We should not be surprised. After all, Narendra Dabholkar was warned he would meet the fate of Mahatma Gandhi. How is this different from the murder of the Syrian scholar Khaled al-Assad by the Islamist fanatics of ISIS? Or the systematic murder of secular bloggers in Bangladesh? There is every likelihood that this case too, like the murders of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, will go unpunished. Unless Indians decide to protect their democratic rights, we shall all live under the threat of assassination by the hoodlums who have gained confidence under the new dispensation. Rest in peace, Kalburgi sahib. We shall remember you in our battle to uphold the freedom of thought. DS
"My dad was not killed over property or any other dispute. He was facing threat from groups who could not digest his views on religion."
The 77-year-old scholar often spoke up against blind belief and so was no stranger to controversy. In June last year, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal in Dakshin Kannada accused Kalburgi of hurting the Hindu sentiments. Kalburgi had supported the late UR Ananthamurthy by saying, at a seminar about Karnataka’s Anti-superstition Bill, that there was nothing wrong in urinating on stone idols. Ananthamurthy himself drew the ire of Hindu groups when he recounted doing this in his childhood. The VHP and Bajrang Dal burnt effigies of Kalburgi and had demanded his immediate arrest.
One of the biggest controversies Kalburgi found himself in was back in 1989 over his first Marga treatise, a collection of papers on Kannada folklore and religion that included articles about Veerashiva saint Basava, his wife and sister. Kalburgi received death threats and had to recant references to the Veerashaiva founder Basava, his wife and his sister. At the time Kalburgi said in an interview that he recanted many years’ work tosave the lives of his family members. But, he said, he also committed intellectual suicide on that day.
Kalburgi was a champion of the Kannda language and was highly critical of the Karnataka government’s plans to shut down Kannada-medium schools. Kalburgi’s murder is a reminiscent of the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013 and social activist Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in February. Both men were shot at close range while on their morning walks.
Bajrang Dal leader says another rationalist next
Rationalist’s cold blooded killing shocks Karnataka’s literary capital
Petition in Supreme Court Accuses NIA of Soft-Pedaling Hindutva Terror Cases
Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism in India
Rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle”
India's god laws fail the test of reason
India's new theocracy
Voice of rationality silenced by two bullets, shot point-blank
The Broken Middle - my essay on the 30th anniversary of 1984
The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Inquiry Commission Report (1969)
The Abolition of truth
RSS tradition of manufacturing facts to suit their ideology
Communist Party of India's Homage to Gandhiji October 2, 1947 // Communist Party's Appeal to the People of Pakistan August 15, 1947
V.D. Savarkar and Gandhi’s murder
Madhu Limaye's (senior socialist leader) observations on the RSS (1979)
A Hard Rain Falling (on private armies and political violence in India) (EPW, July 2012)
THE DELHI DECLARATION OF JANUARY 18, 1948