Indian Express

Modi does not reflect composite culture: Kabir Mutt chief

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Modi is pitted against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Congress candidate Ajai Rai in the temple town. Modi is pitted against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Congress candidate Ajai Rai in the temple town.

As the campaign picks up for the high-profile contest, the head of the famous Kabir Mutt here has said Narendra Modi does not reflect the composite culture of this temple town and cautioned that his contesting election from the “sacred place” may “vitiate” its centuries-old unity between Hindus and Muslims.

Sant Vivek Das Acharya, the chief of Kabirchaura Mutt Trust, also severely criticised Modi for trying to “paint” Varanasi as a centre of Hindu religion and said the current political discourse may have a long-term impact on the city’s “soul and identity”.

“It is very unfortunate for people of Varanasi (that Modi is contesting from here). He is divisive. Modi does not reflect the composite culture of the sacred town,” he told PTI.

Kabir Chaura Matt is considered the most sacred place by Kabir Panthis as devotees from across the globe come here, the birthplace of the 15th Century saint -Sant Kabir.

Significantly, two key Hindu religious leaders — Puri Shankaracharya Swami Adhokshjanand Devtirath and Dwarka Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati — have also came out against Modi contesting from Varanasi.

Modi is pitted against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Congress candidate Ajay Rai, among others, in the temple town where election will be held on May 12.

Terming Varanasi a confluence of various religious beliefs and symbol of India’s core values, Acharya accused Modi and BJP of trying to exploit electoral gain by taking a “narrow view” of the city that it was a nerve centre of Hindu tradition.

“It is a nerve centre of various religions, traditions and ideologies. Kabir had made the city a centre of Indian civilisation. Buddha had come here 2,500 years ago. It is an important place for people belonging to Jain faith,” Acharya said.

“They (BJP) will disturb the Hindu-Muslim unity. An artificial wave for him (Modi) is being created. I will not explain, but it is well known how it is being done. How people are being bought over,” Acharya said.

The religious leader said if people of Varanasi have not understood the “misinterpretation” of the city’s values, then it will be unfortunate for the whole city.

“The place reflects India’s core values of pluralism, tolerance and intellectual thinking. The current political discourse may have a long-term impact on the city. If people here have not understood the threat, then it is a misfortune for the city,” he said.

Acharya said the incumbent MP Murli Manohar Joshi did not do any work for the city during the last five years. “If one of BJP’s tallest leaders did nothing for city, then how can we expect Modi to do something.”

The Mutt chief also justified his political observation saying, “We are saints, but at the same time we cannot remain oblivious to important issues facing the country. We are not inclined towards continued…

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