Udit Raj on Mahishasur row: Freedom of speech can't mean you can abuse gods

Udit Raj
Udit RajFeb 26, 2016 | 17:27

Udit Raj on Mahishasur row: Freedom of speech can't mean you can abuse gods

It is important to understand to whom the question of the Mahishasur controversy is being posed. Am I being asked as a party leader or a Dalit activist? As a BJP leader, I am not the authorised spokesperson to comment on the issue.

In my personal opinion, Mahishasur is a creation of the imagination (kalpanik patra), whose existence can neither be traced anthropologically, sociologically, genetically nor historically. Now what he was and how he was perceived according to the fables in different eras is another matter altogether. There exist neither any writings by him nor are there any speeches.


From what I have heard and read, the pamphlet Smritiji (Union HRD minister Smriti Irani) was quoting from in Parliament, raised the issue of Devi Durga. It is not right to abuse Devi Durga, and that is what Smritiji opposed in her speech.

Holding a belief is not an issue, but it is never right to abuse any god or goddess. This does not come under freedom of speech. One cannot say "Pakistan Zindabad" or say anything against the nation. What Smritiji was saying was that these people from the Left who claim not to even believe in religion, are today worshipping Devi Durga and celebrating Durga puja. Whose intellectual bankruptcy is this?

I have always fought actively for the abolition of the caste system and will continue to do so. I am a strong supporter of Dr BR Ambedkar. In spite of being in the Congress, Dr Ambedkar did not throw up the sponge on his own beliefs on caste. Sociological beliefs and political beliefs are two different things. It is important to hold the ideology of the party and win an election and then implement those ideologies.


You would feel that the people who held the Mahishasur festival at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in October 2013 were strong supporters of Dr Ambedkar as well. But I disagree. Why? Because Dr Ambedkar was also against Article 370, granting special status for Jammu and Kashmir, but these students host events and demonstrations supporting Article 370.

The event at the JNU was one in which I simply went to discuss social issues and speak about reservations. The event may have had Mahishasur in its title and name, but this was all I discussed. I have been an advocate of human rights all over the world. Whether in Geneva, Washington, Brussels, South Korea or Nepal, or on any platform, be it one organised by Sikhs, Christians, Muslims or Zoroastrians.

On Rohith Vemula

Rohith Vemula’s suicide is not the first. Repression is extremely common in this country. In thousands of schools, no one wants to eat lunch with Dalit children. This isn’t something that is happening only today, it has been happening for years. Caste-related travesties have taken place in several universities and this is a societal reality. The fight against this discrimination is on and we will continue our fight against it.


The government is taking steps to this effect. Whoever is guilty, will not be spared.

(As told to Asmita Bakshi.)

Last updated: February 28, 2016 | 12:20
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