Mohan Alva derived legitimacy for the Hindutva project from participation of Kannada writers

Im opposed to VHPs ideology so withdrew from lit event Kannada writerImage: Banjangere Jayaprakash/ Facebook
news Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 07:17

For the third year in a row, the Kannada literary circle has been in turmoil over the participation of writers in Nudisiri organised by Mohan Alva, who is the head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishat’s golden jubilee celebrations in Karnataka.

Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash has withdrawn his participation in Nudisiri after a group of around 25 writers and journalists wrote an open letter to him and Kum Veerabhadrappa two days ago. The letter was published on the Kannada commentary website Vartamaana.

In their open letter, the signatories said that Mohan Alva was not a social worker, but an educationist and businessman, who derived legitimacy for the Hindutva project from the participation of some of the biggest Kannada writers in Nudisiri.

Published on the Kannada commentary website Vartamaana, the letter questioned the participation of progressive writers in Nudisiri at a time when there was an unprecedented protest against the atmosphere of intolerance in the country through the return of state awards. They asked Jayaprakash and Veerabhadrappa to reconsider their decision to participate in an event organised by an individual who openly associated with a right-wing group.

Banjagere Jayaprakash told The News Minute that had withdrawn his participation in the event. He said that he had been invited to speak on the subject of "New possibilities of social justice" on November 27. 

“I accepted the Mohan Alva's invite as I thought the topic was a good one to speak on, especially after Mohan Bhagwat spoke against reservations,” Jayaprakash said.

"After I got the objection letter I had to prioritize. I thought it was not right to separate from the group of writers. I took my decision independently and decided to remain in solidarity with this progressive group who feel that it would be a debacle for them if one of their comrades go against their wish," he said.   

"We belong to two different schools of thinking is an obstacle. I belong to a group of writers who are against the VHP's ideologies, However, this is nothing to do with personal conflicts, in fact my decision to stay with the progressive group is a public gesture" he added. 

In a reply to the signatories, Veerabhadrappa declined to say whether or not he would attend Nudisiri, but added that he understood their concerns. “But if writers like us stop going to Nudisiri, that platform will be used by right-wing intellectuals to spread their ideology.”

This churning has been two years in the making since an alternative literary festival called Jananudi was first organised by a group of writers and critics in December 2013.

Then too, Abhimata, the organisers of Jananudi, had written an open letter on Vartamaana, announcing the intentions of the festival. They had said that a literary festival was supposed reflect the concerns of the people and discusses these issues, and not be reduced to speeches of the glory of Kannada literature. They also criticised the extragavant use of money, and the grandeur at display during Nudisiri.

The following year, in December 2014 too, Abhimata had written an open letter to writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa asking him to reconsider his acceptance of the felicitation By Nudisiri. Ramachandrappa returned his felicitation and citation to Nudisiri.

In the past, Mohan Alva has been known to send students from institutions he runs for competitions organized by communal groups. In 2011, he sent students to participate in a Hindus-only Kabaddi tournament. The trophy was given in honour of several dead gangsters who had been implicated in heinous offences.