Pitching for the Gita to be declared a national book, an article in the Organiser counters the argument that a secular democracy cannot adopt the book as national scripture, saying that the Bhagavad Gita is not a religious book: “it has been translated world over and is meant for the whole community.” Citing comments by personalities like Albert Einstein and Aldous Huxley on the Gita, it says there has been no “intellectual argument against it, but there have been feeble protests from the usual rudaalis, that is, the professional weepers… The one (confused) argument that has been put forward and… worth mentioning is that [the] Constitution of India is a national book. Well, it will be worthwhile to reiterate the point that the ‘Constitution of India’ is not applicable all over India, for example, J&K, and it is not applicable to all Indians, for example, followers of Islam have a different set of laws for them. Hence ‘Constitution of India’ is out of contention as [the] national book.”
The article argues that the Gita has made its impact across the world and across disciplines. For instance, sessions on corporate learning from the Gita have been conducted for members of the Young Presidents’ Organisation at the Wharton School. Mustafa Bülent Ecevit, the four-time Turkish prime minister, had said that the Gita’s verses, which said that if one were morally right, one need not hesitate to fight injustice, had given him the courage to send Turkish troops to Cyprus. The Gita “is truly a book of the world. [The] Quran and [the] Bible can’t be compared with [the] Gita, as they are specific to the religions. Hence, the attempt to create a religious divide by the rudaalis is futile,” it says. It adds that Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri has translated the Bhagavad Gita into Urdu shayari, as did Bint Zehra Rizvi, a devout scholar. “Last but not least, [the] national tree, Banyan, is the resting place of Lord Krishna and [the] national flower, Lotus, as per the Gita, is a metaphor for detachment; so it is time the book of knowledge of Krishna be declared as [the] national book,” the article says.
NOT FOR DEBATE
An article in Panchjanya says the sudden debate on whether the Gita should be a national book or not reflects the bankruptcy of “secular” thought. It argues that those opposing it seem to be failing to grasp the real essence of the matter. The opposition launched by the secularists also reflects their narrow-minded approach. The Gita cannot be subjected to political controversy. Instead of making it a political debate, those playing politics with this would do well to understand the essence of this book. Whoever has read the Gita has experienced that it does not give you any consolation nor entertainment. The Gita “demands a very active lifestyle from you. It deals with the practical knowledge about life where every shloka echoes the truth,” it says.
Criticising the secularists and “their representatives in Parliament” for initiating a debate on conversion without “recognising the difference between religious conversion and homecoming to the traditional way of life”, the Organiser editorial says: “…these supporters of Semitic religions did not understand that they are trapped in their own argument against any anti-conversion law in India. Thankfully, this incident has brought the debate on [to the] right track and created the possibility for [a] universal anti-conversion law.” The editorial praises the BJP-led government for proposing the pan India anti-conversion law: “The Centre has given [a] golden opportunity to all the ‘seculars’ to prove their credentials on the conversion issue. Let conviction for the nation supersede considerations for vote bank politics…”
Compiled by Liz Mathew