Baba Budan probably never realised that being a gentle Sufi saint, revered by both Hindus and Muslims, would cause such trouble three centuries after his death. And the right-wing fanatics in our country don’t seem to give him any credit for bringing fragrant filter coffee into our land, either. The legend is that in 1670, he smuggled (bound to his belly) seven coffee seeds out of Arabia and planted them in Chikmagalur in Karnataka. The rest is not just history, but a severely contested present. The shrine of Baba Budan, known as Baba Budangiri (one of the most beautiful hill-stations in the State; giri means ‘mountain’), has been the site of communal tension over the past few years, between those who wish to celebrate its syncretic past and present, and those who wish to re-invent it to be a solely Hindu(tva) shrine.
In order to support pluralism, and fight fundamentalisms, both at Baba Budangiri and elsewhere, a rally and convention has been organised in Bangalore this Sunday.
In my mailbox, these details:
*Massive Rally and Convention*
*26 November 2006, Sunday, Bangalore*
*Rally from Malleshwaram grounds, 10.30 am*
Please attend the anti-communalism convention and demonstration to be held on 26th November. This is being organised by the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, which is a coalition of over 200 organizations working since 2002 to establish communal harmony and to fight against the agenda of communalism in Karnataka.
The Convention will bring together over 40 speakers from different progressive and secular organizations. The main speakers at the Convention will include Girish Karnad, Teesta Setalvad, Tontadarya Swami, Gauri Lankesh, Sanath Kumar Belagali, K.M. Sharief, etc.