Shankara Agraharam or Vedic Village, as it's called is a township near Bangalore with 1,200 residential plots on sale. The rider is that one has to be a Brahmin to own a plot there and one can sell it only to Brahmins. Applicants here have to fill out elaborate forms to keep to the so-called purity of the colony.
We are not dividing at all, where is the division. The community is staying together because of all like-minded people. My sons wanted to stay together, in that way, all our community wanted to stay in one community township in this manner. There is nothing wrong about this as long as we don't disturb our neighbour community, we're happy and that we don't do," said Dr VP Rao, Chairman, Sanatana Dharma Parirakshana Trust.
In the same Bagepalli region 90 km from Bangalore, a Shiva temple trust has planned a layout only for the Lingayat community. After it was pointed out that Lingayat preacher Basaveshwara called for equality of all castes, they opened up sales to other Hindu communities too, but the covert sale brochures make it clear it will be Lingayat dominant.
"To reflect the teachings of a revered guru, our objective is that the institutions we establish will run in perpetuity. Our attempt is to see that we involve more people who have a sense of identification with that faith and take it forward," said S Phani Kumar, Founder Trustee, Divya Dhama Trust
Promoters of these two colonies argue that that such things are common among many communities like the Jains and the Parsis and in fact have been happening subtly for many years now. But some activists have objected to these two colonies and have written to the state and the central governments. However, they haven't got a response.
"That is not like this, which happens with the blessing of the government. So this is a pernicious practice and if it is not put an end to, I'm sure it will replicate everywhere. If people know there is money to be made by catering to specific castes, why wouldn't more number of builders come and do the same, and once we start doing that, what happens to national integration," questioned advocate and activist KV Dhananjay. Even as the debate rages on, more than 50 per cent of the Brahmin settlement has been sold out, while the Divya Dhama township is hoping to begin sales in two months.