Lord Meghnad Desai’s take on Gita sparks row | patna | Hindustan Times
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Lord Meghnad Desai’s take on Gita sparks row

patna Updated: Sep 08, 2012 16:22 IST
HT Correspondent

Bihar Religious Trust Board chairman Acharya Kishore Kunal on Friday said Lord Meghnad Desai's interpretation of Bhagvad Gita had not only hurt the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus but also 'insulted' martyrs who sacrificed their lives for motherland with Gita in their hands and its words on their lips.

"If the Gita which was called 'The Celestial Song' by Sir Edwin Arnold when he translated it into English, appears to Desai as 'a short sharp rebuke to Arjun', then one can pity the intellectual bankruptcy of Desai in the field of Indian philosophy, though he may be an intellectual giant in Economics," Kunal said.

In course of a lecture on Bhagvad Gita recently, Desai had said that Kurukshetra war was fought over land dispute and Krishna's sermon to Arjun to fulfill his caste obligation.

Kunal said the sermon to Arjun was not to fulfill his caste-dependant obligation of a Kshatriya but to fight and kill the enemies without thinking the consequence. "Arjun was the main warrior from the Pandava side and he refused to fight in the most crucial war. It was imperative on the part of any higher authority to advise him to fight and fight relentlessly. If in the war against Pakistan Jagjit Singh Arora would have refused to fight in the last moment, thinking that thousands of soldiers would die, India would not have won," Kunal said.

Contending Desai's arguments, Kunal said it was not for land dispute but a right had been denied to the Pandava. "If Desai's argument is followed, India should surrender the territories claimed by China and Pakistan," he said.

Kunal said Desai's conclusion that the Gita was written to praise the top two 'Varnas' and to abuse the Vaishya and Shudras was to provoke caste tension in the country. "Gita is the first text in Indian context which prescribes 'Varna' on the basis of 'Guna' (merit) and 'Karma' (performance) and not on birth. It does not hold any distinction between a highly qualified Brahmin and pariah. Krishna calls himself a friend of all creatures," he said.

"It can be understood that Britishers, who ruled India, tried to divide India socially but it is difficult to pursue the agenda of a person who is enjoying benefits of two countries and is trying to divide the society by such lectures. I fail to understand wherefrom Dr Desai gets impression from the Gita that it is a Brahmanical weapon against Buddhism. It is a pre-Buddhist text and therefore there is not a single reference to any Buddhist term in the Gita," he added.

Dr Desai's contention that the text of the Gita was written in three periods spanning 900 years is the imagination of some western scholars as they have not provided any proof or sound reasoning. It is beyond comprehension that the 18th canto of the Gita which is core to its tenets appears irrelevant to Dr Desai. It shows his superficial knowledge of the Gita. The Emeritus Professor of Economics should desist from giving lecture on a topic which has been so dear to the Indians that Raja Ranjit Singh had wished that the Gita should be placed at his heart at the time of his death.