Updated: January 13, 2022 12:40:46 am
The ruling JD(U) in Bihar has demanded action against BJP leader and writer Daya Prakash Sinha for likening emperor Ashok to Mughal ruler Aurangazeb and citing Buddhist literature to refer to him as “Kamashok” and “Chandashok”. The opposition RJD has gone a step further, threatening to lodge an FIR against Sinha for hurting people’s sentiments if he did not apologise.
A retired IAS officer, Sinha is national convenor of BJP’s cultural cell. He is also vice-president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. A Padma Shree awardee, he received Sahitya Akamemi award 2021 for his drama, ‘Samrat Ashok’.
In a recent interview to Hindi newspaper Navbharat Times, Sinha said Ashok was similar to Aurangzeb. He said: “…while doing research on Samrat Ashok, I was greatly surprised by several similarities between him and Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Both had committed many sins in their early days and later resorted to over-religiosity to hide their sins so that people were digressed towards religion and their sins were overlooked.”
Referring to early literature, Sinha said in the interview, “Three Buddhist works – Deepvansh, Mahavansh and Ashokavadan – and writings of Tibetan writer Taranath, say that Samrat Ashok was ugly. His face had marks and he was lustful in his early days. Buddhist works also refer to Ashok as Kamashok and Chandashok…”
Rajiv Ranjan Singh, national president of JD(U), an ally of the BJP, tweeted: “Criticism of one of the greatest kings in ancient India cannot be accepted. A person who used offensive words against the celebrated king does not deserve accolades. I request the President of India to take back Padma Shree from Sinha and also request the authority concerned to take back his other awards.”
JD(U)’s parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha asked the BJP to take action against Sinha. “If no action is taken against him immediately, the BJP will suffer losses,” he said.
RJD national spokesperson Subodh Mehta told The Indian Express: “We will soon lodge an FIR against Sinha in Patna for hurting sentiments of lakhs of people with his remarks on Samrat Ashok.”
Sinha also faced criticism from Samrat Choudhary, BJP MLC and minister. In a video message on Twitter, Choudhary said that insult of Samrat Ashok cannot be accepted. He said the Mauryan age was taken as “golden era” of Indian history.
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