A petition in a Russian court seeking a ban on the Bhagwad Gita was on Tuesday strongly denounced by Russia as “sad” and described by India as “patently absurd” amid protests for the second day in the Indian Parliament.
External affairs minister SM Krishna tried to calm tempers, saying that the case was the work of “misdirected individuals” and that the matter has been taken up with Moscow.
“We have taken up the matter at the highest levels with the Russian government,” Krishna said. The case filed in the Siberian city of Tomsk claims that a renowned translation of the text, titled Bhagwad Gita As It Is, is “extremist literature” and should join Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on a list of banned books.
“The Gita is far above any cheap propaganda. I hope our Russian friends understand India's cultural sensitivities and resolve the matter appropriately,” Krishna said. Alexander Kadakin, Moscow’s envoy to India, said “madmen” in Russia were behind the move. “It is categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts," he said.
Bhagwad Gita As It Is -- first published in 1968 -- is a translation of the original text by Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon)