Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance not OK?

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Like a kaleidoscope, you can view the “revelation” of the half-century-old S.M. KrishnaB. Saroja Devi fling, and the spat at the book release in Mysore yesterday, any which way you like, and it will still make a lot of sense.

# Those who like media will say the messenger is being shot as usual. Those who dislike the media will see it (as Gagan K. already has) as a sign of the media going haywire in the mad quest for eyeballs and readers.

# Those who like Krishna will see it as an attempt to derail his reentry into Karnataka politics. Those who dislike him will see it as proof, full and final, that the man was up to no good even if it was 55 years ago.

# Those who like H. Vishwanath will see it as an attempt to prevent him from telling the truth. Those who dislike him will see it as a pre-poll stunt; just what the doctor ordered to boot him out of the Congress.

# Those who like the rich and powerful will see it as an attempt to tar brush them as being weak in the loins. Those dislike them will see it as a sign of how trophy wives and girlfriends have become an accepted norm.

# Those who like freedom of speech will see it as proof of how intolerant we are becoming as a nation. Those who dislike others using their freedom will say this is what happens if there is too much freedom.

In a way, each of those points of view, and possibly many more, are correct. But here’s a contrarian view worth pondering: is it just possible that the much reviled Janata Dal (Secular) is more tolerant of scrutiny and criticism than the much revered Indian National Congress?


To understand the irony, compare the reaction to the Krishna-Saroja Devi “romance” being made public with the reaction to the dalliance of H.D. Kumaraswamy with movie star Radhika being made public.

H. Vishwanath says he himself had the conversation with Krishna four years ago. Krishna’s wife Prema, and his brother S.M. Shankar, have both confirmed that there was talk of a marriage proposal for Krishna with Saroja Devi 55 years ago. Saroja Devi herself does not deny the affair. And Krishna has threatened to sue Mid-Day for the morphed photograph not the story.

In other words, there is more than a grain of truth to the story.

Yet, Congressmen owing allegiance to Krishna go on the offensive, without reading the book, without understanding the context, without verifying its veracity, and stall its release. Why is it so difficult to swallow a grain of truth for Krishna’s henchmen like D.K. Shiva Kumar and D. Made Gowda, when the chief players in the drama, Krishna included, are comfortable with it?

And this in a party that makes no effort to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru‘s dalliance with Edwina Mountbatten.

On the other hand, look at l’affaire Kumaraswamy-Radhika.

Kumaraswamy, at 48, is a full 28 years younger than Krishna. Unlike Krishna, HDK’s political future is ahead of him. For the better part of the last two years and more, there has been all manner of speculation in the Kannada weekly tabloids of his proximity to Radhika, the daughter of a Mangalore kabab-maker who acted in a few Kannada and Tamil films.

Did HDK buy her a house worth Rs 12 crore in Dollar Colony? Was he “relaxing” in the house, as chief minister, just before it was raided by income-tax men? Did he frequent her father’s house in Katriguppe? Did she get the Chamuni Hill temple manager transferred using her political connections? Did he make a midnight trip to a Mangalore hospital to call on her? Was she pregnant then? Has she given birth to a son in London?

These and other unsubstantiated tidbits have been merrily been thrown by a salivating media, including churumuri, even though Kumaraswamy has much more to lose by the negative publicity than Krishna. Yet, there has been no frenzied reaction from HDK or his JDS supporters. No blocking of roads, no throwing of flower pots, no manhandling.

What little protest has come has come via a series of defamation case filed by supporters of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda at the film “Mukhya Mantri I love you‘ being made by Hi! Bangalore editor Ravi Belagere. There was a dharna at the offices of the tabloid, but none of the vandalism and hooliganism of the Congress.

What does it mean?

That Krishna’s supporters are more careful at guarding his image and perception than HDK’s? That HDK has given up hope of being chief minister again and doesn’t care about voters seeing him as being bigamous? That, for all their rough and tough ways, the JDS men are more open, democratic and tolerant?

Or is this a “class” thing?

Here’s an even bigger irony: Congressmen aren’t overly concerned about their leaders being held guilty of taking part in massacres and killings and riots; they are not bothered about their leaders charged of corruption, of hobnobbing with the underworld, of taking cash from counterfeiters.

But somehow, a very normal, natural romance with a member of the opposite sex, one which both parties grudgingly admit, even if it was 55 years ago, gets them all hot under the collar. Why?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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10 Responses to “Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance not OK?”

  1. SumneNeeve Says:

    olle action packed elections forseen in karnataka. Good. After seeing the baldy son-father duo, namma HDK-DG, it will be fun to see Krishnana leelegalu. Good.

  2. prasad Says:

    A goonda named DKS planned financed and instigated the protest which utlimately back fires.Iam sure NO ONE would have even bothered about this Book if there were no protests.But Sychopancy rules karnataka and hence we see these self styled protectors of morality trying to hog the media coverage to meet their petty ends.Churmuri should try to expose the other love stories and back stabbing of the politicians and film stars in the state.
    Can we start with Vinod Raj Story and proceed to ALVA and Hegde ??

  3. Andy Says:

    I dont get this..why are SMK chelas getting upset over a well known-50 years old Saroja Devi issue..Do they prefer to read about SMK’s escapades for the past 3 the interesting people he met in Golden Palms, Farm houses, at the French Open etc ?

  4. Aatmasakshi Says:

    churumuri’s use of an offending picture is a familiar tactic of the media to ride piggyback while being politically correct. It’s like TV channels which do a story on the increasing sex and violence in the media, and then use images of sex and violence to buttress the story. Smart, but questionable.

    That said, Karnataka’s movers and shakers seem to be becoming media savvy. Director Prem used a silly controversy over a song to give his pathetic film Preeti yeke bhoomi mele ide some publicity. Vishwanath has given his flagging career a boost with a row. These are 36-hour stories, there’s no point debating the whys and wherefores.

  5. Sathya Says:

    No need to pay attention to the book or the incident. There are better things to be discussed. Hell with them. Gossip you have it all times. Nobody is asaint in this world. There was no necessity to protest near the premises where the book wa sreleased. The party which preaches nonviolence should have followed the Gandhian way in their protests. Look at the faces of some of the protestors, they look like waging a war. The old-Congress, new entrants to the Congress, and what not everybody has joined the line. After all it is written not by a BJP/JdS?JD/CPI man ,it is written b their own party man who was also a minister. What about other things that he has mentioned – another prominent community Swamiji, etc. If they also join the battle what willl happen in the coming elections.

  6. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    Is Palini R. Swamy, the pseudonym of URA?
    aka aD gODe mEle deepa!

  7. Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi Says:

    SM Krishna has been balancing a dead beaver on his head since he lost his hair many years ago. His supporters like to call it a wig.

  8. Nitin Says:

    I wonder if DG & gang would add up some ‘old numbers’ to make DG > SMK.

  9. boring journalist Says:

    Was it a case for free publcity for the book or to Vishwanath of SMK?

  10. gagan Says:

    Those who dislike the media will see it (as Gagan K. already has) as a sign of the media going haywire in the mad quest for eyeballs and readers.

    It is not that i dislike the media. We always respect the media when it stands by truth. It is in the way it is put up. If the tv9 channel had aired the news in an usual way without adding any spice like “krishna leela”, and if the mid-day had not used a morphed photo, i would not bother about it. This news was supposed to be just 2 mins news on air.

    Due to such wrong reporting by electronic media will send wrong message to the public. Due to this, the book release was delayed and affected. While tv9 enjoyed its part of freedom of speech unreasonably, H. Vishwanath was denied of his freedom of expression (by krishna fans).

    Not just krishna fans, but even HDK fans and JDS fans have done protests many a times.

    And the reason why Krishna’s fans are more worried… There were a bunch of sm krishna followers from those old days. They were all orphaned after SMK went to maharashtra. Now since this is the time he is coming back, these followers and fans want to take some political mileage from this incident.

    And one section of media speculated that vishwanath is all set to join jds. And hence he took money from devegowda to write such things on krishna. If those journalists had read the full book, they could have found another chapter where H Vishwanath has made fun of Devegowda also!! It means, some of them are reading only a part of the book (or even a paragraph) and drawing conclusions.

    And krishna’s supporters should keep in mind, what wrong smk had done by deciding to marry saroja devi some decades ago. And the photo put up here (by kpn) shows that smk and saroja devi were still good friends. In way, the wrong coverage by the media might have spoiled their good relations also.

    And another reason for the protest is the caste factor. Many people inside the congress have not liked the straight forward views of Vishwanath in many situations. This was a chance for all those to take the revenge on him!!

    Not Krishna, but Raj Bhavan should sue mid day. it surely amounts to defamation.

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