Karnataka’s giant leaps backward
My local bank has actually a framed image of M. Visvesvaraya on its wall, a curious throwback to an era of optimistic belief that in time, Mysore, and later on the enlarged State of Karnataka, would take its place among the most modernised and industrialised regions of India. Certainly, Visvesvaraya, as Chief Engineer and after that Dewan and even in informal capacities, hoped that the State would get in into and reorganise almost all elements of financial, social and cultural life to make Mysore modern– in the lack of a social class prior to self-reliance that might lead that improvement.
But his picture in the bank is marked by vibhuti and vermillion markings, a sign of what Indians prefer to do to even the most ardent repudiators of custom: praise them, instead of stroll their course. ‘Industrialise or die!’ was amongst his most well-known injunctions, however he left no stone unturned in proposing a developmental program for everything, from the establishment of Sahitya Parishats and club cultures to social audits of federal government work– the State in impact making up for an absent civil society. And he considered ‘tradition’ (naively however unwaveringly) as an ideological drag on the State’s development– nearly amazing in these times.
Policies of addition
Karnataka was as soon as understood for its pioneering policies of inclusion– the Miller Committee Report of 1919 which proposed reservations for Backward Classes (though note, not those then described as ‘Panchamas’ and appointments were lastly accepted just in May 1921), family planning and rights of women to home in1934 It was heralded for the vibrant and imaginative post-independence procedures of Chief Ministers like Devaraj Urs (1972-80), who has been justly well-known as among the most essential non-communist Chief Ministers, fiercely dedicated to deepening democracy and social equality. The State has actually had upper caste Chief Ministers who stabilized the 2 dominant castes along with non-dominant caste Chief Ministers. All of them added to the State’s dedication to democracy and advancement in various methods. Whatever their peculiarities and failures, none of them made an agenda of pitching hate. The State’s magnificent financial achievements evolved in ways that are too obvious to bear repeating.
Arguments on anti-cow massacre
Today we are in sheer decline, thanks to the existing leadership, which insists on taking its hints from the Indo-Gangetic regions of India, instead of wanting to more current peninsular accomplishments in managing natural disasters, pandemics, or in encouraging academic reform. In hurrying through an anti-cow massacre regulation without a dispute, today government undoes more than a century of nuanced debate and policy on the matter.
For example, Mysore’s Dewan Seshadri Iyer declined those members of the Mysore Legislative Assembly requiring restriction of cow slaughter not once however 4 times (in 1884, 1885, 1889, 1890), stating that the custom-made had actually remained in presence for so long that it was difficult to prohibit it without the consent of all classes of individuals.
Years later, M.K. Gandhi took the same stand when the Mysore Cow Protection Committee, an all-Hindu body constituted by the Maharaja to check out the prospect of a legislative restriction, requested his opinion in1927 He too stated that legislative bans were worthless: Mysore had currently led the way in developing a more positive programme. “It has,” he said, “from all accounts received by me, a popular prince, an informed popular opinion, no Hindu-Mussalman question, and an understanding Dewan. Mysore has likewise the Imperial Institute of Dairying and Animal Husbandry … The state has, therefore, all the materials essential for developing a positive policy” (focus mine). No surprise, as Dewan Mirza Ismail later recounted, “the committee revealed itself unanimously versus any limitation in the matter of cow slaughter” unlike other States. “Their opinion,” he said, “was based primarily on economic grounds.” How amazing that guys separated by time and area– Seshadri Iyer, M.K.Gandhi, Mirza Ismail, and Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV– shared a different idea of India, which was economically independent and culturally inclusive.
Following the U.P. model
The present Karnataka federal government now flatters Uttar Pradesh’s ‘administrative genius’ by imitation, and proposes to safeguard ‘its’ women by passing a ‘love jihad’ law. It is as if Karnataka is mesmerised by U.P., which has seen child deaths in hospital, fatal collapsing infrastructure and gradually increasing violence against females. All this is intensified by the illegalities of the State, and its commitment to threatening its minority population.
Karnataka’s own men in saffron, the mathadhipatis, who number in the thousands, had for long kept a reputable range from the hurly burly of representative politics (or had at least refrained from public declarations). They have actually now shown no hesitation in appearing in public to voice their demands, particularly on the heated debate on ‘reservations within appointments’ and on whether their sub-caste deserves more ministerships and administrative headships. Not a day passes without one or another Swamiji threatening padayatras, rallies or other demonstrations on the concern of just how much more their micro-group is worthy of. Karnataka hence moves closer to ‘proportional representation’, far from the democratic impulse of the Communal Federal Government Order.
The word ‘advancement’ sends shudders through the spines singled out for such effort, and equally those neglected of it. Agrarian communities feared the arrival of ‘development’ in the form of the changes to the Land Reforms Act of 2020 that allowed non-agriculturalists to buy land. In keeping with the penchant of the nationwide government for ‘larger and much better’ even in the time of monetary distress, the Chief Minister has actually announced a500 crore ‘remodelling’ of the Anubhava Mantapa at Basava Kalyan (formerly Hyderabad Karnataka), among the least developed regions of the State.
The work of Vivesvaraya and a legion of progressive administrators now stands tainted.
Janaki Nair has taught history at the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi
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( the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.).