India

Shivraj Patil’s jihad remarks are ‘unacceptable’: Congress distances itself

On Friday, the Congress distanced itself from Shivraj Patil’s statement that jihad exists in the Bhagavad Gita and Christianity too. It was unacceptable, the party said.

Patil tried to get out of the controversy by denying what he said. At the launch of Mohsina Kidwai’s biography on Thursday, Patil said it was said there was a lot of talk about jihad in Islam and that the concept “comes to the fore when despite doing the right thing and having the right intentions, nobody understands or reciprocates, then you have to use force”.

And this is not only in Quran sharif, but also in the Mahabharata, in the Gita, when Shri Krishna talks of jihad to Arjun, and this is not just in Quran or Gita, but it is also in Christian texts…which means even after you try to make someone understand, they are not understanding…and they are coming with weapons. You cannot run, you cannot call that jihad, and you cannot call this wrong either; understanding must be understood. There should not be this.

Attempting to clarify his remarks, the former home minister said Friday that the death of someone who spoke the truth would constitute jihad even within the Hindu religion. It is jihad if you kill Mahatma Gandhi. Why was Mahatma Gandhi killed?…I will call it jihad…not jihadi… he told ANI. “You are the one who calls it jihad. Was I asking if you would call jihad what Shri Krishna instructed Arjuna to do? It is not. This is what I said.”

Amid a political storm caused by Shivraj Patil’s remarks on the Bhagavad Gita, the Opposition party’s communication director, Jairam Ramesh, stated, “My senior colleague Shivraj Patil made some comments about the Bhagavad Gita.” It is unacceptable to do so. Subsequently, he clarified his remarks. As far as the Congress is concerned, its position is clear. There is no doubt that the Bhagavad Gita is one of the foundational pillars of Indian civilization.

Ramesh also published an excerpt from Jawaharlal Nehru’s book The Discovery of India, in which the first prime minister discusses the Gita’s message.

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