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Published: DNA | June 20, 2016 | Tanushree Bhatia

MICA professor goes deep into the Shani Shingnapur case to understand the issue

Ahmedabad: Aggressive activism by social activist Trupti Desai might have won her accolades ensuring her rights to physically storm into the sanctum sanctorum at Shani Shingnapur, but a close look at the aftermath suggests a different story. While the outcome of her activism has got women to worship the deity from proximity, the people’s mindset have remained unchanged, finds a professor of MICA who spent several days amidst villagers and all other stakeholders to understand the issue.

Assistant professor at MICA Dipti Kulkarni who works in the area of language and communications, has been following the developments of the case since December 2015 and set out on her journey to delve much deeper in May, when she found absence of dialogue between stakeholders and affected parties.

“For villagers, Trupti and her team have been foreign invaders into their world. There is a deep sense of hurt among them related to the entire issue. Irrespective of the court order, people’s opinions have not changed,” she says. She also added, “Can we call it social change? The absence of dialogue has created more fissures and hatred among locals.”

"Can we call it social change? The absence of dialogue has created more fissures and hatred among locals."

Dipti Kulkarni, Assistant professor, MICA

DNA-20th-June-P-03Tourists are happy

In order to seek views from worshipers across all sections, Dipti positioned herself outside the temple for several days. She said, “I would randomly ask devotees their views about the outcome of four months of protests. Interestingly, for non-local worshipers, the HC order was a boon. It was then I realized that whenever you club tourism with worshipers, all they want is the best out of it.”

No co-op from activists

Interestingly, when Dipti, also a Phd in Linguistics, tried to study the background of the activists other than Trupti and sought details, the attempt was in vain. “Trupti’s team did not provide me with details of other women protesters. All I wanted to understand was their backgrounds and whether their families also stand by them or not,” she said.

On a concluding note she said, “The locals will, over the course of time, find ways and means to circumvent and find loopholes in executing the courts order to protect the purity of their idol. This, according to me, does not signal a change in mindset.”


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