The controversial remark by Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Sanatan Dharma has raised a political storm with the BJP trying to make it a big issue. DMK ally Congress is officially silent on this issue. Udhayanidhi Stalin says, he stands by his remark about “uprooting Sanatan Dharma” and there was no question of retracting. Naturally, his remark has hurt the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus in India and abroad. Top BJP ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh and Ravishankar Prasad lashed out at DMK and its political allies in the INDIA alliance for this remark. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge has supported Udhayanidhi’s remark saying any religion that divides people on the basis of castes and communities and promotes inequality must be uprooted. Udhayanidhi Stalin is not a teenager. He is a senior minister in his father’s cabinet. He understands the impact that his remark has created. The function where he made this remark was itself named Sanatan Dharma Abolition Conference. Udhayanidhi’s remark was deliberate. It was meant to provoke Hindus. He however clarified that when he said “uproot”, it was meant to uproot evils and it was not a call for massacre. The event where he made this remark was attended by state Charitable Endowments Minister P K Shekhar Babu. M K Stalin’s government controls most of the famous Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu. These include Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram, Kapaleshwar temple in Chennai, Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Brihadeswara temple in Thanjavur, Ekambareswar temple in Kanchipuram, Pancharatha temple in Mahabalipur and many others. Lakhs of donations are collected at these temples, but the priests working at these temples get a token salary from the administration. Dayanidhi has not made such a remark for the first time. Last year at Christmas time, he said he was a Christian and was proud to be so. The founder of DMK was C. N. Annadurai. He used to oppose Sanatan Dharma and was a staunch opponent of Brahmins. Annadurai prepared the political foundation for DMK in Tamil Nadu. Udhayanidhi thinks that this ideology suit his party fine and there will be no opposition to his party line in the state. Since he has spoken about “uprooting” Sanatan Dharma, it has caused reverberations in national politics. His political allies like Congress, JD(U), RJD, NCP, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena (UBT) know this very well that those who speak about uprooting Hindus or Hindutva cannot survive politically in northern India. The people of North India will never tolerate those supporting leaders who call for “uprooting” Sanatan Dharma. It may be that Udhayanidhi does not know the real meaning of Sanatan Dharma. But I am surprised to find some Congress leaders brushing off his remark as part of freedom of speech and expression. The sentiments of crores of Hindus are linked with Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan literally means ‘perennial, which has neither beginning nor end. It is also known as Vaidik Dharma or Hindutva Dharma. It is the world’s oldest religion and is part of the world’s oldest civilization. Sanatan Dharma believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World Is My Family). People belonging to Sanatan Dharma gave asylum to thousands of Jews and Parsees who fled their nations. Sanatan Dharma has been lauded in Bhagavad Geeta and in the works of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and others. Nobody ever said, Sanatan Dharma divides people. Even a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice J S Verma had said that the word Hindutva denotes the lifestyle of millions of Indians, and it cannot be limited to only those who believe in Hindu faith. In other words, the Supreme Court had accepted that Hindutva cannot be described as a religion. It is a lifestyle. I would like to tell Udhayanidhi Stalin and his supporters that cruel tyrants and religious bigots could not finish off Sanatan Dharma despite carrying out pogroms and massacres. So, to speak about “uprooting” Sanatan Dharma is a meaningless one. No citizen in this country, particularly those occupying Constitutional posts, has the right to hurt the sentiments of the Indian people.
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