BELAGAVI: Rationalist and scholar M M Kalburgi, who was shot dead by miscreants in Dharwad on Sunday, was a born rebel. His radical thoughts, views, articles and speeches on religion had invited the wrath of the orthodox and also stoked controversies in the academic and cultural worlds.
This is not the first time that Kalburgi was attacked. In 1984, an article by him on the birth of Channabasavanna, the nephew of saint-philosopher Basavanna, had created much furore. People belonging to the Lingayat community had protested in front of his house at Dharwad and allegedly tried to attack him.
Several Veerashaiva leaders had proclaimed that they will boycott Kalburgi and his family. However, following pressure from the community, he withdrew his statement and the row came to an end.
His views on ‘Veerashaiva’ and ‘Lingayat’ also created a lot of controversies. He was critisised by the Panchapeethadhipathis (heads of the five major peethas).
According to Kalburgi, Lingayats are not Veerashaivas and not part of Hindu religion. Kalburgi’s views were not accepted by the Panchapeethadhipathis and their followers.
Five years ago, his statement on the admission to ‘vatus’ (bachelor students) to Shivayoga Mandir which trains ‘Jangama vatus’ as future Mathadhipathis of Veerashaiva Mutts created problems.
His view was that admission to Shivayoga Mandir should be given to vatus belonging to all the Lingayat sub-castes. his led to miscreants manhandling him in Gadag. Kalburgi had once opined that all the Veerashaiva mutts should be acquired by the government.
He had said that the mutt swamijis should be transferred from one mutt to another every two years as practised in Christian churches. He believed that if a swamiji remains in a particular place for more than two years he will develop unnecessary interest in that place.
When he had reacted to a article written by Dr U R nanthamurthy on urinating on idols of gods, traditional society opposed him and some Hindu outfits even threatened to ‘finish him off.’
Kalburgi even refused protection saying that he feared none as he was clear in his ideology.
‘It is an Attempt to Create Fear Psychosis’
Mysuru: The killing of Prof M M Kalburgi has shaken the literary community. Several writers and intellectuals have expressed shock over his death. Several of them called their friends and fellow writers in Hubballi-Dharwad and a few media houses in Mysuru to confirm the death. JSS Suttur Mutt seer Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji said that Kalburgi’s death is a great loss to Kannada literature.Former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, D Javare Gowda, said the killing is anattempt to create fear psychosis among intellectuals who raise their voice for truth and justice.
Not the First Intellectual to be Targeted
This is not the first case in Karnataka where miscreants have tried to silence the voice of an intellectual. On July 25, 2012, Linganna Satyampete, a firebrand writer and editor of a weekly‘Agni Ankur’ from Shahabad in Bidar district, was found dead in a drain in front of the Sharana Basaveshwara Mutt at Kalaburagi. Linganna was critical of the Veerashaiva swamijis. Though the case was handed over to CID, till today, the assailants are at large.
Attack on Kannada Culture, says writer
Noted writer Devanooru Mahadeva said the attack on Kalburgi is an attack on the state’s culture. Expressing shock over the incident, he said the government should give utmost importance to the investigation and nab the assailants. He feared that any lapse in investigation or failure to nab the culprits would send a wrong message and give an edge to criminal forces. Kannada Kriyasamithi, Karnataka State Backward Classes Awareness Forum and Zilla Kannada Sahithya Parishat have condemned the killing. They charged that those against Kalburgi’s ideology and observations have conspired to eliminate him. Suspecting that some hidden forces are behind the attack, the forums also demanded a CBI probe.
Maharashtra Link to Murder Being Probed
Police are investigating whether Kalburgi’s case has any links with the murders of two Maharashtra rationalist writers Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govindrao Panasare. Dabholkar was shot dead two years ago in Pune while Panasare was killed in Kolhapur last year. Both were against the RSS ideology and the assailants had used .32 pistol to eliminate them. Police are studying the modus operandi in the Pune and Kolhapur cases. An intelligence officer told Express that they suspect that the assailants may be from Mangaluru. He said the killers are professionals and must be supari killers.