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The Rise of Communalism
Karnataka Votes 2023
As the state is moving towards elections in two months, a major concern is the upsurge in communalism that Karnataka has witnessed over the past few years and the effect this will have on the elections.
The rise of communalism in Karnataka has historically coincided with the rise in the fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the past three decades. In 2019 the celebrations associated with Tipu Jayanti which marked the birthday of the 18th century ruler of Mysore was banned and a legislation banning cattle slaughter in the State was passed. Since July 2021, there has been a spike in the number of communal incidents clearly targeted at religious minorities.
The panel will discuss how this trend towards majoritarianism affects the progressive image of the state, whether these communal incidents often backed by the government has dented this image and how this will affect voter behaviour.
Karnataka will be going in for Assembly elections in the middle of 2023. The Bangalore International Centre has organised a series of talks – Karnataka Votes 2023 – that highlights the various elements of state politics, its culture and history that are often unique to this state, and affect the voting pattern. This is the third session in the series.
Shivasundar is a columnist and activist in Karnataka. He writes weekly columns in the Kannada Daily Vartha Bharathi and runs a video column in its website under the title Samakaaleena. He is regular contributor to The Wire, The News Minute and Sabrang.
Phaniraj K is part of the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike (Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum) and has tracked, and agitated against, communalism in coastal Karnataka for more than two decades. He is the Co-founder of Communal Harmony Forum in the Udupi District which has been striving for peace and harmony since 1998He has served as Professor in Civil Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology for more than 3 decades.
Pooja Prasanna is the Editorial Head of Reporting at The News Minute. A multimedia journalist with over 14 years of experience, she has reported on major events in south India. She reports on politics and policies with special focus on communalism, corruption and human rights. She is also an adjunct faculty at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. She has worked with Republic TV as Bureau Chief for south India and as a Principal Correspondent with Times Now.
Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed
Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed is an award-winning journalist with Frontline newsmagazine and is based in Bengaluru. His article on Syed Ahmed Esar published in Frontline magazine is available here.