Sushma on the Gita

Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s pitch to declare the Bhagavad Gita as a “national scripture” is unfortunate (Dec.8). The Gita enjoys pride of place in Hinduism. But as we are a secular democracy, the state has a responsibility to be neutral in matters of faith. At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking pains to transcend his Hindutva image with his rhetoric on development and good governance, his Ministers appear to be pandering to right-wing sentiments.

M. Jeyaram,

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

People of other religions have understood and learnt more about the Gita and what it propounds than Hindus have. For example, former President Abdul Kalam would usually quote the Gita during his meetings and lectures to highlight the importance of moral values and virtues. Similarly, there are many Hindu religious discourse-givers who often cite the Koran and the Bible. In a multicultural society, forcing one’s predilections will meet with resistance and opposition. In a secular and multi-faith country, what Victor Hugo said will keep the social fabric united: “We are for religion against the religions.”

R. Sridharan,


It has become common for senior BJP leaders to come out with some controversial statement or the other that fuels speculation about the secular credentials of the ruling party. The communal situation in India is still quite sensitive and fragile. Any provocative utterance from a person in power would amount to rubbing salt in raw wounds. Let leaders of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar focus on developmental issues.

S.V. Venkatakrishnan,

San Jose, California

The concept of secularism in India envisions the acceptance of religious laws as binding on the state, and the equal participation of the state in different religions. The Upanishads preach “Sarva Dharma Sambhava”, meaning respect for all religions. Today, pseudo-secularism is being practised by different political parties. It was Jonathan Swift who aptly said: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”

F. Heldon

Periakulam, Tamil Nadu

That the BJP has not reacted to Ms. Swaraj’s utterance shows its lack of consideration for the sensibilities of the minorities. Our Constitution envisages equal status for all religions, and unilateral recognition of one religion’s holy book as a “national scripture” will not stand judicial scrutiny and is certain to be nullified by the Supreme Court. Such an irresponsible utterance, from a senior member of the Cabinet, is bound to exacerbate insecurity among minorities.

M.K.B. Nambiar,


As a nation founded on the principles of secularism, we have the Constitution as our holy book to guide us on the path to progress and in policy formulation. Ms. Swaraj should adopt a futuristic vision rather than a populistic one, so that we do not deviate from our democratic ideals.

Satkhohao Haokip,


There is no philosophical basis or scientific explanation that the Gita provides solutions to many of our problems, When medical science and psychology have made tremendous advances and help us live a healthy and good life, there is no need to go back to the religious scriptures for this. It is a purely personal perception that one may think of a particular scripture to be holy. Imposing this view on others is undemocratic and unacceptable.

K. Anil Kumar,


The Minister has shown that she has neither read nor understood the Gita.  The word ‘secularism’ came into usage in 1851. India has been a secular country. I do believe in and respect all the religions and their books, but will never expect my own religious book to become the “national scripture”.

Sachin Kurien Jolly,


Six letter-writers (Dec. 9) were of the unanimous opinion that the plea would wound the feelings of the minorities. The Gita is held in high esteem, irrespective of class, creed or religion. It is essentially advice on what should be one’s duties in various circumstances and how one must never run away from one’s responsibilities. The Minister has only voiced her opinion. Why raise a hullabaloo over this?

Mani Nataraajan,


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 5:42:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/sushma-on-the-gita/article6677449.ece

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