Slugfest over Udhayanidhi’s remark on ‘Sanatan Dharma’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Slugfest over Udhayanidhi’s remark on ‘Sanatan Dharma’

Sep 04, 2023 12:31 AM IST

Udhayanidhi, the son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, maintained that he will not be cowed down by “saffron threats” while pushing for an egalitarian society.

Chennai/Jaipur/Bhopal A political tussle over Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on Sanatana Dharma escalated on Sunday, with Union home minister Amit Shah accusing him of “insulting” Hindu beliefs as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked the Opposition’s INDIA grouping over appeasement politics.

During his speech, Udhayanidhi said Sanatana Dharma stood “against equality and social justice”. (ANI)
During his speech, Udhayanidhi said Sanatana Dharma stood “against equality and social justice”. (ANI)

Udhayanidhi, the son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, maintained that he will not be cowed down by “saffron threats” while pushing for an egalitarian society.

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Addressing a meeting of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association in Chennai on Saturday, Udhayanidhi called for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma (a set of duties and way of living as proscribed in the Hindu religion) to establish social justice and equality.

“Few things cannot be opposed, they should only be abolished. We can’t oppose dengue, mosquitoes, or corona [Covid-19], we have to eradicate them. In the same way, we have to eradicate Sanatana [Dharma]. Rather than merely opposing Sanatana, it should be eradicated,” he said in Tamil.

During his speech, the 45-year-old MLA said Sanatana Dharma stood “against equality and social justice”.

“What is the meaning of Sanatana? It is eternal, that is, it cannot be changed; no one could pose any question, and that is the meaning,” he said, adding that the doctrine led to the division of society on caste lines.

Targeting Udhayanidhi for his comments, Shah said members of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA — a coalition of 28 Opposition parties, including the DMK — have resorted to hurting Hindu religious sentiments for the sake of vote bank politics.

“The Opposition alliance has been insulting ‘Sanatana Dharma’. Leaders of the DMK and Congress are talking about ending Sanatana Dharma just for votebank politics. This is not the first time they have insulted our Sanatana Dharma,” Shah said at a rally in poll-bound Rajasthan.

He added that coalition members “can go to any extent” to win votes as he accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of earlier equating Hindu organisations with terror outfits.

“But the more they talk against Sanatan Dharma, the less they will be visible. They say that if [PM Narendra] Modi wins, Sanatana rule will come. Sanatana is ruling the hearts of the people,” he said.

Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said the Opposition alliance cannot hide the “hatred” it harbours for “Bharat” and its rich culture by merely changing the grouping’s name.

“A name change… can’t hide the truth that this unholy alliance of corrupt people has not stopped hating Bharat, its rich culture and syncretic Sanatan Dharma which has been connecting the nation since ages,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

BJP president JP Nadda also urged the people not to side with the Opposition alliance, which he said was trying to spread “poison” by attacking the country’s traditions.

“Throw away such an alliance, which is against our Sanatana Dharma and is spreading poison. They want to abolish it (Sanatana Dharma). Eradicate them. Will the opposition alliance go to the people with the issue of finishing off Sanatana Dharma for the polls? he said while addressing a rally in election-bound Madhya Pradesh.

While one section of leaders from the Congress, an ally of the DMK, supported Udhayanidhi, another distanced itself from his statements.

“Sanathana Dharma is nothing but code for a Caste Hierarchical Society. All those batting for it are hankering for the Good Ole Days! Caste is the Curse of India.. In the common parlance of TN ‘Sanathana Dharma’ means Caste Hierarchical Society,” party leader Karti Chidambaram posted on X.

Howeverthe Congress’s Maharashtra chief Nana Patole said they do not believe in hurting anyone’s religious sentiments. “Our stand is clear. The Congress neither comments on nor believes in hurting anyone’s religious sentiments. We can’t take the onus for someone else’s statement,” he said.

BJP national spokesperson and MP Sudhanshu Trivedi urged the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the DMK leader’s statement, saying that it was hate speech.

“The Supreme Court had made an observation that they will take a suo-motu cognisance of hate speech. I hope the apex court takes an appropriate step on this utterly unequivocal and violence-provoking hate speech,” he said.

In a post on X late on Saturday, Udhayanidhi said he was ready to face any legal challenge. “Will say it today, tomorrow, and forever: Our resolve to stop Sanatana Dharma from the Dravidian land would not reduce even a bit,” he said.

He added in another post: “I stand firmly by every word I have spoken. I spoke on behalf of the oppressed and marginalised, who suffer due to the Sanatan Dharma. I am ready to present the extensive writings of Periyar and Ambedkar, who conducted in-depth research on Sanatan Dharma and its negative impact on society, in any forum.”

DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said the BJP misrepresented Udhayanidhi’s comments . “If the Prime Minister says ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, does he call for genocide? How can they say that Udhayanidhi has called for genocide?” he said.

(With agency inputs)

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