Rationalists should think beyond ‘fighting the enemy’

4:06 PM, Monday, December 21st, 2015
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jananudiMangaluru : Dalit writer Devanur Mahadeva on Saturday regretted that rationalists were limiting themselves to “fighting the enemy” rather than devising their own strategy to bring about social change.

Speaking at the inauguration of the third edition of the Jana Nudi, a literary convention in Mangaluru that was started as a counter to Alva’s Nudi Siri being held at Moodbidri since a decade, he extensively quoted the late Kannada literary icon Kuvempu to emphasise the need to re-interpret epics and scriptures like the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. This process, he said, was like “getting new gold jewellery made by melting the old ones, rather than discarding them.”

On the Gita, he said there was a need to “operate the cancerous growth of caste discrimination” from it and retain its useful essence. He also emphasised the need to look for what could be later interpolations in ancient texts. Kuvempu, he added, employed this discreet approach to understand all texts of the past. It is important to view these texts with a “metaphorical vision” rather than get stuck with their literality, he added. Mr. Mahadeva warned that intellectuals may find themselves losing any connect with the community if they do not find the “cultural wisdom” to find new ways of relating to society.

Jana Nudi should shed its tag as a counter to Nudi Siri and be reborn as a movement of the common man, Mr. Mahadeva said.

Farmers’ leader and progressive thinker Kadidal Shamanna said the “(language or the word) was moving away from “jana” (common man), referring to disintegration of Kannada. Wondering why Jana Nudi was just being held in Mangaluru, Mr. Shamanna urged the organisers to conduct similar events across Karnataka.

Writer Banu Mushtaq, in her presidential address, said the Muslim community today needs to introspect on whether it was the religious identity or the larger social identity that was important. In her introductory address, writer H.S. Anupama said Jana Nudi was conceived following the continued intolerance in society and atrocities against the minorities.

 

                                   

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