By: Rajindar Sachar
Former Chief Justice, High Court of Delhi, New Delhi
Minister’s High Level Committee On Status of Muslims (Ex.)
UN Special Rapporteur on Housing
Member, U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (Ex.)
President, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) India (Ex.)
Dated : 02/05/2014
Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janta Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate is rushing through the country projecting Gujarat development model which he claims will be applied on All India level so as to make India as one of the envious countries of the world. It is a different matter that many credible critics like People's Union for Civil Liberties, a human right organization, founded by Jaya Prakesh Narayan during Emergency 1975, has published a book, "Truth on Gujarat development," which shows all these claims to be false.
I can understand exaggerated claims by Modi and the disreputable attempt by Indian National Congress to cover up the corruption scandal and inefficiencies of UPA government as a part of normal election strategy.
But when Modi invokes God to his support in the elections, as he did recently by saying “that he has been chosen by God to rescue the country....that God chooses certain people to do the difficult work, and he believes God has chosen me for this work,” is a statement that violates every teaching and tradition of Hinduism. Of course I know very little of Hindu Shashtras. But I know reasonably well to assert that under Hinduism God has never enlisted a mortal to save the country or lead the Nation. Rather it is sacrilegious for any Hindu mortal to claim that in worldly matters he is the chosen one by God.
Hindus most sacred scripture, the four Vedas, which they believe were God’s spoken words are said to have been instilled into Braham Rishis, whose names are not even known. Hindus believe in Tri-Murti of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva). They further believe that when there is injustice, anarchy on earth, Vishnu (Avtar) comes in the garb of man to save the world. So is the story of Lord Ram, and Lord Krishna whom God gave mortal shape and then sent them to earth to carry out his work. But nowhere under Hinduism has a mortal man (I hope Modi loyalists would not contradict the mundane claim that Modi is a mortal person, like the rest of earthly people), ever been entrusted by God direct to save the Nation.
More forcefully the same message and pattern runs through all the other religions. To Christian, Christ was the son of God – no other Christian claims direct contact with God. The Holy Quran rejects the notion of attributing divine qualities to any one other than God. The Quran contains narratives of previous prophets such as Adam, Abraham, Moses.
Prophet Muhammad (the last Messanger of God) never claimed that God revealed to him Quran directly. The Prophet's submissiveness to God is so complete is shown by his open declaration that it was through Angel Gabriel that God revealed the Quran to him. So Modi’s claim that he has been chosen by God is sacrilegious, against not only the
teachings of Hinduism or Islam, but of all religious. To claim such proximity to God is the most serious sacrilege.
Another declaration by Modi when he went to file his nomination from Varnasi attributes to him saying that he has not come on his own, but that he has come at the command of Mata (Mother) Ganga. It is well known that to overwhelming Hindus, Ganga is not considered only a river but above all divinity is attributed to it. I am not going into the question whether these words may not amount to invoking religious appeal during elections and a corrupt practice thus entailing disqualification. I concede that Modi is more conversant with Hindu Religion than me who could be called an ignoramus in this context. So surely he would remember that when Bhisham Pitamah, the greatest heroes of Epic Mahabharat goes to Mother Ganga (it should be remembered that Ganga was the real mother of Bhisham Pitama, according to the epic), Ganga gets angry and tells Bhisham ‘why do you come running to me whenever you have any problem – use your own thinking and act accordingly) Bhisham Pitama, the real son of Ganga accepts this remonstration in all humility. So if Ganga the real mother does not want to get embroiled in worldly problem of his real son Bhisham why would Ganga especially call Modi who is engaged in petty worldly matters of General Elections. Mr. Modi, why are you cheapening the divinity and the worship of Mother Ganga for whom millions of Hindus have the highest devotion and reverence.
Not to be out done Sonia has also invoked God to save the country from Gujarat Model. Who should God listen to because He is one God for all religions. Can one not expect politicians to leave God alone to look after us small mortals who have only Him to save us.
The low level exchanges between Congress, B.J.P. at the highest level is sickening and shows what degrading low can the fight for political plums drag the parties down. This was not always so. Let me give an example of the dignity with which Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Pandit Nehru known to be greatest political rivals acted in the thick of 1962.
General Election when Dr. Lohia decided to stand for parliament against Pandit Nehru. He wrote to him thus:
In these elections, your victory is certain. But if the certainty is turned into uncertainty and ultimately to your defeat then I would be extremely happy, and it would also be beneficial for the country. Then you would get the opportunity to improve yourself and become a better person. In the end, I pray for your long life so that I may get the opportunity to reform you.
Ram Manohar Lohia.
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru
Pandit Nehru replied:
Dear Ram Manohar,
I am happy that a sober person like you is opposing me in the elections. I think in this election the discussion would be centered on the political programmes. Be cautious and ensure that the personal discussion should be curtailed.
Jawahar Lal Nehru
Later on in 1963 when Dr. Lohia was elected to Lok Sabha and went on the first day to attend the Lok Sabha session Pandit Nehru made it a point to be present there and to personally welcome him. The moral is – good grace mannerism should not become victim of political rivalry. Is it too much to expect that at least for the rest of election period let debate be on political level and not on personal vilification?