Mangalore port money lives at the heart of fierce communal polarisation
7, Jul 2018, 12:07 PM
When the waves hit the west coast of India, one can't help but notice the sea change from communal harmony to communal formations that have plagued the city for eternity. "The people of this coast began with the assertion of community identities, which transformed into communal polarisation," said Rajaram Tolpadi, Professor, Mangalore University.
Traders waded through the waters and the coast expanded with wealth and opportunities. Result: diversity, along with divisive politics as its collateral damage. The direct antonym globalisation is communalism, said Pattabhirama Somayaji, Professor, University College, Mangaluru.
Setting up of institutions was fuelled by the wealth accumulated with hordes of people travelling to the gulf, thereby funding political ideologies. "The region's access to gulf and Mumbai brought in political funding and they were the places that became a safe haven to hide. Let's not forget, so is the case with the underworld. The underworld and communal activities go together," said Gopal Hosur, Retd Police Officer from the Mangaluru belt.
We all know this. Behind every great fortune, there is a crime. So the key to power is via ruling the powerhouse, the port. And key to quick money, is learning the ropes of smuggling. "From Kasargod to Gujarat, there are groups who want to rule over the sea route. They indulge in smuggling of electronic goods, drugs mafia, etc. This is 100% true," said Sharan Pumpwel, VHP leader.
Control over port, ease of movement of goods, accumulation of wealth, political mileage - bottom line: divide and ultimately rule. And where do you start? Somayaji said the fishermen become eventual targets.
When the fishermen get the first taste of organised consolidation, we call it radicalisation. "We are against radicalisation. Whoever in propagating this must be severely punished. But, one must say that the media too is to be blamed. They sometimes target an innocent, who becomes a victim, in turn," said Riyaz Firangipete, State Secretary, SDPI.
When you want to reign the land and the sea by way of polarisation, the side effects are plenty. Is one of them love jihad? "When they provoke, we react. Not one case of love jihad is proven," said Riyaz. Countering this, Sharan blamed the judiciary for the unproven cases.
This Arabian Sea port is ultimately caught between the devil (communal forces) and deep sea. The west coast's only enemy is the sands of time wasted in harbouring ideological extremes than rational discussions.