Bengaluru: The B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP government’s decision decided to name a flyover in Bengaluru suburb Yelahanka after ‘Veer’ V.D. Savarkar has raised the hackles of pro-Kannada organisations. They are now asking that doesn’t Karnataka have its own freedom fighters or famous personalities to commemorate, and why someone like Savarkar is being imported.
ದೇಶದ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಹೋರಾಡಿದ ಹಲವು ವೀರರ ಕಥೆಗಳು ನಮಗೆ ಸ್ಫೂರ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ತುಂಬುತ್ತದೆ. ಅಂತಹ ಸ್ಫೂರ್ತಿದಾಯಕ ಬದುಕು "ವೀರ್ ಸಾವರ್ಕರ್" ಅವರದ್ದು. ದೇಶದ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಅವರು ಮತ್ತವರ ಕುಟುಂಬ ಮಾಡಿದ ತ್ಯಾಗಕ್ಕೆ ನಾವೆಲ್ಲಾ ಋಣಿಯಾಗಿರಬೇಕು.
— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) September 8, 2020
“The BJP government is doing this only to create a controversy. Its main objective is to appease its political bosses. It does not have the interests of the state or the people’s sentiments in mind,” said Arun Javgal, a member of Kannada activist group Banavasi Balaga, who had been at the forefront of the ‘Namma Metro Hindi Beda’ campaign against the use of Hindi on metro station boards in Bengaluru.
ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಮಹನೀಯರ ಹೆಸರನ್ನು ಇಡುವ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮವಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಕನ್ನಡ ಬಾವುಟ ಹಾರಾಡುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. pic.twitter.com/gCK7yZiNnR
— ಅರುಣ್ ಜಾವಗಲ್ | Arun Javgal (@ajavgal) September 8, 2020
“Why should infrastructure projects be named after people like Veer Savarkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee? Our land has produced greats like Sir M. Visvesvaraya; what prompts these political parties to name projects after those who weren’t even remotely connected to our history or Kannada culture?” he questioned.
“A park in south Bengaluru is going to be named after Syama Prasad Mookerjee. It is as if they are doing this with a vengeance. All protests and opposition does not matter,” Javgal said.
‘Nothing but BJP agenda’
Other organisations also slammed the BJP’s decision. Kannada film director Kavita Lankesh, for example, attributed it to the BJP’s “fascist” attitude.
“There are hundreds of Kannadigas that we are proud of, whom they could have named it after. How could they even honour him like this? Just like they (BJP) want to impose Hindi as the national language, they are trying to impose this kind of ideology on us,” Lankesh said.
Ashok Chandargi, president of the Belgaum District Kannada Organisations Action Committee, also said the BJP government should have been more sensitive and respectful to Karnataka’s cultural and political history.
“This is nothing but the agenda of the BJP. What can we do now, they are in power. They think they can make such decisions and get away with them,” Chandargi said.
However, Karnataka’s Tourism and Culture Minister C.T. Ravi defended the decision to ThePrint, saying Savarkar was a “nationalist” and that’s why they were honouring him.
Congress gets slammed too
The Congress had already protested the decision to name the flyover after Savarkar, with former CM Siddaramaiah condemning it as an insult to the freedom fighters who were born on Karnataka’s soil.
“It is an anti-people decision. Why were the opposition parties not consulted?” he asked.
However, Javgal said the Congress did the same thing when it was in power.
“During the Congress rule, we had requested Siddaramaiah to name Indira Canteens after Akka Mahadevi, a 12th century poet revered by all in the state. We had asked them to call it Akka (older sister) Canteen, instead of naming it after Indira Gandhi. They did not pay heed. They also wanted to please their bosses, like the Gandhis,” he said.
Last year, minister Ravi, too, had engaged in a Twitter war with Siddaramaiah when he alleged that Savarkar was a conspirator in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
You have accused Nationalist Veer Savarkar as Conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Are You mentally handicapped after loosing Chief Minister's post? Do You have any idea of History?
Why don't You visit Cellular Jail! I will sponsor Your trip.
— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) October 19, 2019