The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday lashed out at the BJP, accusing it of trying to use iconic figures from Bengal’s history for votes, even as it listed the work it had done to promote Swami Vivekananda.
State minister Bratya Basu claimed that the BJP talking about Vivekananda was ironic since it “does not believe in his teachings”. The Opposition party’s vision does not match Vivekananda’s ideals, he added.
The remarks came a day before the BJP is set to organise a “padayatra [foot march]” here to mark the religious leader’s birth anniversary. “The BJP talking about them is nothing short of irony as the party does not believe in Ramakrishna’s way of thinking. Even Swami Vivekananda said ‘those who love humanity serve god’,” Basu said at a press conference, adding, “Ramakrishna had once said ‘jato mat, tato path’, which means multiple views are multiple ways to god. The BJP doesn’t think along the same line.”
The minister said, “The BJP is spreading misinformation about our luminaries. Have they ever spoken accurately about Chaitanya, Rabindranath, Ishwar Chandra [Vidyasagar] or any of our intellectual forefathers? The BJP is using Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, the BJP leaders do not know where Chaitanya Dev was born, where these luminaries have gone. BJP leaders have demolished the idol of Vidyasagar.”
The minister claimed CM Mamata Banerjee had revived the legacy of Bengal’s luminaries at a time when everyone was on the verge of forgetting them.
Basu said the government was setting up the “Vivek Tirtha” institute in Rajarhat in Kolkata’s suburbs, and had instituted a bravery award for girls in the memory of social reformer Sister Nivedita, who was one of Vivekananda’s disciples. The government was also providing financial aid to meritorious students from poor families under the Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship, the minister added.
“Educational institutions run by Ramakrishna Sarada Mission have been given powers of self-governance. Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral home and its adjoining area have been acquired and handed over to the Ramakrishna Mission. ‘Mayer Bari [House of Ramkrishna’s spiritual consort Sarada Devi]’ in Bagbazar has been renovated for Rs 30 crore. Sister Nivedita’s house in Bagbazar has been accorded heritage status and handed over to Ramakrishna Sarada Mission,” Basu told reporters.
The self-employment scheme of the Department of Self-Help and Self-Employment was named the Swami Vivekananda Swanirbhar Karmasansthan Prakalpa, he added.