After Union minister Sushma Swaraj favoured declaring Gita as "national scripture", veteran BJP leader L K Advani on sunday urged people to read Mahabharata and Ramayana saying the epics are a great source of knowledge on politics and morality.
Reminiscing his days during pre-independence era, the 87-year-old leader said his grandmother would ask him to read the 'Mahabharata' in parts and not entirely, as there is a myth that keeping the epic at home was jinxed.
"I believe no other epic than Mahabharata is a great source of pedagogy, great source of information on politics as well as moral teachings, unity and courage," he said.
The former deputy prime minister was speaking at a cultural programme and award ceremony to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of noted journalist and chief of Urdu newspaper 'Daily Pratap', K Narendra.
Advani said as he had studied in a Christian missionary school he only knew how to speak Sindhi (his mother tongue) and English. He said he read Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagwat Gita in Sindhi and English, and only after independence he read them in Hindi.
He said overtime he feels more comfortable conversing and reading in Hindi.
Just last week, external affairs minister Swaraj had praised Bhagwad Gita saying it should be declared 'Rashtriya Granth', drawing flak from some parties.
The awards were given away to felicitate journalists, social workers and public relations officers.
Among those who received the 'Media Ratna award' for excellence in the field of journalism include PTI Editor Ajay Kaul, Delhi Doordarshan's Girish Nishana, Gyanendra Pandey (Lok Sabha TV), Arvind Singh (Rajya Sabha TV), Sumit Awasthi (IBN-7), Dilbar Gothi (Navbharat Times), Prashant Mishra (Dainik Jagran), Shekhar Ghosh (Dainik Bhaskar).
Radio Jockeys Naved (Radio Mirchi) and Raunak (Red FM) were also feliciated for their popular radio programmes.
Those who recieved the 'Jansampark Ratna' award in the field of public relations, include Hemendra Singh (CISF), B C Khanduri (CRPF), Anuj Dayal (DMRC), Vivek Pandey (ITBP), Neeraj Sharma (Northern Railways), Mahesh Maurya (Delhi Govt), Nemodhar (DDA), Rajan Bhagat (Delhi Police), among others.
The 'Samaj Seva Ratna' award for outstanding contribution in social work, was given away to Mahant Surendranath Avdhut (Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh), Mangeram Garg (Dharmyatra Mahasangh), Deepak Aggarwal, Ramkrishna Lohiya, among others.
During the function, differently-abled children from Renu Vidya Mandir, Sonipat and Sunrise Kids centre also gave dance performances. Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri and Daily Pratap Editor Anil Narendra were also present during the award ceremony.