Amid the raging controversy regarding Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, the Vokkaliga chieftains who according to a section allegedly killed erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan, a prominent seer of the community on Monday urged putting an end to the issue, citing lack of historical evidence in this regard.
Photograph: PTI Photo
Some leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have also been backing the claim that the Gowdas killed Tipu.
Nirmalanandanatha Mahaswamiji, the chief pontiff of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math, which is highly regarded by the dominant Vokkaligas, has called for gathering of information, edicts and historical records about the duo, before arriving at any decision.
On Monday, he also summoned Horticulture Minister Munirathna, a producer-turned-politician whose studio planned to make a movie by registering a title 'Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda', and directed him not to go ahead with the project. The minister paid heed to the pontiff's direction.
A section of people in the old Mysuru belt claims that Tipu Sultan did not die fighting the British, but was killed by the two Vokkaliga chieftains -- which has been contested by some historians.
"At a time when there is no clarity on the historical background, it is not right to make a cinema on the two personalities who represent a community. I have also told him (Munirathna) as to why it is not right. After realising things, he said he has no intention to hurt anyone and assured he would not make any effort in this direction, not just for now but never in the future," the Swamiji told reporters in Mandya, Karnataka.
He said as the BJP leaders from the Vokkaliga community, including national general secretary C T Ravi and ministers Ashwath Narayan and Gopalaiah, have been made aware of the historical background and facts, he expects them to keep quiet on the issue. "They will be quiet."
"That which is written based on imagination becomes kadambari (novel), that which is written based on shasana (edicts) and historical background will become strength for the future generation; as nothing of that sort has been found till now on the issue, no statements should be made that will create confusion among people and the contemporary world, will bring down the strength of personalities, and will cause disrepute to the community," the seer added.
If any historical evidence or edicts are found regarding Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, they should be handed over to the Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math, the seer said, adding, "There are scholars, there is carbon dating technology, there are great critics, the matters gathered will be placed before them to arrive at a decision."
"The current confusion is causing hurt to the feelings of a community, and I urge it should be stopped immediately," he said.
While, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular leaders have maintained that Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda did not even exist, and might just be fictional characters, the BJP, which is trying to make inroads into the Vokkaliga dominated 'Old Mysuru' region ahead of the polls, seems to be using the duo as its latest mascot.
The BJP is also using them to target Tipu Sultan, and accuse the Congress and JD-S of indulging in appeasement politics by celebrating the Muslim ruler.
After meeting the seer, Munirathna said he has assured the Swamiji that he will drop the plan to make a movie on the chieftains.
"I have said I will not hurt anybody's feelings, after the seer's advice I will drop the plan to do this movie, and will neither do this move or speak about it here on," he said.
Clarifying that he was not working on the movie as he was part of the BJP, Munirathna said he is a producer and has been making movies for the past 25 years, and will find a new story.
Stating that he was speaking only as a producer, and would wait for what the party leaders would say on the issue, he said, "...Cinema cannot be made entirely based on actual true events; certain adaptations will have to be made."
The names of Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda came into the limelight after the release of a play Tippuvina Nija Kanasugalu (The true dreams of Tipu) last year by Rangayana director Addanda Cariappa, though there has been a debate on the issue in the past.
Congress and JD-S leaders including Siddaramaiah, D K Shivakumar and H D Kumaraswamy have charged the BJP with 'misleading' the people, especially the Vokkaligas, by using fictional characters and saying they killed Tipu Sultan.
BJP leaders like Union Minister of State Shobha Karandlaje, C T Ravi, and Ashwath Narayan among others have maintained that there is historical evidence about Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, that their names are mentioned in plays and ballads, and they fought Tipu to safeguard the family of Mysuru maharajas and to protect the state.