Pluralism essential for prevailing peace: Nagathihalli Chandrashekar

Pluralism essential for prevailing peace: Nagathihalli Chandrashekar

"Pluralism is the source of energy in the world. Denying pluralism is equivalent of denying life," said filmmaker and writer Nagathihalli Chandrashekar.

A society that does not accept pluralism suffers for centuries, he added.

He was making the presidential address at Alva's Nudisiri 2017, the three-day literary meet which began on Friday.

"One cannot find a better example than the national anthem and state anthem (Naadageethe) to explain the pluralism, as both have upheld the beauty of the country's pluralism," he opined.

Referring to the recent developments on showcasing patriotism by singing the national anthem, he felt patriotism cannot be forced upon anyone. "One can understand patriotism through how an individual clears his debt on the land where he is born. I do not agree with the argument that children should sing the anthems and others should only rise for the anthem. If possible, all of us should loudly sing the national anthem, state anthem and raithageethe," Nagathihalli said.

Kannada and pluralism

"Kannada land has always been showcasing and upholding pluralistic character from the beginning – even amidst rifts on various issues. It is our responsibility to safeguard the base of this character in the society," the filmmaker reminded.

He called the politics of polarisation a threat to pluralistic character in the society. "Caste is being used as a weapon for discrimination and atrocity. We live in an era where people ask the name of the father to learn the caste of a person sitting next, which is a sign of a weak mindset," he felt.

"The protection of and respect for pluralism are essential for peace to prevail in the world. Attempt to kill diversity by promoting monoculture will affect the social fabric of the country and should be foiled," he advised.

Lauding the state government's Anna Bhagya, Indira Canteen and other welfare programmes, Nagathihalli said he was not a spokesperson of any party. "Instead, I try to view all these welfare programmes apolitically on a humanitarian ground. Over a period of time, we have developed a tendency to criticise all the good works in the society," he said.

Oppose communalism

"The tag of communal clashes attached to Dakshina Kannada has hurt people like me," he said, raising the issue of untoward incidents in the coastal belt. "There is a close affinity between pluralism and coastal Karnataka. It is a land where Muslims take a vow before Hindu gods and Hindus pray in Dargahs and also offer prayers at churches. Unfortunately, anything against pluralism in the region gets publicity. The media should stop glorifying such incidents," he said.

There is a need to oppose any form of communalism in any religion. All religions have good and bad people. It is not right to look at a criminal through his caste and religion, he felt.

'Atom bombs in palm'

"Do not think only US president Donald Trump and North Korea president Kim Jong have atom bombs. The mobile phones in our hand are equal to atom bombs. Within a fraction of second, it can sow the seeds of hatred across the world through social media. We are living amidst frustration and despair, we should ready for a better tomorrow. The differences among us should not become a fire – instead we should strive to light a lamp. By keeping forth science, we should eradicate superstition. The social media should be converted into cultural media," he suggested.

In his inaugural address, well known critic Prof C N Ramachandran said that when identity pertaining to caste, religion and language increases, then the concept of 'outsiders' increases. "The use of identity for political purpose is dangerous. All of society has religious, social, political and cultural identities. While trying to unite people through this identity, an attempt is also being made to keep away outsiders," he said and added, "In a democratic setup, identity is a tool for majority and even minority to go after power. With identity as base, we try to divide people in the name of caste, creed, religion, language and food habits."

The protest against drawing of Hindu Gods by M F Hussain, banning two novels by Masti, 'Last Temptation' play in Kerala, 'Oduva Aata' textbook by Shivaram Karanth, Nagaveni's 'Gandhi Banda' and the row over Padmavati movie shows that intolerance from identity is a never-ending story, he said and added, "The Indian Constitution binds identity and diversity. The political system that has accepted pluralism believes in curtailing rights and giving special status as inevitable."

Kannada Sahithya Parishat president Manu Baligar said that equality, unity and humanity are base for literature in the country.

Slams media

Alva's Education Foundation president Dr M Mohan Alva said that political parties have failed in building society – instead, they are dividing the society for votes. "Even the media has failed to bring out the truth. There is a need for literary meets to bind culture and art," he opined.

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