In 1995, when I invited home a non-Brahmin friend, that too, a girl; I was breaking several rules of an orthodox mindset. When I walked along with my best friend on the street near my house in Surathkal (Near Mangalore), I recall many eyes, anxiously gleaming through the windows of their homes; perhaps they were judging us, or may be many stories originated in their creative minds. Even though I was the first, at home to do so, my parents did not object it; I would want to believe that they have understood friendship in a much broader way than the others of their own generation and not just being tolerant.
Only few years later, there was a major riot due to a Hindu girl’s involvement with a Muslim boy; their personal matter was forcibly made public, followed by a major riot. Apparently I knew both of them but we, without any prior consulting, unanimously choose to ignore this event rather than scrutinizing it. I felt then and still feel that it is a personal choice of an individual of what he or she does with their lives. Their parents or responsible people in the family can guide them if need be; it does not require public attention.
Today, as I see on news channels, video clips of the attacks on a pub in Mangalore; College going boys and girls being hit and tagged with ugly names by the attackers; it brings back these old memories. The attacker’s claim that their intention is to prevent bad western culture superseding ours and i very much appreciate their thoughts; but according to me this is simply not the way to execute their intentions.
If an awareness of Indian traditions and culture has to be brought among youngsters, then inspire them; motivate them through cultural programs, talks and importance of our culture and tradition, not by instigating in them, fright. Fear has and will never bring a positive change; Hitler perhaps is a lesser example for them I guess.
If one wants to sustain our traditions, let they initiate programs to uplift our life style, our folk arts, our culture. More initiation such as Alva’s Virasat, cultural programs, Yakshagana, awareness through Pravachana and talks are needed; not through mob attacks.
And may media once in a while start presenting the better side of Mangalore such as recently held internationally acclaimed- Virasat (Cultural fest) and phenomenal achievements by Dharmasthala Veernedra Hegde. Three achievers hailing from Mangalore and Udupi are among the Padmashree awardees this year; Dr. B.R. Shetty (Founder & CEO of New Medical Centre Group of companies since 1975), Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Bannanje Govindacharya (Vedic scholar).
Media should also learn to present some of these many good qualities of Mangalore apart from highlighting the name during attacks and tagging it as Mangalore Taliban.