Indian religion

Buddhism a religion of choice, why does this worry the BJP?

Buddhism a religion of choice, why does this worry the BJP?

An event organized by the Jai Bheem Mission, founded by AAP Minister, Rajendra Pal Gautam, angers the BJP as just a few days ago, in Ahmedabad, the conversion of 140 people to Buddhism went unchallenged.

A video of the Delhi minister being sworn in at a Buddhism event sparked a row between the BJP and the AAP on October 7, when just two days ago, Ahmedabad saw the voluntary conversion of 140 people from various districts on October 5 (Dussehra Day) to Buddhism. These people embraced Buddhism at a reception in the Majur Gam area near Lake Kankaria in the city of Ahmedabad. The event took place on the occasion of the Dussehra festival which Buddhists celebrate as Ashoka Vijayadashmi.

While the event in Gujarat was organized by the Gujarat Buddhist Academy and saw the participation of people from districts like Ahmedabad, Panchmahals, Banaskantha, Vadodara, Delhi event was organized by Jai Bheem Mission – founded by Minister AAP.

The latest falling out between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP came after a video clip of AAP Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam at a public religious conversion event went viral. In the clip, thousands can be heard taking an oath saying that they “no longer trust Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara and I will not worship them either”. The Minister may also be heard taking this oath.

Ironically, this mass conversion event, a day called the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din, is an annual event marking the conversion of Dr BR Ambedkar to the faith of Lord Buddha in October 1956 with hundreds of thousands of followers. Dr Ambedkar then took 22 vows, which included stepping away from the worship of Hindu gods that now repeats itself every year at these mass conversion events.

Therefore, here too, Minister AAP, among a thousand others at the event, can be heard taking the oath, saying, “I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, nor will I worship them no more”. Predictably, the BJP condemned Minister AAP’s participation, calling it an insult to Hinduism and Buddhism.

BJP Delhi leader Adesh Gupta has filed a complaint against the police over “social media posts” by Mr Gautam “of a provocative, infuriating and mischievous nature”.

“These social media posts are created with the clear motive of inciting violence and promoting hatred against Hindutva and the Hindu religion, which is then motivated to provoke them,” its complaint said.

Other BJP leaders have joined Mr. Gupta in attacking Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP. “AAP ministers are trying to incite riots. The minister should be expelled from the party immediately. We are filing a complaint against him,” said BJP MP Manoj Tiwari.

The BJP unit in Delhi tweeted the video, accusing the AAP minister of “spewing venom” against Hindus. The public will soon give an appropriate response to the anti-Hindu PAA. Shame on you Kejriwal,” he tweeted.

Not to be outdone or silenced, Rajendra Pal Gautam, who is currently Social Affairs Minister in the Delhi cabinet, responded, reminding the BJP of constitutional rights. “BJP is anti-national. I have faith in Buddhism, why does anyone have trouble with it? Let them complain. The constitution gives us the freedom to follow any religion. The BJP is afraid of the AAP. They can only file bogus lawsuits against us,” he said.

Adesh Gupta hits out at Arvind Kejriwal, questioning why he goes to temples during elections when his minister is ‘swearing people in against Hindu gods’.

“Once again the anti-Hindu face of the AAP has been exposed. @ArvindKejriwal Ministers make people swear that I will not believe in any Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh!

So what are you going to temples to show during elections?

Does Hinduism sting so much in the eyes of AAP? Why so much hate?” he tweeted in Hindi.

Firm on his convictions and on his position, the minister of the AAP declared that he had faith in Buddhism and that no one could force him to follow a religion.

“Those who do caste-based politics are traitors, they have no other agenda. They think they have exclusive rights to one religion. They ask why the AAP workers go to the temples. Well, those who have faith will go. I have faith in Buddhism, I will go there. No one can force me to follow any religion,” Mr. Gautam added.

The Delhi event was organized by the Jai Bheem Mission – founded by Mr Gautam – where nearly 7,000 people, mostly Dalits, embraced Buddhism. The event was also attended by BR Ambedkar’s great-grandnephew, Rajratna Ambedkar.