'Invoking god during election amounts to cheapening divinity'

Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is rushing through the country projecting Gujarat development model which he claims will be applied all over India so as to make India as one of the top countries of the world.

It is a different matter that many credible critics like People’s Union for Civil Liberties, a human rights organisation founded by Jayaprakash Narayan has published a book ‘Truth on Gujarat development,’ which shows all these claims to be exaggerated.

I can understand exaggerated claims by Modi and the disreputable attempt by the Congress to cover up the corruption, scandal and inefficiencies of the UPA government as a part of normal election strategy.

But when Modi invokes god as his supporter 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 I believe 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.

The Hindus’ most sacred scripture, the four Vedas, which they believe were god’s spoken words are said to have been instilled into Brahm 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 a 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 directly to save the nation.

Another declaration by Modi that when he went to file his nomination from Varanasi that he had not come on his own, but that he had come at the command of Mata (Mother) Ganga.

It is well known that to overwhelming number of 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 the 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.

Worldly problem

So surely he would remember that when Bhishma pitamah, one of the greatest hero of epic Mahabharat goes to Mother Ganga (it should be remembered that Ganga was the real mother of Bhishma, according to the epic), Ganga gets angry and tells Bhishma ‘why do you come running to me whenever you have any problem — use your own thinking and act accordingly) Bhishma accepts this remonstration in all humility.

So if Ganga, the real mother, does not want to get embroiled in worldly problem of her son 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 the Congress and the BJP at the highest level is sickening and shows how degradingly 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 Pt Nehru known to be greatest political rivals acted in the thick of 1962 general election when Dr Lohia decided to stand against Pt Nehru.

He wrote to him thus:

“Dear President, 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.”

Pt 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 centred on the political programmes. Be cautious and ensure that the personal discussion should be curtailed.” Yours, Jawahar Lal Nehru

Later on in 1963 when Lohia was elected to the Lok Sabha and went on first day to attend the session, Pt Nehru made it a point to be present there and to personally welcome him.

The moral is — good grace and mannerism should not become victim of political rivalry. Is it too much to expect that at least for the rest of the election period let debate be on political level and not on personal vilification?

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