From Hijab row, Halal meat controversy to call to boycott Muslim Mango traders, Karnataka has been at the center of religious controversies. As communal tensions continue to simmer in the state, Karnataka is all set to kick off the return of 300-year old Bengaluru Karaga festivities after a span of 2 years.

The Karaga festivities were put on hold owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the steady decline in new Covid-19 cases, the 11-day festival will be celebrated with grandeur and pomp with an expected attendance of over six lakh people. Starting today, i.e April 8, every road leading to Tigalarapet will be decked up and the rituals will be its its full swing till April 18.

While the centuries-old festival celebrates nature, its highlight remains the celebration of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. The Karaga procession makes a customary halt at the dargah to pay homage to Sufi saint Tawakkal Mastan. It is believed that the the Sufi saint had once hurt himself during the procession and cursed that the Karaga will not move forward until turmeric from the temple is applied on his wound to pacify him. Since then, the procession makes a customary halt at Mastan Saab Dargah located in Balepat.

This year, a few fringe groups have called to abandon the practice citing that it was an imposed practice. It is yet to be seen if such a demand is paid heed and yet another religious controversy rocks Karnataka or the state will rise above hate and send a strong message of communal harmony and brotherhood.