Should Bhagavad Gita Be India’s National Book?

Russian Court Condemned For Labelling Hindu Holy Book ‘Extremist!

NEW DELHI – Is Bhagavad Gita an extremist literature? When the whole world sees this as a book of life, which is even taught in the American corporate circles, a Russian Court is planning to ban the book in the country terming it an extremist literature.

As the issues flared up, the Indian Parliament witnessed a heated session as the parliamentarians across the party lines demanded the government to take immediate steps to resolve the issue. Protesting the Siberian court’s decision to ban Bhagwad Gita, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj demanded the government to declare Bhagavad Gita the “national book.” She said “no country would dare to insult it” if the book is given the national book status.

The case has been going on since June in the Russian city of Tomsk in which a group closely linked to the Christian Orthodox Church demands a ban on the Russian translation of Bhagavd Gita written by the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

However, there were reports that the Indian government ignored the alert about the Russian court’s move to ban the holy book. News wire IANS had reported that the ISKCON devotees in Russia have the copy of the warning letter sent to the prime minister’s office in November which was addressed to Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterji. “We are very sorry to inform you that on June 30, 2011, the state prosecutor’s office in Tomsk, Russia, has filed a court case asking the court to ban Bhagvad Gita in Russia, translated by ISKCON’s founder AC Bhaktived Swami Prabhupada,” the news report revealed the content of the letter. The letter had reportedly asked the government to send high level ministerial delegates to Russia to engage in diplomatic dialogues prior to Manmohan’s Singh’s visit to resolve the problem. However, they allege that the government did not heed to their alert and ignored their demands. The letter was signed by ISKCON’s governing body commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami.

Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar responded to the development relating to Bhagvad Gita in the micro-blogging website Twitter and wrote, “Banning Bhagavad Gita in Russia is an unpardonable loss for the people of Russia. The move to ban ‘Bhagavad Gita’ shows intolerance; it is intolerance that is the reason for terrorism and not ‘Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavad Gita begins with word Dharma n ends with Mama. Entire Gita is nothing but Mama Dharma (My Dharma); that which uplifts life,” he tweets.

“Banning Gita ? Have they lost their minds. This great book of wisdom belongs not only to Hindus but to the whole humanity,” was the expression of lyricist Javed Akhtar on Twitter.

However, not many strongly feel the need of declaring Gita the national book as it has much of a universal character. Gita has been held with upmost respect by many great ones, including Albert Einstein.

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