Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Govt monitoring Gita case: Krishna

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External affairs minister S M Krishna on Tuesday described as "absurd" the plea in a Russian court for a ban on the Bhagwad Gita, addressing members of Parliament who rose in protest for the second consecutive day. The opposition led by BJP's Sushma Swaraj charged that the Centre was not doing enough to register its protest with Moscow.

Krishna said, "While this complaint is patently absurd, we have treated this matter seriously and the embassy of India (in Moscow) is closely monitoring this legal case... We are confident that our Russian friends, who understand our civilizational values...will resolve this matter appropriately. We don't want to dignify with too much attention some misdirected individuals who have filed an absurd complaint."

Slamming the plea in a Russian court for a ban on the Bhagwad Gita, BJP leader and leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj demanded that the scripture be made India's "national book" to prevent its insult in other countries.

MPs rose in protest against the court complaint in both Houses. In the Rajya Sabha, Tarun Vijay asked, "Can the sun be stopped? Can Himalayas be banned or can earth's movement be stopped? Banning Gita is akin to that." Quoting Albert Einstein for good measure, he said: "When I read the Gita and reflect about how God created the universe, everything else seems so superfluous."

Later, addressing the Lok Sabha, external affairs minister S M Krishna said, "This complaint, apparently driven by some local individuals, was to the effect that the third Russian edition of the publication 'Bhagwad Gita As It Is' - a translation of a commentary by Swami Prabhupada, founder of Iskcon, had certain portions that were 'objectionable' and 'extremist' in nature... It (Gita) is one of the defining treatises of Indian thought and describes the soul of our great civilization. The Gita is far above any cheap propaganda or attacks by the ignorant or the misdirected."

Iskcon had received a notice this June from a court in Tomsk in eastern Siberia on a complaint filed by the public prosecutor's office which sought a ban on Prabhupada's book on the Gita, claiming that certain portions in it were "objectionable and extremist".

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