Bengaluru: The state of Karnataka has always resonated with feelings of integrity. The regional anthem proudly starts with the line: “Hey Mother Karnataka, who is a great daughter of Mother Bharathi (India), hail thee (Jai Bharata Jananiya Tanujaate Jayahe Karnataka Maate)”.
The state which hosts most of the important research and science facilities of the country and India’s iT capital Bengaluru is known for its cosmopolitan culture. The hostility towards the Hindi language is minimal when compared to the neighbouring states. The presence of the national parties has been dominant from the formative days of the state.
Karnataka has given the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian army, Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, who led the Indian forces on the western front during the India-Pakistan hostilities of 1947, as also General Kodendera Subbayya Thimayya, who served as Chief of the Army Staff from 1957 to 1961 in the crucial years leading up to the conflict with China in 1962.
The erstwhile Mysuru princely state was the first to sign the instrument of accession among the 544 princely states that existed at the time of the independence of India. Mysuru King Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, who owned an aeroplane, gifted it to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for his travels across the sub-continent. The act of the Mysuru king inspired many other princely states to join the Indian federation, says Arun Javagal, a Kannada activist.
“However, the continuous steps taken by the Union government undermining the sovereignty of the state since the beginning were opposed. In the United States, every state has its own constitution. Australia with a 2 crore population has separate flags for states. The idea of having a separate flag should not be seen as hostility towards the country. Sub nationalism will not challenge the integrity of the country,” he says.
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka between 2013 to 2018, sent a proposal to the Central government for a separate flag for the state. The Central government has not responded yet. The successive JD-S and Congress coalition government led by H.D. Kumaraswamy had stated that they won’t follow up on this. Now that Siddaramaiah is back at the helm, the discussion on a separate flag has come to the fore again.
Javagal states that more and more matters are being moved into the Union list from the state list. The first CM of Karnataka K.C. Reddy and Sahukar T. Channaiah who represented Mysuru state in the constituent assembly had vehemently opposed Central dominance. K.C. Reddy had questioned then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on this. The state already has a separate emblem, so why not a flag? Javagal questioned.
The people are becoming aware of the centralisation policy and the reaction could be seen in the merger proposal of the local Nandini brand with Amul. Chief Minister Siddramaiah, IT and BT Minister Priyank Kharge and many others are strongly opposing the imposition of interests of the people from north India. The policy makers should keep in mind what happened to Russia and other great kingdoms in history which used force. India should adopt a genuine federal structure, Javagal says.
Kannada activist Ashok Chandaragi opined that the separate flag would definitely challenge the idea of nationalism it is not a good idea in the interest of the nation. Having a separate emblem is a different matter, he adds.
The regional languages will gain prominence in the coming days. The PMO rectified a concern over Kannada language in 24 hours recently.