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Updated: December 20, 2011 02:05 IST

MPs condemn Siberian court move to ban Gita

    Aarti Dhar
    Vinay Kumar
Comment (45)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
An ISKCON follower holds a placard during an agitation in front of Consulate General of the Russian Federation Office in Kolkata on Monday.
PTI An ISKCON follower holds a placard during an agitation in front of Consulate General of the Russian Federation Office in Kolkata on Monday.

Lok Sabha proceedings were disrupted repeatedly on Monday with several members condemning a move to ban Bhagwad Gita by a Siberian court. They demanded that the government take it up strongly with Russia.

External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna will make a statement on the issue in the House on Tuesday. Announcing this Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the sentiment cut across the party lines.

"We will not tolerate any move to insult Lord Krishna," Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad, said, adding that it was a `conspiracy against Lord Krishna.’ He was supported by several members who expressed their anger over reports that a court in Tomsk was due to pronounce its verdict in a case calling for a ban on the Bhagwad Gita.

The Russian translation of a book 'Bhagwad Gita As It is' written by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is being sought to be banned by a court for reportedly spreading "social discord".

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Bhratruhari Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal) demanded that the Indian Embassy in Moscow should take the issue up with the Russian authorities. Demanding that religious freedom of the Hindus in Russia should not be compromised, he said the ISKCON had also appealed in this regard to the Indian government.

As soon as he finished speaking, members of Shiv Sena, BJP, RJD, BSP, Samajwadi Party and even Congress member Ijyaraj Singh stood up and protested the move. They also sought an immediate intervention by the government.

Speaker Meira Kumar, while asking them to maintain order, advised them to submit notices to have a full-fledged discussion on the subject.

Mr. Lalu Prasad said the government should lodge a strong protest with Russia, adding ``insult to Lord Krishna and the Gita will not be tolerated.’’ The Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shiv Sena's Chandrakant Khaire and BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi were on their feet while trying to make their point in an agitated manner.

As the melee continued, the Speaker adjourned the House until 2 p.m. When the House met, similar scenes prevailed and had to be adjourned once again until four p.m. when several members including Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) spoke and said sentiments of millions of Indian were associated with the issue and the government should take the initiative to resolve it.

A case filed in June this year, seeking a ban on the Russian translation of the ISKCON chief's book on Gita, is to come up for hearing in a court in Tomsk in Russia soon.

The petitioners there have argued that the holy book is extreme in nature and could cause social discord. The ISKCON argument is that the proponents of the case have not consulted any Indologist and have based their arguments on misplaced information.

As a person living for the past 38 years,in the US and practicing medicine solo in a small town for the past 33 years, I have come across many White racists and >Christian bigots. Not all Whites and Christians are Racists and Bigots. Mine is the only one of 4 or 5 families of Hindus. I have taken to heart what the Mahatma Gandhi once said in Triplicane in his speech encouraging the people to read the Gita and practice the teachings therein. As a non-Brahmin Tamilian, not knowing Samskritam, I initially read Maha Kavi Bharathiar's beautiful Tamil translation. Then I decided to self-learn Samskritam for the purpose of understanding the Gita. In my view no other religious scripture is as profound as the Baghawad Gita. I have never felt lonely or unhappy since I have started to read Gita repeatedly.

from:  V.Mahadev, MI, USA
Posted on: Dec 21, 2011 at 09:34 IST

So MPs cannot solve India's food, crime or economic problems but they
have all the time in the world to "condemn" what a sovereign nation
decides through proper legal channels? (The ban is in the form of a
lawsuit being pursued through the courts)
If the Russian govt wants to ban the Gita, let them! They might have a
hundred reasons for doing so...its not like we know everything there
is to know about the afair.
Lodging a formal complaint is one thing but this drama is foolish or a
desperate attempt to win votes.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Dec 21, 2011 at 01:00 IST

Mr.narasimhan - Einstein's statement that "all his
discoveries were possible because of reading Sanskrit and the great
Bhagavat Gita".
Einstein said that? You've got to be joking. In all my years of reading Einstein, I've never
come across that. Did you know, by the way, that Einstein, in his own writings, often
complained about the tendency of the religious to take his use of words such as 'God' out of
context. If you read his own writings, it's clear that Einstein believed in no personal god like
jesus or krishna and he was almost certainly an atheist, although he preferred the label
agnostic.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 23:44 IST

I agree most with the commenter Prabha. India is a secular country with a Godless
constitution, which treats all religion as a private matter, best left to people to believe and
practice as they choose. If our MP's feel strongly about this issue then they should speak out
and act in their private capacity and not abuse their position as MPs. If Laloo the citizen is
angry then he can voice his concerns outside parliament, but laloo the MP ought to shut up
about religion in parliament and do the job he has been elected to do.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 23:38 IST

Govt. should be very careful in highlighting this kind of issues.

from:  S. Debnath
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 22:47 IST

Our politicians are the master-class when it comes to arouse
emotions.If foreigners don't want to have faith in our religion and
Gods, it is there decision. The strength of our religion is based on
how we respect our Gods,not others. If others don't want to take
something as sacred as Bhagvad Gita,it means they haven't understood
the true meaning it implies. And who says they have insulted the holy
book, they have just put ban on it, and that too the order is in
proceeding.When idols of our own Gods are defaced in the country,they
all keep mum.What's the point of this ruckus when there are so many
important discussions pending in the parliament and the session time
is running short.It seems the politicians are too eager to see the
reaction on the public of the stage drama they are hosting in the
hall. Even at the cost of the expensive time we, the taxpayers, are
paying for discussions to solve the most imminent problems that our
country is facing at the moment.

from:  Deepak Thakur
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 22:42 IST

What's the fuss! When the country is immersed in crisis after crisis and Lord Krishna
couldn't do much, why raise such hue and cry over the Gita banned by Siberia!!! How on
earth is that going to change the face of India? Our politicians first need to be banned for
wasting precious Parliamentary time!!!

from:  Kavin
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 22:16 IST

I remember many years before when Mr.Gorbochev was in the helm he quoted Gita in an international conference explaining how saner counsel should previal and how the teachings in Gita help everyone for the same.It is a pity that insane thoughts cloud the current rulers in some provinces of Russia.But there is no reason to panic as Gita does not need recognition from hardened people whose bent mind does not recognise straight thoughts.

from:  RAM.S
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 22:09 IST

Why do we cry for Bagavat Gita (BG) ? I am sure none of them crying for ever read BG nor got its essence.Hinduism never tried to assert itself because by nature it is like honey that attracts bees.BG never been part of any "ism" till date but a set of advice to every human being to tap the inner strength to face the uncertain, often rough external world. Instead of living to the values BG expounds, we are trying to negate its great message "Fear not", for many Indian's BG is still a coffee table book. Let the people choose how do they want to treat a book made of paper and ink named BG, by value for some it is highly cut rare pristine diamond, others it may be good charcoal! As I understand, Everyone has the freedom from birth to choose his belief in Hinduism,for a true Hindu whatever best in the world in any form is a representation of the supreme formless one, the God. Let the Russians do whatever they want, please stop the protests and crying in the name of BG, remeber "Fear not".

from:  Rajesh Kaprat
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 21:08 IST

About eleven years ago I had a chance reading of simple Bengali translation of some sections of the Bhagabat Gita. I found it wonderful. I got inspirations from it and for long I kept it with myself. It is sad that I lost the book. I still cherish fond memories of it. Though I am a muslim I never found any problem appreciating the book. The source of devine knowledge is the same. And there are many holy books in many languages to give devine knowledge to the people of those languages. It is sad that the court intervenes in such matters. The way the world goes, hard times are coming for the believers.

from:  fakir lalan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 19:42 IST

While it is of utmost importance for the Indian government to make sure Gita is not banned, it is illogical that every person in the Parliament is trying to adjourn the house for this reason.. One congress member also supported the opposition for this issue. So, why adjourn? They could have discussed this issue and came up with a solution instead of creating a chaos.. Did we vote these persons to adjourn the houses for all the issues or to find solutions to the issues?

from:  Manikandan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 19:05 IST

Let the Lok Sabha solve problems in India first. We have many. Then they can argue about problems in Siberia.

from:  Somaiah
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 18:01 IST

What is the need to forcefully propagate the message of Gita--as if you all have understood and realised the message in your own daily lives. Banning a book does not necessarily amount to insult. Why do organisations like ISKCON want to force the gita on people who are not ready for it? Are you supporters of islamic mode of spreading the message--using force, law and sword? Leave those ignorant siberians alone, maybe they deserve something else. You pay attention to your life and live the message. Iskcon itself hasn't remained free of problems for a while.

from:  venkat
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 17:41 IST

I do not have any objection against banning the Gita (in Russia); it is for each country and court to decide whether of not a book can or have inspired violence. I sincerely wish/hope other scriptures (of other religions and ideologies including certain communist texts) are banned to preserve uniformity of law.

from:  Padmakumar Rao
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 17:08 IST

Mr.Krish is correct. Bhagavad gita is not our (hindu) scripture. It is for the entire human beings, no entire living beings. No one can ban this since it is already exists in everyone's heart. India should take up this matter more seriously not like any ordinary things. failure to this will prove shame on indian government and the politicians. we all need unity to come out of this problem since it is considred as our holy scripture which had come from this holy country. do not make it as a politics, it is in the mere interest of Russians too, to understand the value of being human.

from:  Sankara kumar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 15:55 IST

IF union govt. of india has to interfere in case of gita, then it should have also done the same in case of ban on wearing veil by muslim women in france.Afterall muslim's are a part of india also.

from:  Mandeep Singh sandhu
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 14:56 IST

As a non-Hindu who has read the Bhagavad Gita (in the original Sanskrit), I cannot imagine how anyone could consider it to encourage divisiveness and violence. If this is not some sort of crazy local Russian politics, the people calling for the ban must be delusional.

from:  Bill Poser
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 13:30 IST

We as a separate country has no right to dictate what other countries have to do. They have their own culture and school of thought, what is right here in India cannot be the same everywhere. Banning slaughter of cows in India was not condemned by any other country, the Sati System wasn't condemned by any country, India isn't banning the Bhagavad Gita- so whats the noise all about, its on us to maintain the sanctity of this holy book.

from:  Vickey Palzor Lepcha
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 12:58 IST

Who can Rule out Bhagavat Gita? Who in this world except Shri Krishna
can surmount such an expositionof thoughts into simple verses? I want
to share at this moment the Einstein's statement that "all his
discoveries were possible because of reading Sanskrit and the great
Bhagavat Gita". After hearing such a comment, I strongly feel that no
man in this world have got any credibality to speak insane of the
Incomparable Gita. The greatness of GITA can never be tarnished by the
ignorants and their comments from whatever quarters they are in. Didnt
we have in the past or even now such athiests in our land? What have
we done to them other than just listening to their stupidity with
utmost tolerance?

from:  narasimhan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 12:30 IST

I think real enimies of Bhagavad Gita is in our parliament itself. Laloo prasad (who may not be able to read any text due to illiteracy!) is term it as a 'ban on Krishna'. It's very rediculous.
We should think that there're many countries in this world where religious texts are banned. Eg. In Saudi Arabia Gita, Bible etc are banned. But India has good diplomatic relation with that country.

To solve this dispute, first of we should check the translation against any deviative versions from Original message of Gita.

Also we should not forget that there are many hindu scholars in India itself against some portions of Gita. Some of its verses persuade castism and Chathurvarnya philosophy.

Then the govt should pressurise the Russian authorities to lift the ban. Because banning a religious text is not a fair matter.

from:  Christo Chiramukhathu
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 12:00 IST

Agreed and supported by the words of RJD Chief.

from:  Shailendra Mishra
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 11:48 IST

No government of free peoples should have the right to ban ideas. No
modern, secular government should have the right to control what their
citizens are allowed to think and what information people have access
to.
But Russia is not a secular democratic country, it is communist and I
am not sure if they have any qualms about suppressing the right of
their people to think. Further, the entity perpetrating this is the
christian church which is probably nervous of ISKCON's proselytizing.
That said, there is a delicious irony in extremist groups such as Shiv
Sena raising their voice so passionately, so righteously against this.
Aren't these the groups(and equivalent Muslim and Christian groups)
responsible for the bans on Salman Rushdie's novels? On MF Hussain's
art works? On books on Shivaji? So they can be violently intolerant
when it comes to defending their cherished untruths, but a Russian
church cannot be allowed the same bigotry in their country?

from:  Ram
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 11:45 IST

Ridiculous stuff! Why do russians scared of "Bhagavad Gita"? Is it because their culture? I guess they called it "Extreme" because they thought that after reading Bhagavad Gita the citizens may inspired through the preachings and will convert to hinduism as many foreigners do in India. Infact Bhagavad Gita is not religious but it is saying facts that are to be considered for ideal life. Hence Russians banned it

from:  Sai Sagar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 11:30 IST

Indian MP's should have taken the issue of Racism as well with the
religion. Hate crimes have given a very hard time for Indians living in
Russia especially in Moscow and St Petersburg. Our government is so
napunsak that it gave an advisory in its website told students to not to
go outside alone in Moscow or Petersburg, instead of asking Russian gov.
to stop Racists attacks on Indian. Shame on Indian Gov.

from:  Salisane
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 11:27 IST

Read the book Krishna The Man and His Philosophy by Osho. You will get the true picture of Krishna an enlightened man and how the priests/politicians has interpreted the Bhagvad Gita in a wrong way for their fortune.

from:  Vishnu
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 10:35 IST

While it's important that the Bhagavad Gita not be banned to ensure freedom, we need to keep a sense of perspective. Banning it is NOT an insult to Lord Krishna. The India we have today, including Lalu, that paragon of modern Yadava folly, is the insult. That some misguided church in Siberia has gone to court is itself a form of extremism; and Sanatana Dharma will not be diminished by any ruling, either for or against the Gita. Final point: the Gita is NOT our scripture, so stop wasting time and do something useful for your constituencies, you Lok Sabha slackers!

from:  Krish
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 10:28 IST

>At this juncture we have to appreciate the following comments of Russian Ambassador to India Mr. Alexander M Kadakin for his comments regarding ban on "Holy Bhagwad Gita" in Russia "I consider it categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts. For all believers these texts are sacred, it is not normal either when religious books are sent for examination to ignorant people. Their academic scrutiny should be done at scientists' fora, congresses, seminars, etc but not in courts,"

from:  A.SESHAGIRI
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 10:22 IST

Bagvat Gita is one of the worlds best scriptures. I regret the misinterpretation that the siberian authorities have resorted to. It is unfortunate.

from:  Bilal Ahmad
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 10:17 IST

The reporting standards of The Hindu has fallen to the extent that a move by PRIVATE OR WESTERN(?) vested interests to create rifts in the time tested relationship between peoples of two nations is captioned by your esteemed newspaper as move by the Siberian Court and the people of Russia. This is nothing but a well timed conspiracy to stir up passions to prevent India using Russia's tech or support to become energy independent. It was Russia which sent food grains by shiploads to a needy India when under President Carter 'King-maker Kissinger' tried his best to twist India into economic and foreign policy submission to the US when he directly intervened to halt import of food grains by India from the US. Ships laden with grains and on course to India were actually diverted by Kissinger's orders. That the orders were reversed later by the US after Russians ships called on Indan ports with food grains is a well documented history. Thus had begun India's fiendship wth Russia.

from:  rn iyengar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 09:54 IST

Where was Lalu Prasad with his `conspiracy against Lord Krishna’ when all religions was banned in the USSR, and the ISKCON members were prosecuted, put in jail and mental asylums? Why didn't Lok Sabha protest when all original books on yoga and religion, including the Gita, were prohibited in the former USSR? The USSR official Russian translation of the Gita was much worse than the ISKCON chief's book on Gita, but both are bad and could be banned even in India.

from:  Veronica
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 09:15 IST

This is an insult to all the Hindus around the world and should not be tolerated.

from:  Krrishna
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 09:12 IST

Ban "Gita".......what a joke!!!!!!!!!!!

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 09:12 IST

The matter is in court, why not leave it there? After all, a pep talk
given to a conscientious objector exhorting him to discard this
eunuch-like quality and weakness of spirit and to wake up as a man who
makes others sad (I can translate "parantapa" as that, can't I?) can
also be seen as an incitement to violence. It is the human capacity to
separate the grain from the chaff that gives us nuggets of philosophy
from a tragic tale of internecine strife. With all this plethora of
well-meaning words floating around us, we, as human beings, have shown
repeatedly our capacity to unerringly choose evil over good. And God
has been always a willing ally in bloodshed over the centuries. Ask
the poor Russki Jews.

That aside, these people are quite behind the times. I remember a
petition to the Calcutta High Court in 1985 to ban the Quran on the
same grounds. Earlier this year, someone moved the court in Pakistan
to ban the Bible. Some Pastor in the USA burns the Quran. Great minds
think alike!

from:  Jayadevan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 09:10 IST

A secular country should have no bussiness to offend/defend any religion/scripters etc , definitely in a foreign country and also in its own territory; in the case of ;latter it sometimes may to prevent social disorders and mutual civil wars.
The circus in the parliament aparenrly is for local vote banks.What india will/can do if the book is banned; Nothing.The MPs are trying to beat each as to who is better defender of HINDU's HOLY BOOK.

from:  Dr abdul jamil khan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 08:31 IST

The Gita emanated in an Indian culture as existed before
thousands of years and it is preposterous to plead that it
would create social discord in a land and culture that was
no where then contextually.All over the world the Gita is
held to be synonymous with the the hoary wisdom of
India for ages.It would be in order if the court permits the
circulation of the Gita after expunging the objectionable
translations of the original book.Any other kind of verdict
would only cast serious doubts about the legal acumen of
the court.

from:  G.Rajaram.
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 08:24 IST

All glories to our leaders in Loksabha who have the guts to rise above politics and protest against injustice. May Lord Krishna bless them with lot of love that they can share with the world.

from:  davinder kumar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 08:09 IST

This is completely unacceptable and this goes against the right of citizens to pursue freedom of choice. The BhagvadGita is a cradle of knowledge. It is reverred for its depth and scope of knowledge.
And knowledge needs to be spread and not restricted to extend its usefulness to humanity.
The decision to ban it is ,therefore, a gross violation of human choice and freedom.

from:  aatifanjum
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 07:30 IST

What is happening to western world? How can they ban Bhagwad Gita? Are they so chicken to feel scared of Hinduism? Is Russia becoming another Taliban state? Very good to see all the unlikelist people Lallu, Congress bat along with BJP. This is heartwarming to Hindus like me.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 06:33 IST

I will be really happy to see these good-for-nothing MPs concentrate their energy
and do something useful for India like doing their jobs properly, keeping good
discipline, not shouting at each other, showing up on time and not disrupting the
proceedings and always obeying the SPEAKER. They are all worked up over
something happening in a far away place over Bhagwad Gita. I wonder how many of
these MPs really know what it is and what it says !!!

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 05:36 IST

It is indeed thrilling to read that cutting across the party line MPs condemned the motivated move of Russia to ban Bhagavad Gita. World over thinkers, philosophers and scientists irrespective of their religious affiliations have been inspired by the Gita. Great Russian Count Leo Tolstoy in 1909 wrote to Mahatma Gandhi quoting Bhagavad Gita where he found a number of ideas including those of non-violence and non- resistance which were Gandhiji's main planks of freedom movement. It is ironical that such a book is dubbed as an 'extreme literature' advocating 'social discord' and 'war'. A ban on the Gita would not go well with Indians which is not good for Indo-Soviet friendship that has been assiduously cultivated since Nehru's time.

from:  Dr.A.Gajanana
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 04:52 IST

Although it is unfortunate that the court may decide to ban Bhagwad
Gita, I don't think the Government should get involved. This is a
religious issue and not something that the Government of India should interfere with. Although Hinduism is the religion of a majority of
Indian population, India is not a Hindu country, it is a secular
country. Unless the Government is willing to interfere in such issues
related to every religion that is represented in India it should not
make an exception in this case either.

from:  Prabha
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 03:52 IST

Shame on a seasoned parliamentarian like Mr Murli Manohar Joshi for causing a
melee in the house thus forcing it to adjourn. Why can't he make his point in a
civilized manner? When India is reeling with a multitude of problems he is more
bothered about some far-flung nation banning a book (no matter how holy). Better
he retire and save the nation some blushes!

from:  Anand Jetti
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 03:14 IST

I am not against the MPs raising this issue and asking the GOI to take this up with the Russian Federation. However, do our MPs need to make it a cause for disrupting parliamentary proceedings? Do they know that that the Bhagvad Gita and for that matter all non-Islamic religious books are banned in Saudi Arabia? How is it that they have never asked the GOI to protest that? Come on MPs get real - we have many other problems to solve - concentrate on what we can achieve as a nation and not get sidetracked by some Siberian court proceedings.

from:  Gopinath Rao
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 03:00 IST

Theree is one rationalist movement in Tamil Nadu misusing the freedom of speech and writing is denegrating LordKrishna and propagating hatred against a particular community even today What action Mr. Chidambaram is taking action against thie group THis group ought to have been banned after independence for sprading Nazi like propaganda The Minister will not take action for obvious reasons but going on tatgetting Hindu groups like RSS Siv sena

from:  raam
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 02:27 IST

Why does it matter ? If Siberia does not want Bhagavad Gita so be it. India does not lose. You cannot improve anybody against his will. After all the DK and DMK parties and their offshoots in Tamil Nadu in a vulgar display of arrogance beat the idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses with chappals in public places. Several of them are now in Central government holding cabinet ranks. Get those people out of the central government before complaining of Siberia.

from:  T.S.Krishnaswamy
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 01:49 IST
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