30. August 2015, Kannada, Indien: Literaturwissenschaftler M. Kalburgi (77 Jahre) erschossen

Am 30 August 2015 ist der indische Literaturwissenschaftler Malleshappa Kalburgi am hellichten Tag an seiner Wohnungstür von einem bewaffneten Attentäter niedergeschossen worden. Die Identität des Täters ist ungeklärt, jedoch liegt die Vermutung nahe, daß es sich um einen Fanatiker der Lingayat-Religion handelt (Lingayat: eine Abspaltung aus dem Hindusimus, dem Gott Shiva verpflichtet), denn Kalburgi war 1989 als Fachmann für alte indische Literatur ihrem Gründer Basava (12. Jahrhundert) zu nahe getreten (Er hatte aus erhaltenen Dokumenten gefolgert, daß die Frau Basavas mit diesem keine sexuelle Beziehung unterhielt). Obwohl er damals Abbitte geleistet hatte, machte Kalburgi aus seiner wirklichen Meinung keinen Hehl. Er sagte: „Ich habe dies getan, um das Leben meiner Familie zu retten, aber ich habe an diesem Tag intellektuellen Suizid begangen“.*
Der BBC Bericht (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34105187) über die Ermordung Malleshappa Kalburgi endet mit einer Erinnerung an andere ähnlich gelagerte Fälle in Indien:

„Dr Kalburgi’s killing comes two years after the murder of another prominent rationalist-thinker, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, in the western city of Pune. His killers have still not been caught. But Sunday’s killing reminds me of the fate of Perumal Murugan, the well-known writer in the Tamil language who earlier this year announced his decision to give up writing forever after wrathful protests against his novel Madhorubhagan by local Hindu and caste-based groups. „Author Perumal Murugan has died,“ the Tamil writer and professor posted on Facebook then.

This time a thinker actually has been killed.“

*Der Bericht über diesen Fall moderner Inquisition sollte nicht verlorengehen, deshalb sei er hier wiedergegeben (aus http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/religious-zealots-in-lingayat-community-object-to-references-to-founder-of-their-religion/1/323462.html):

The controversy over Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses may have simmered down everywhere, but a spark from the explosive issue has now lit the fuse for a similar controversy. Last month, religious zealots belonging to the powerful Lingayat community came down heavily on Dr M.M. Kalburgi, a research scholar in Karnatak University, Dharwad. He was forced to recant the allegedly derogatory references to the founder of Veerashaiva-the liberal Shaivism followed by Lingayats-Basavesh-wara, his wife and sister. That the furore was triggered by the Verses controversy is evident from the fact that Kalburgi wrote his controversial articles in the early ’80s, raising a few eyebrows, but no hackles. It was in February this year, that the controversy over Kalburgi’s book, Marga-One, erupted.

Sporadic protests organised by Kalburgi’s professional rivals soon attracted the mathadhipathis (temple chiefs) and the religious. The denouncements grew louder among the Lingayats (who constitute nearly 20 per cent of the state population). And last month, Kalburgi was summoned to a math in Hubli and forced to ‚recant‘ a life’s work. Said a crestfallen Kalburgi: „I did it to save the lives of my family. But I also committed intellectual suicide on that day.“

Kalburgi’s writings are a product of extensive research. Marga-One is a collection of papers on Kannada folklore, religion and culture. The controversy revolves around two articles which deal with Basaveshwara’s wife and sister.

In the first, Kalburgi examines several vacha-nas (verses) written by Basaveshwara’s second wife Neelambikke and concludes her relationship with her husband may have been only platonic. In another article, he examines the obfuscation by historians of the birth of Channabasava, another Lingayat seer. Kalburgi relies on historical writing to show that Channabasava could be the product of Nagalam-bikke’s (Basaveshwara’s sister) marriage to Dohara Kakkaya (a cobbler).

Although Kalburgi’s conclusion fortifies the basis of the progressive Lingayat religion- which advocates equality and secularism-it appears to have riled the contemporary Lingayat heads.

The literary community however lined up behind Kalburgi, including the Bandaya Sahitya Sanghatane, the Kannada Sangharsha Samiti, and the press. The president of the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi, Dr G.S. Shivarudrappa, declared: „The controversy is an assault on rational thinking.“

Though Kalburgi has apologised to the Lingayat seers, the controversy continues, with the fundamentalists now demanding that the book be proscribed-the Government, which incidentally is headed by a Lingayat. has kept a discreet silence. Kalburgi, who is a devout Lingayat and heads the chair for Basava studies in the university, has resigned from the editorship of the comprehensive vachanas project.

Says he: „I will never again pursue any research on Lingayat literature and Basava philosophy.“