ARE MINDS THAT CREATE CONFLICT OVER RELIGION REALLY DEVOUT? ARE THOSE who want to shed blood in the name of religion really religious?
A controversy has erupted due to an engraved ‘Bhagavadgeeta’ (the sacred Hindu epic) near the statue the late president, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam at his recently inaugurated memorial. His wise Muslim family quickly ended the row by also placing copies of the Quran and the Bible near the statue.
There motive behind keeping only the Geeta there was obviously ulterior. Dr. Kalam’s family at least had the good sense of neutralize the mischief, but raising a controversy on the issue is equally malicious.
No controversy has been raised over the way Sai Baba, who had lived in a mosque as a fakir in Shirdi, is worshipped with all rituals and huge statues of his with costly crowns set up in lavish temples.
No controversy arose over huge temples built for Shiva who was an ascetic.
No controversy has been raised about noisy ‘matadi jagarans’ (all night singing of songs in praise of a Goddess) with extremely loud amplifiers by those who object to Azan, the call for namaz (Islamic prayer) over loudspeakers in a Masjid at odd hours.
No controversy has been raised by most Muslim intellectuals over the communal politics in Kashmir and the killing of Hindu Pandits there.
And yet a Bhagavadgeeta in a memorial for Dr Kalam is an issue for a controversy
Dr Kalam, undoubtedly the best President India ever had, could quote from the sacred Tamil epic, Thirukkural, and never made a fetish about being a Muslim. For him the Bhagavadgeeta was as sacred as the Holy Quran.
He never made an issue of the Hindutva (pro-Hindu) stand of the BJP which was then in power . So the Congress opposed a second term for him and gave the country’s most exalted post to a woman whose only qualification was subservience (more than just loyalty) to the dynasty and Indira Gandhi.
A controversy was raised when, as President, he went to Ahmedabad just after the unfortunate Gujarat anti-Mulsim riots, touched off when a train carrying Hindus working for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya was set on fire. Few cared to know that he went there for the centenary of his guru and mentor, Dr. Vikaram Sarabhai who pioneered Indian space science. Dr Kalam’s reverence for teachers is touching.
Some people just want controversy and tension for their ulterior political ends.