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For those in power now, only 80% people practicing Hinduism are ‘real Indians’: Mani Shankar Aiyar

Aiyar said that Rahul Gandhi recently stated that there is a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva and he would like to add that "we who believe in Hinduism, we are 100 per cent Indians".

By: PTI | New Delhi |
November 15, 2021 10:19:58 pm
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. (File)

Wading into the Hinduism-Hindutva debate, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has attacked the BJP, saying those who believe in Hinduism regard all citizens as Indians while those currently in power consider only 80 per cent people practicing the Hindu religion as “real Indians”.

Aiyar said that Rahul Gandhi recently stated that there is a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva and he would like to add that “we who believe in Hinduism, we are 100 per cent Indians”.

“We consider all the citizens of this country as Indians. Then there are a few, who are currently in power, who say that 80% of Indians who believe in the Hindu religion are real Indians while the others are non-Indians, are staying in the country as guests and whenever we want, we can remove them from the country,” Aiyar said at a seminar marking the 132nd birth anniversary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and 75 years of Independence on Sunday.

The diversity of India was best understood by Jawaharlal Nehru, Aiyar asserted.

Nehru knew that India has people with many languages, race, colour, and different traditions, music, literature, philosophy, the former Union minister said pointing to the diversity among India’s 1.30 billion population.

“If we don’t recognise this then we are not hailing Bharat Mata but condemning it. This is the difference between those who believe in Hindutva and those of us who believe in the Constitution,” Aiyar said.

His remarks come after former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Hinduism and Hindutva are “different things” and slammed the ideology of the BJP-RSS alleging it has spread hatred in India, drawing a sharp retort from the BJP which claimed that the Congress leadership nurses a “pathological hatred” for Hinduism.

The remarks by Gandhi had escalated the political heat between the BJP and the Congress as they came a day after senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid sparked a row by comparing a “robust version” of Hindutva to the jihadist Islam of terror groups such as the ISIS and Boko Haram.

In his remarks at the event, Aiyar also said the difference between Mughals and the British was that the Mughals made India their home, while the Britishers said they had come here to rule but it was not their home.


“BJP people often call me ‘Babur ki Aulad’. I want to tell them that Babur came to India in 1526 and died in 1530 which means that he stayed in India only four years and did not like the country… he used to say you don’t get watermelons here…but he decided that since we have reached here, we have to run our empire,” he said.

“He (Babur) wrote a letter to his son Humayun and told him that ‘if you want to run this country and keep your empire safe here then do not interfere in the religion of the people here because these are civilized people and have ancient faith, their philosophy is very deep. So if you interfere, then you could get limited success but in the end you will have to leave the country’,” Aiyar said.

Noting that Humayun had a tragic history, Aiyar said Humayun’s son Akbar ruled for about 50 years and his life was based on what Babur had said.

Aiyar pointed out that Akbar married Rajput princess and his son Jehangir was “half-Rajput” and his son Shahjahan was “three-fourths Hindu-Rajput”.

Pointing out that the Congress office is on Akbar Road, he said, “We have no objection to it. We don’t say we are the Congress we cannot stay on Akbar Road and make this Maharana Pratap road. We did not say that as we consider Akbar to be our own.” They belonged to this country, he added.

Noting that Muslim rulers remained on the throne of Delhi for 666 years, Aiyar asked after this, how many Hindus remained in the country and how many Muslims were there.

“In 1872, the British conducted the first census, which showed that Muslims constituted 24 per cent and Hindus were 72 percent. But they say that they made everyone Muslim. Had it been so, the figures would have been different,” he said.

India is the only country in the world where Muslims came, but this country did not become an Islamic country, the Congress leader said.

“The Muslims of India had got a chance to go to Pakistan, but they did not go. Now they are told to go to Pakistan. They tell Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan to go to Pakistan? Why not go to Indonesia and Saudi Arabia? Because these people only do politics of hate,” he said.

Asked about Aiyar’s remarks on Mughals at an AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said he cannot comment as he has not heard the statement.

Singhvi, however, said, “No country has progressed by denying its culture and history and writing it in a new form.”

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