This is an insult to everything he stood for, says professor

The message of Swami Vivekananda has been twisted, taken out of context, manipulated and used by political forces for gaining votes, speakers at a programme held in the city on Saturday to mark his 150th birth anniversary.

“The philosophies of Swami Vivekananda are being used selectively by political leaders to further their agenda. They are using him as an agent to get votes. Not many speak about Swami Vivekananda’s views on religious fundamentalism and nation-building. This is an insult to everything he stood for,” said Nityananda Shetty, associate professor, Tumkur University, at the Congress-organised function.

Among the lesser referenced messages of Swami Vivekananda in today’s politically and religiously-charged atmosphere was his prediction that religion would become a “business” when it moved away from its fundamental duty of being a moral compass for society, the professor said. “Swami Vivekananda said that those who talk about religion are not truly spiritual nor are those who merely pray in temples or perform pujas. He called religious fundamentalism a ‘disease’ for propagating this idea, and for instigating communal hatred,” he stated.

Ejazuddin, scholar and former MLC, said that in today’s context of religious worship and behaviour, only according to the edicts of one’s own religion, was far from Swami Vivekananda’s emphasis on human values amidst respect for all religions.

The programme started with a procession, mostly consisting of schoolchildren, from Balmatta to Milagres Hall. It was flagged off by the former Union Minister B. Janardhana Poojary. Apart from local Congress leaders, Mr. Shetty and Mr. Ejazuddin were called upon to highlight Vivekananda’s message.

Oscar Fernandes, MP, said the teachings of Vivekananda should be analysed in today’s context and rued that the country had not followed his philosophies. “Vivekananda’s message to the youth, if followed, could provide an answer to many problems being faced by the nation,” he said.

A procession was held to mark the start of a youth conference and a Vivekananda memorial programme at Ramakrishna Ashram

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