there.” So passionate are the villagers about their politics that it often divides father and son and brothers and sisters, reveals Ganganna. Brothers who differ politically don’t even perform rituals for their dead parents together here, according to him.
“We don’t vote on caste lines. A candidate could be of any caste, but it is his party that matters,” he explains. How did politics overtake caste in the village? Political leaders are to blame, he maintains.
“They have created the deep political rivalry that continues to rule over the minds of people even today,” he rues.
A young villager, Sandeep says Congress and JDS workers often come to blows during elections, especially if they happen to be on the same road for campaigning. So entrenched are local rivalries here that top leaders of both parties prefer to keep a safe distance from the hobli, he says. Concerned police also keep close tabs on the village, reveals an officer.