The dispute surrounding the religion of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, just before his anointment as the chief of the Congress party, has raised serious questions about the functioning of democracy in India. Before going deeper into the issue, I must make it clear that we respect the prohibitory guidelines of the Election Commission of India on seeking or casting votes in the name of religion and caste. However, deliberate concealment of religious identity by a Lok Sabha MP who is being anointed as chief of the second largest political party in the Parliament of India is definitely a matter of serious concern.
Hypocrisy of a secular Brahmin
Playing on its diplomacy, the Congress from flaying Hinduism and appeasing Muslims is now endorsing the sacred thread.
Ashish Sood | 2017-12-03 14:49:57.0
The entry of Rahul Gandhi and his party colleague Ahmed Patel as 'Non-Hindu' in the register of the prestigious Somnath Temple of Gujarat, by his media advisor, has raised an alarm for the Indian political system. Above all, the vague defense of Congress by calling her scion as a 'Janeu Dhari Hindu' (Brahmin) only reveals the habitual divisive politics of the decaying Congress which always nourished, groomed and used the leftists to name and shame each and every tradition of 'Janeu Dhari Hindus' (Brahmins) including the Janeu (sacred thread) itself. Since independence, flaying Hindus and complementary Muslim appeasement has been the winning strategy of the Congress in all the elections, but why is its tallest leader roaming temples sporting a Janeu? It's not a change of heart but a classical "Mareech" diplomacy of the thugs within the Congress. His father gagged Shah Bano. The mother wept bitterly on the event of the encounter with Islamic terrorists in Batala and now their son is boastfully showing his Janeu to the Hindus.
Was Rajiv Gandhi, a Hindu?
Jawaharlal Nehru recognised himself as a Kashmiri Pandit but never sported a 'Janeu', as is evident from his bare chest photos practising Yoga. His daughter Indira Nehru was married to Feroze Gandhi. In his popular book 'India after Gandhi', the eminent historian Ramchandra Guha writes, 'Feroze Gandhi was also from Nehru's hometown, Allahabad. A Parsi by faith, he at first spelt his surname 'Ghandy'. However, after he joined the national movement as a young man, he changed the spelling to bring it in line with that of Mahatma Gandhi. That amended surname proved to be of incalculable significance to his wife; for most foreigners, and not a few Indians, assumed that she was in some way related to Mahatma Gandhi'. Subsequently, Firoze Jehangir Ghandy, the son of Faredoon Jehangir Ghandy became popular as Firoze Gandhi. He simply changed his surname but did not embrace Hinduism. This change of name is almost akin to Muhammad Yusuf Khan, who is popularly known as Dilip Kumar in Indian cinema.
In line with popular tradition, Indira Nehru adopted the surname of her husband and became Indira Gandhi. However, Congressmen argue that she continued her faith. What would be the religion of Rajiv Gandhi even if the argument is accepted? Not only in India but across the world, children are identified with the religion, caste and surname of their father. What was the religion of Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Feroze Gandhi alias Feroze Ghandy? Even a blind will answer—Parsi. There is no evidence to prove that Rajiv Gandhi embraced Hinduism. Therefore, his son Rahul Gandhi is a Parsi by birth. However, Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy claims that he has converted to Christianity.
There does exist provision where a non-Hindu can adopt Hinduism by getting deeksha sanskar from a Guru or by undergoing a Ghar Wapsi ceremony etc. The Congress needs to explain and provide evidence on when, where and by whom Rahul Gandhi or his father Rajiv Gandhi were brought into Hinduism? The janeu is not merely a 'sacred thread' but it has certain 'do's and don'ts' that must be followed on a daily basis. Once worn, a 'janeu dhari' Hindu is required to perform those actions on a daily basis until his death. By proclaiming Rahul Gandhi as a 'janeu dhari' Hindu, Congress has once again insulted Brahmins in particular and Hinduism in general. Whatever disrespect and neglect the Congress leaders and the members of the 'holy Gandhi alias Ghandy family' express for Feroze Jehangir Ghandy and his Samadhi in Allahabad, he will be known as the father of Rajiv Gandhi.
If Rahul Gandhi is Hindu, how is Taimur 'Ali Khan'?
Besides the family of Indira Gandhi, the family members of contemporary actor Prithviraj Kapoor are also facing questions. Kareena Kapoor, who was born into the fourth generation of the Prithviraj Kapoor family, is Christian from her mother's side but was raised as a Hindu. She married Saif Ali Khan and the child is 'Taimur Ali Khan'. Like Rahul Gandhi, the grandmother of Taimur Ali Khan –Sharmila Tagore—is a Hindu and maybe even a Shiv Bhakt. Similarly, Saif's sister Soha Ali Khan married Kunal Khemu, a Kashmiri Pandit. Their child is Innaya Naumi Khemu, not the Khan. Moreover, the children of Rahul's sister Priyanka are – Raihan Vadra and Miraya Vadra.
In the third generation of the Kapoor family, we see Ritu Nanda who married Nikhil Nanda. Their son Rajan Nanda is married to Sweta Bachchan, the only daughter of Amitabh Bachchan. The children of Sweta Bachchan are – Navya Naveli Nanda and Agastya Nanda; not the Bachchan. The only daughter of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan is Aaradhya Bachchan, not Rai. There are innumerable examples not only in India but throughout the world where the children are known from the surname and religion of the father, unless they convert and adopt another religion.
The Election Commission of India must make it compulsory for candidates in elections to write their religion in nomination papers and any evidence contrary to the claim shall be the basis for their disqualification, even after being elected. If legal proceedings can be initiated against a youth for submitting wrong caste identity to receive reservation benefits under OBC, SC or ST category, why should legal proceedings not be initiated for concealing religious identity and receiving undue benefits? The religious identity affects the voters and the demands for reservation on the name of 'adequate representation' are based on caste and religion. This is the reservation politics that the Congress has been using to disturb Gujarat, since the last two years. Rahul Gandhi should stop the Congress's divisive politics of divide and rule. He must come forward and tell the people of the nation about his religion. Having said this, we respect his right to contest elections irrespective of his religious belief but he must stop propagating falsehood to fool the people of India.
Furthermore, it is also a legal issue. There are different marriage rules for Indian citizens on the basis of their religion. Is Rahul Gandhi not marrying or not revealing his marriage to avoid the clutches of the law? Which marriage act will he follow – Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act or Parsi Marriage Act? Rahul must answer to 'we the people'.
(The author is senior BJP leader in Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal.)