Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A "secular" arm of state, Tarun Sagar shouldn't have been invited to address in Haryana assembly: AAP leader

Vishal Dadlani
By Our Representative
Well-known Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh has taken strong exception to Jain religious guru Tarun Sagar being invited by the “elected Haryana assembly to address legislators in the house”, saying “it should keep itself away from the religion, religious practices and religious gurus.”
The TV journalist-turned-politician, who is the spokesperson of AAP, said, the issue is “much bigger” than being made out to be, adding, “The Indian state is a ‘secular’ state and religion has no place in the business of state” and the assembly is “an arm of the state.”
Ashutosh added, the “founding fathers of the Indian constitution deliberately adopted a secular state” and the Indian constitution is “secular in nature”, even though “originally the word ‘secular’ was not inserted in the name of India despite a very passionate argument put forth by the likes of KT Shah.”
The AAP leader’s comment follows the controversy surrounding music composer Vishal Dadlani’s tweet on the Jain Muni (monk) Tarun Sagar, objecting to the latter’s address to the state assembly, naked. In a satirical tweet, he said called the address on August 26 was “monkery of democracy” and “absurd nonsense”, punning on Modi’s “acche din” as “no kacche din.”
Dadlani not only apologized, he also quit from AAP, after Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that Tarun Sagar was “a very revered saint, not just for Jains but everyone” and “those showing disrespect is unfortunate and should stop", adding, he had met Tarun Sagar last year and his family “regularly listens to his discourses on TV. We deeply respect him and his thoughts.”
Dadlani's controversial tweet, now deleted 
Even as quitting AAP, Dadlani said, he could “never forget” the how, with the hard work Kejriwal and AAP “had fought for all of us”, calling upon AAP volunteers to “stay strong and fight twice as hard”, and he was with them all, “in spirit.”
Commenting on Dadlani’s resignation, Ashotosh said, Dadlani’s apology came late, adding, it had “already gone viral on social media which invited angry reactions from the Jain community”, pointing out, the whole episode has many dimensions.”
These are, said Ashotosh, “One: the issue is related to insulting a religious guru; two, the role of religion in politics; three, it is about the comment where the Jain muni compared the relationship of religion and politics to that of a husband and wife”, with the monk saying that “politics should play second fiddle to religion, like a wife to a husband, which was construed as misogynistic.”
“Once Dadlani and Kejriwal tendered an apology without any conditions, the matter should have ended. In Jain tradition, a much higher value is attached to apology - that of kshama (forgiveness). In Jainism, a particular day is celebrated as Kshamavani or ‘Forgiveness Day’, a day of forgiving and seeking forgiveness”, he added.
He further regretted that while Tarun Sagar was “gracious enough and said there is no need for apology, that he is not angry”, yet the matter was “politicised by the BJP and others” and “a protest was organized. Ill-will was harboured against Dadlani and AAP.”
This, according to Ashotosh, is against “the great Jain tradition, Michchhami Dukkadam (if I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness)”, adding, “Once Dadlani asked for forgiveness, it should have ended. But then such is the nature of politics in our country, every issue becomes political.”

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