Expressing concern over the increasing communal conflicts in the country, former Union minister and Kangra member of Parliament (MP) Shanta Kumar on Wednesday called for civility and tolerance among various communities.
“Whatever is happening in the country is grave, unfortunate and condemnable,” Shanta said in a statement issued here, adding, “Such incidents are hampering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts for a new image of India.”
Rapping the political leaders for their “irresponsible” statements, the former Himachal Pradesh chief minister said the leaders, who spoke of Hindutva, hadn’t themselves understood the concept.
“Hindutva in itself is a wider concept. It’s not a style of worshipping, was not started by an individual and has several scriptures. It is an ocean, a confluence of different styles of worship and a way of life,” Shanta said.
Even the Supreme Court, Shanta said, had described it a “philosophy of life”, he added.
Citing the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said no one could be a bigger Hindu than him. “Even Vivekanada opposed the evils in Hinduism like untouchablity and useless rituals,” Shanta said, adding that the diversity in culture, since ages, represented India’s national unity.
India and Hindutva, Shanta said, had given respect to all, even the rationalist thinkers in the old times and freedom of thought and tolerance was the uniqueness of this great country.
“Now, what the people are doing in the name of Hinduism is not Hindutva. I request these people to try to study Hindutva and Swami Vivekananda,” Shanta said.
He said the people of different communities should respect each other’s religion and faith. “A mosque in Kashmir is home to Mui-mubarak and is the faith of the Muslim community. Similarly worship of cow as mother is a century-old tradition of the Hindu community, and the communities should respect each other’s religious sentiments,” he added.
“BJP chief Amit Shah reprimanding the party leaders for controversial statements on such sensitive issue is a welcome step but came too late,” Shanta said, adding, “Had this been done earlier, the unfortunate incidents could have been prevented.”
The veteran leader appealed to all political leaders to work together to prevent the situation from getting worse.