Har Har Modi chant irks Varanasi priests

Don't politicise sacred mantras, say acharyas

A section of religious leaders in Varanasi have taken strong exception to use of a religious word to hail the BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, who will contest from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

The dharmacharyas (religious leaders) have asked the BJP to forthwith stop the use of slogan ‘Har Har Modi’ and expressed serious resentment over what they termed ‘politicisation of the sacred words’.

BJP workers have coined the slogan ‘Har Har Modi, ghar-ghar Modi’ and the same can found to be written on the walls, party posters and billboards. Groups of BJP workers can also be seen singing songs using the slogan.

Kameshwar Upadhyaya, a Varanasi based religious leader said Har Har is a mantra and such a mantra cannot be used for political purposes. The words are synonymous with Lord Shiva.

“It is akin to equating Lord Shiva with Modi, which is highly objectionable and unacceptable,” said Acharya Pawan Tripathi, another religious leader in Varanasi. They demanded that the BJP stop using the words forthwith.

However, Vedic scholar Ashok Dwivedi said there was nothing wrong in the usage, but advised caution in going overboard.

 “The slogan could be attributed to the over enthusiasm of the BJP workers,” he said.

The slogan had been raised during Modi’ public rally at Varanasi a few months back and after that the local party workers included it in their election campaign. During the recent Holi celebrations, groups of BJP workers were heard singing the slogan accompanied by music as they visited different localities in the town.

Local BJP leaders said they were not aware of any such resentment among the religious leaders of Kashi (Varanasi’s old name) but added that they would speak to them in this regard. “We will never think of hurting religious sentiments,” said a local leader.

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