Book: Between the Assassinations

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October 31, 1984

News reaches Kittur via the BBC that Mrs. Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, has been assassinated by her own bodyguards. The town shuts down in mourning for two days. Mrs. Gandhi’s cremation, broadcast live, proves a major boost to the number of TVs sold in Kittur.


November: General elections. Anand Kumar, the Congress (I) candidate and a junior minister in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet, retains his seat. His majority of 45,457 votes over Ashwin Aithal, his BJP opponent, is the largest in Kittur’s history.


Reflecting the growing interest in the stock market, the Dawn Herald begins publishing a daily report on the activities of the Bombay Stock Exchange on page 3.


Dr. Shambhu Shetty opens Happy Smile Clinic, Kittur’s first orthodontic clinic.


A giant rally held by the Hoyka community in Nehru Maidan pledges to build the first temple “for, by, and of Backward Castes” in Kittur.


The first video-lending library opens in Umbrella Street.


Construction of the north bell tower, delayed for over a century, is resumed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Valencia.


The Cricket World Cup is held in India and Pakistan. Interest in cricket proves a major boost to the demand for color TVs.


Riots break out between Hindus and Muslims in the Bunder. Two people are killed. Dawn-to-dusk curfew in the port.


Kittur is reclassified by the state government of Karnataka from “town” to “city,” and the town municipality becomes a “City Corporation.” The first act of the new corporation is to authorize the cutting down of the great forest of Bajpe.


The arrival of migrant Tamil workers, drawn by the construction boom in Bajpe and Rose Lane, is believed to be the cause of a severe outbreak of cholera.


Mabroor Ismail Engineer, generally believed to be the richest man in town, opens the first Maruti Suzuki car showroom in Kittur.


The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) holds a march from Angel Talkies to the Bunder. Marchers call for India to be declared a Hindu nation, and for a return to traditional social values.


Elections held for the City Corporation. The BJP and the Congress divide the seats almost exactly.


Construction of the north bell tower, delayed for a year by the death of the rector, is recommenced at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Valencia.


General elections. Ashwin Aithal, the BJP candidate, upsets cabinet minister and Congress candidate Anand Kumar to become the first non-Congress candidate ever to win the seat of Kittur.


The Sardar Patel Iron Man of India Sports Stadium opens in Bajpe. The construction of houses in the neighborhood proceeds rapidly, and by the year’s end the old forest is almost entirely gone.


A bomb explodes during a chemistry class at St. Alfonso’s Boys’ High School and Junior College, leading to its temporary closure. The Dawn Herald runs a front-page editorial asking: “Does India Need Martial Law?”


The first computer lab in Kittur is opened at St. Alfonso’s Boys’ High School and Junior College. Other schools follow within the year.


The Gulf War breaks out, leading to the loss of expatriate remittances from Kuwait. A severe economic crisis follows. However, the broadcast of the war on CNN, available only to those TVs with a dish antenna, proves a great boost to sales of satellite TV dish antennas in Kittur.


With its funding frozen, construction work on the north bell tower of the cathedral once again comes to a halt.

May 21, 1991

News reaches Kittur via CNN of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The town is shut down in mourning for two days.

Previous: Day Six (Evening) Bajpe
Book main: Foreword