A day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj pushed for declaring Bhagwad Gita as a national scripture, opposition DMK and NDA ally PMK have opposed the move saying the Centre should follow pluralistic character and spirit of secularism.
Accusing the Narendra Modi dispensation of imposing language and culture and not implementing any laudable schemes since it came to power in May, PMK founder S Ramadoss said, “Sushma Swaraj’s act of pushing the opinion of one section of the people on the entire country is condemnable..”
Citing Swaraj’s comments that Gita had solution for problems for every section of the people, he said, “There is no denying that Gita has noble values. The same values are in Holy Quran and Holy Bible. While, this attempt only strengthens the argument that Modi government is making efforts to make India a Hindu nation.”
Contending that only Thirukural by ancient Tamil poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar had all the standing to be made India’s national book, he said in a statement that the Centre should take steps to declare it so and give up efforts to make Gita a national scripture.
Condemning Swaraj’s comments, Karunanidhi said, “India is a secular republic and it is made clear in the Constitution. The Union Government should treat all the religions equally and nurture pluralism.”
Referring to opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Congress, he said through such controversies the BJP regime, though engaged in people friendly measures, was putting itself one step forward and two steps back.
Quoting a saying, he said Swaraj had invited trouble by expressing such an opinion and recalled controversies like ‘Guru Utsav’ and the remark of a Union Minister which put the Centre in the dock in Parliament.
Joining the chorus of disapproval, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday questioned how one holy book could be deemed as being “holier” than others in a multi- faith country.
“I am also a Hindu, but in our religion there is not one holy book, there are many books. If you take Gita, what about the Vedas? What about Upanishads?… There are many opinions, we cannot just like that say that one book is holier than others,” Tharoor told reporters outside Parliament.
“I am of the opinion that for the government to talk about such things is not correct,” Tharoor added.
Pushing for declaring Bhagwad Gita as a national scripture, the External Affairs Minister had on Sunday said only a formal announcement remained in this regard.
Swaraj made the remarks while speaking at ‘Gita Prerna Mahotsav’, organised to celebrate 5,151 years of religious book ‘Gita’ at the Red Fort Maidan in Delhi.