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Published in the 1-15 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Sangh Parivar creates tension

By Wahaj Hashmi

Udgir: Sangh Parivar couldn’t find any Godhra in Karnataka but it got an Ayodhya in Baba Budanagri, Chickmagalur. After the demolition of Babri Masjid they fixed their sight on the oldest dargah of Baba Buddan where both Hindus and Muslims according to their faith offer the oblation. Every year Hindus celebrate Dutta Jyanti, but BJP boycotted it by saying that the pooja was not going on according to Hindu traditions. Moreover the Sangh Parivar started its campaign to intensify the dispute. 

Government authorities have banned the BJP’s Shobha Yatra and other programmes too. The BJP general secretary Anant Kumar has threatened that Baba Buddan darghah would be made an Ayodhya of south India. He had gone to Delhi to wish Vajpayee on his birthday. Sangh has declared a bandh against the ban on BJP's Shobha Yatra as well as blamed the government for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and pleasing Muslims. The Sangh too organised a Shobha Yatra though it was banned and they courted arrest. Amongst those arrested were 14 BJP MLAs and hundreds of its workers.

The celebration of Datta Jayanti passed off peacefully under tight security even after the boycott call of the Sangh, said the police. This time the strength of devotees was reduced in numbers in comparison to the previous year. This happened due to the boycott call of the Sangh’ s various celebrations as well as due to the expected disorderliness. Sangh claimed that year after year the government has been giving a ‘Muslim colour’ to the dargah.

According to the 1975 high court order the higher authorities were given permission to perform the pooja. Boycotting the government supported Datta Jayanti celebrations, state secretary of BJP, A. Ashok said that they would organise an agitation in all the districts of Karnataka for not being granted permission to perform the pooja according to Hindu rituals.

This is an ages old dargah as well as a place of great respect for both Hindus and Muslims. For Muslims it is a dargah of Baba Buddan while for Hindus, it is Duttatriya Peeth. People of both communities worship here. Nevertheless it was a dispute before the start of the campaign of RSS.

It is said that there is a Mazar of Dada Hayat whose real name was Abdul Aziz Makki who had come to India from Saudi Arabia for propagating the message of Islam and peace. He had never tried to target Hindus but he brought freedom to the local people from the tyranny of the landlords. His attempts to improve the lot of the local people were extremely disliked by the landlords and they tried to kill him but failed. He was known as Baba Buddan but Hindus understood him as Dattariya.

Cause of dispute
In 1960, the dispute was started between the two departments of the government for the occupation of the dargah. The Waqf Board of Maysore claimed that it should be in their control while the dargah was in the occupation of the Department of Shrines and they challenged the claim of Maysore Waqf Board. The supervisors of the dargah supported the Department of Shrines because this was a place respected by both Hindus and Muslims. In 1975, the government had passed an order in favour of the Waqf Board, but soon it was challenged and again it was given back to the Department of Shrines and an order was issued that people from any religion cannot claim to control the dargah. The shrine’s chief priest became its guardian. Till 1980 there was no dispute about it but now the Sangh Privar is asserting its claim to the dargah, while in 1998 assurance was given in Parliament by the home ministry that the culture of the dargah and traditions would be maintained. Sangh demanded an inquiry into the status quo of dargah before 1975 and it not only asked permission to perform the pooja but also insisted that it be handed over to them. At this juncture, VHP formed Datta Peeth Samrakshana Samittee. Since the demolition of Babri Masjid, the VHP celebrates Dutta Jayanti Utsav each year in December to intensify its movement. The intention behind this is to communalise the prevalent traditions. Sangh Parivar claims that the site belongs to Hindus, Muslims occupied it in the beginning of 20th century. But there is no evidence of its claim . Another significant aspect of the dispute is that coffee is produced here on a large scale, the Sangh wants to have total control over it. 

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