I had written an article, Caste is cast in stone, a few days ago about how we as a society are still shackled by the caste prejudice. I was strongly reminded of it again today.
Today’s front page news in TOI was Yeddyurappa smashes Naidu’s laptop, slaps minister. The news described the tantrum thrown by the outgoing chief minister of Karnataka.
The whole scene was pathetic, but what I found even more disturbing was how the scribe, Anil Kumar M., described the scene.
Such was the 68-year-old Lingayat leader’s anger that when a minister close to him woke him up at his Race Course Road residence, he slapped the minister’s face.
Why did the journalist have to mention that Yeddyurappa was a Lingayat?
According to Wikipedia, Lingayatism, also known as Veerashaivism, is a distinct Shaivite denomination within Hinduism in India. It makes several departures from mainstream Hinduism and propounds Monotheism.The adherents of this faith are known as Lingayats.
Now read what the journalist said again. Did stating Yeddyurappa was Lingayat add anything to the news content than a casteist flavour?
So far, we have always said that it’s the politician who uses caste, religion or language to divide the people to further his gains. The caste equations are very finely manipulated for political gains. Independent press, the fourth estate, is expected to be impartial and is expected to uphold the greatest moral values. It is expected to guide the masses in making the right choices. And here is a journalist, working for a reputed publishing house like Times of India, referring to a political leader by his religion when it is completely unwarranted. I can’t understand this. Can you?