Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh says he has been studying scriptures of all religions, and has come to the conclusion that “there shouldn’t be intolerance”. Singh, who took over as Governor in September 2014, told The Indian Express he has been reading the “Rig Veda, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Quran, Bible, Satyarth Prakash, and Guru Granth Sahib” in his spare time, and feels that “every philosophy in the world has something good to say. No religion has space for hatred.”
Tolerance, along with economic democracy and social justice, were the “pran tatva (life blood) of democracy”, he added. “My thoughts may not match yours, but I will respect your thoughts,” he said.
Rajasthan has been swept by protests for the past few months over the film Padmaavat. With the state government also expressing its reservations, the film could not find a release in Rajasthan despite Censor board clearance.
Singh said, “Bhale hi hum kisi ke vichar se sehmat na hon, lekin usko tolerate karne ki kshamta chahiye. Bhale hi uski vichardhara ko apni vichardhara ke tarkon se kaat de, lekin intolerance nahin chahiye (Even though we may not agree with someone’s thoughts, but we should have the capacity to tolerate them. We may counter their ideas with our own ideas, but there shouldn’t be intolerance).”
Singh’s office said that after the Governor has finished studying the scriptures, the conclusions derived by him will be collated to “provide benefit to the society, state and nation”.
Singh is most known for being the chief minister in whose term the Babri Masjid was demolished in Uttar Pradesh. The Liberhan Commission that probed the demolition had severely indicted his role.
Elaborating on what he had learnt from the scriptures, Singh, who just celebrated his 86th birthday, said peace could be established in the world by broadening perspective through such study, and through democracy, which “essentially” promotes tolerance.
“I want to study all of them (scriptures) so that our perspective is not ekaangi (one-sided), so that we know about all (religions) and what is the philosophy of a particular school of thought,” said Singh, showing the religious texts on his table. “My words are a result of these texts.”
“Koi dhaarna banane se pehle, mera apna manana ye hai ki logon ko bahut vyapak study karna chhaiye. Aur usme se jo bhi shrestha hai, woh grahan karna chahiye. Sahi arthon mein, ye duniya me shanti sthaphit ho sakti hai, nafrat dur ho sakti hai, ek doosre ko samajhne ki shakti aa sakti hai, aur kul milakar life ko dekhne ka drishtikon, ye narrow nahin kar ke, wide ho jayega (Before forming an opinion, it is my belief that people should undertake a broad study, and acquire the belief they consider best. In true words, peace can be established in the world, hatred can be removed and we can acquire the power to understand each other. All in all, our perspective will widen),” he said.
Praising democracy, Singh said, “It is the best form of governance, in spite of the fact that there are certain discrepancies… Democracy, essentially, promotes tolerance.”
Adding that he has always liked literature — “I studied English, Sanskrit and Hindi literature for graduation” — and had been a teacher before joining politics, Singh said, “I like keeping busy… I studied earlier too, but I started systematic and regular study once I arrived here.”
According to his office, he studies religious texts between 6 am and 12 noon every day, along with reading the newspapers and watching television news. Then, after some meetings and a meal, he takes a nap, before going back to the books again, roughly from 3.30 pm to 7 pm.