A nude Jain monk addressed the Haryana assembly on Friday, talking about social and political issues amid thunderous applause and laughter from lawmakers.
Introduced by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and welcomed by representatives of the ruling and opposition parties, monk Tarun Sagar took the dais at the VIP visitors’ gallery with governor Kaptan Singh Solanki sitting next to him.
Known for his ‘kadave pravachan’ (bitter discourses), Sagar opened his speech lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Solanki and Khattar as well as leaders of Madhya Pradesh where he recently delivered his first lecture in an assembly.
Referring to Modi’s ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ campaign, Tarun Sagar lauded “daughters” Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu for “saving India from disgrace” at the Rio Olympics.
Alluding to Haryana’s poor sex ratio, the monk said there were not enough women to marry. In the same breath, he took a swipe at Khattar and sports minister Anil Vij who are bachelors, sending the MLAs into laughter.
To reverse the skewed sex ratio, he said he has a formula: politicians having daughters should be given preference, people should not marry off their daughters in families not having daughters and religious people should not take “bhiksha” (donation) from families without daughters.
The message drew instant applause from the lawmakers.
Sagar then turned his attention on Pakistan, lambasting it for creating troubles for India. He said one who wrongs unintentionally is “agyaan” (ignorant), one who does something wrong unintentionally a second time is “nadaan” (silly), one who does it more than twice is a “shaitaan” (devil) and one who keeps doing is “Pakistan”. To another round of applause, he said one who keeps forgiving is “Hindustan”.
He did not spare politicians either. The monk said happiness has deserted society because of overall degeneration just like politicians disappearing after winning elections. He was quick to add that his simile did not apply to those present in the House.
“But, I will say the same thing for every politician, but when I am elsewhere,” he said as a parting shot, sending the House into splits of laughter again.
Assembly officials had initially planned to hold the discourse in the Punjab lobby. Speaker Kanwar Lal even examined the proposed venue, but Punjab reportedly did not accept Haryana’s request.
The Speaker said the decision to invite Sagar for a lecture was taken unanimously by the House after an all-party meeting. It could now set a precedent. Other religious leaders and prominent personalities from different fields could also be invited for similar discourses in the future, he said.