Date :03-Apr-2024

THE observation of the Supreme Court bench of Mr. Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Mr. Justice Dipankar Datta is absolutely appropriate that Tamil Nadu Minister Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin had made a ‘voluntary’ remark in effect that Sanatan Dharma was like a disease and needed to be eradicated. By stating thus, the honourable Supreme Court has placed its finger of the pulse of the cancerous political disease of heaping bad names on Sanatan or Hindu religion -- in the name of freedom of expression. The observation bares the nature of the remark that has hurt the religious susceptibilities of a vast majority of people in India as well as elsewhere in the world. In the past some time, for reasons of their own and their own choice, many politicians have been indulging in disparaging the Sanatan or the Hindu religion. Some of them have picked up out-of-context lines from some religious texts and heaped insults on sentiments of countless crores of common people. Some others have chosen to describe the Hindu or Sanatan religion as a disease. Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin was among such political persons to have made absolutely unacceptable remarks about Sanatan. It was obvious that Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin or his accomplices in his political party or elsewhere had chosen to make such remark.
Their aim was to insult the sentiments of the followers of the Sanatan Dharma. It was only natural that the honourable Supreme Court judges have not missed the element of deliberateness in the dirty remarks about Sanatan Dharma of Hindu religion. The proceedings in the case in the honourable Supreme Court apart, it needs to be admitted with sadness that India’s political discourse had got terribly distorted over the past few years because of lobbies of people gunning for the Sanatan Dharma or Hindu religion. Though such lobbies cannot derive any political or electoral advantage from such remarks, they continue to indulge in the dirty campaign. This has often led the common people to believe that such people are less interested in any political benefit but have a poisonous animus in their mind about the Indian values. There are reasons to be believe, therefore, that such people -- like Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin -- have an agenda that may go well beyond the narrow electoral goals. This brings us to issue a word of caution to the larger Indian society to be far more cautious and alert against such elements that aim at creating disturbances in the collective Indian mind. This drives us to urge sane people in the larger Indian society to discard such elements and consolidate Indian value-system from inside out -- beyond politics.
They must underline the importance of Sanatan Dharma as a foundation of Indian culture through their thought and action of which accommodation of all faiths is an integral part. No matter some disruptive elements, all faiths have consolidated the larger Indian culture over time. This fact needs to be highlighted time and again. The elements that heap insult on any religion need to be restricted and punished through appropriate legal action. This is the need of the hour today. The attempt is not to propagate any one faith or dishonour any other. The attempt is to establish the primacy of sanity of public discourse and sanctity of ideological debate. As ‘People’s Paper’, ‘The Hitavada’ has always stood for respect for all faiths beyond politics. But it also rejects the idea of selective disrespect of some faiths in the name of secularism or ideological differences. We view the observation of the honourable Supreme Court from this point of view. It is time the larger Indian society understood its core duty of accommodation of all faiths in all dimensions of collective living.