Voices Thursday, June 05, 2014 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | March 25, 2014 | 1.20 PM IST A lot of people know of Mangalore because of Pramod Muthalik and his gang of goons who rounded up young women in a pub and beat them mercilessly. This was in January 2009. But to get that one moment of fame, Pramod Muthalik has worked hard. Very hard indeed. After the Bharatiya Janata Party gave him primary membership and cancelled it in a matter of two or three hours, Muthalik was “pained” that the BJP had “insulted him”. Bitterly weeping, he said: “I am a sanyasi and of very good character. I have worked for Hindutva my whole life and I have no personal life of my own. When my father died I did not go see his body. I was doing the work of the RSS. I did not even go to my brother’s wedding. When I set my personal life aside and did not even go to my father’s funeral or my brother’s wedding to carry on the work of the RSS, the BJP should not have insulted my like this. Why do you (BJP) cause me pain even though I have done no wrong?” Muthalik’s work for the RSS Before he became famous across the country for the pub attack, Muthalik was famous in Karnataka. He grew up firmly believing in everything that the RSS taught him. So much, in fact, that he was called “Yelu S S”, a pun on the abbreviation RSS. In Kannada aar means 6, and yelu means 7. He got the nickname because it was joked that he was more RSS than the RSS itself. Since he formally joined that RSS in 1975, he has spent his life propagating Hindutva. He toured the state extensively as the convenor of Dakshina Bharath Pranthya of the Bajrang Dal (appointed in 1993), and honed his penchant for violence during this time. Later, with the Sri Rama Sene (founded in 2006), he did the same. During all these years, he made speeches urging young men to protect Hindu land, Hindu culture, Hindu cows, and Hindu women. At a speech made in Bangalore during the inauguration of the Sri Rama Sene’s Hindu Bhavan, he describes his “chaturvarna”: “Friends, We who have been born in Hindustan, we who have been born in Hindu religion, we who have accepted the Hindu way of life… we will form a Hindu organization, we will save Hindu culture, we will protect Hindu mothers, we will protect the go-maathe (cow, addressed as mother), we have sworn to do adopt this chaturvarna…” And this is what his speeches and “sacrifices” have achieved. Hindu Land On January 17, 2009, Pramod Muthalik called the Malegaon blasts a “jhalak” of more such events in future. The blasts, which happened near a mosque, killed 37 people and left over 100 people injured. Muthalik was all praise for Praghnya Singh Thakur and said: “There is soon going to be a Pragya Singh in every Hindu house… Imagine what we can achieve if every Hindu woman gives up the cooking ladle in favour of a bomb?” The audience responded with shouts of “Har Har Mahadev,” and Muthalik asked “What is there to be afraid of while making these [above] statements?” Hindu Culture A few minutes before he was arrested, Muthalik said: “Why is everybody making a big issue of the attacks? We took steps to protect our Hindu culture and punished girls who were attempting to destroy that tradition by going to pubs. We will not tolerate anybody who steps out of this code of decency.” He maintains his stand even to this day. Hindu cows On March 13, 2005, in Adi Udupi in Udupi district, Hajabba who was then 65 and his son Hasanabba were stripped naked, beaten to a pulp in public by the Hindu Yuva Sene, for illegal transportation of cattle. The following morning a Kannada daily published a report on the front page with a photograph of the two men trying to cover their bodies as they were being beaten up. Outrage against the incident forced the police to lodge a case of assault against “an unidentified group”. The photographer, Umesh Marpalli handed over the film negative and the photographs to the police and even received an acknowledgement. But the police conveniently lost it and the case fell apart. The court said that the photographs had been morphed. So, Hajabbas bones were not broken by these people. His dignity violated, his son’s dignity violated, both men badly assaulted, his family’s pain, none of this had happened. Hindu women Even by a conservative estimate, there is one incident every week, all across Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, in which young men and women are assaulted because they chose each other over their castes or religions. At the mercy of the Muthalik-inspired, young women have been terrorised and traumatised. They have begged their protectors to please let them go, not beat them, all, by addressing them as “anna” (elder brother). And the Muslim boys they were with beaten black and blue. The police summon the couple’s parents and advise them to teach their children a lesson. Come Valentine’s Day, and Muthalik sheds his usual aggression to play match-maker. He had threatened to marry off couples that they “caught” together on February 14. Now you understand how busy he was when his father died and his brother got married. Muthalik has been directly responsible for influencing so many of the men who assault people in the name of Hindu Land, Hindu Culture, Hindu Women and Hindu Cows. None of these organizations have formal membership. They are, as their office-bearers repeatedly tell anyone who asks “open to all Hindus”. All of them hop from one organization to another depending on local politics, their personal equations with the organization’s leaders, and their own personal ambitions. It makes little difference what the name of the organization is. All of their victims, shed tears, suffer injuries and unimaginable pain. And through all of this, Pramod Muthalik has smiled. Now you know, why Muthalik did not go to his father’s funeral or his brother’s wedding. He was too busy destroying other people’s lives. He should thank his lucky stars that an “insult” is all he got for it.
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