After Gita at Memorial, Tamil Party Claims Kalam ‘Not a Muslim’

A pro-muslim leader in Tamil Nadu courted controversy by saying that Kalam wasn’t even a Muslim.

Updated31 Jul 2017, 11:53 AM IST
India
2 min read

A few hours after the placing of holy books near late president Abdul Kalam’s statue in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram sparked a row, a pro-Muslim group leader on Monday made a controversial statement, claiming that Kalam wasn’t even a Muslim.

Jainulabudeen, leader of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, was quoted by India Today as alleging that the late president prayed to idols and respected naked sadhus.

“Before he became a president, nobody knew him. He was just another scientist in the crowd. BJP and the Sangh noticed him and lack of his objection to praying to idols or getting blessings from Sankarachariyar. This is why they made him the president,” India Today quoted him as saying.

An Engraved Bhagwat Gita Sparked a Row

An engraved ‘Bhagavad Gita’ near the statue of Kalam kicked up a controversy on Sunday, with his family seeking to end the row by placing a copy of the Quran and Bible near it.

Kalam's relatives Sheik Dawood and Salim said, “An unnecessary controversy was raised by some people. DRDO officials worked tirelessly for the memorial construction and had not sculpted the Bhagavad Gita near the statue with any (ill) intention. Now we have left two books – Quran and Bible near the statue.”

After a few hours, officials manning the memorial, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 July in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram, kept the Bible and Quran in a glass box in the vicinity of the statue.

However, leader of a local Hindu outfit objected to the placing of Quran and Bible near the statue on the ground that “no permission was taken” for the same. Hindu Makkal Katchi leader K Prabhakaran filed a police complaint claiming that the two holy books (Quran and Bible) were placed without permission from authorities.

“I respect all these books. But keeping them (in the memorial) without permission is wrong. Steps should be taken to see that such things are not done again,” he told reporters.

Vaiko-led MDMK and the PMK have raised questions on the need for keeping the engraved 'Bhagavad Gita' alongside the wooden statue of Kalam playing the musical instrument 'veena' in the Rs 15 crore memorial, designed and built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with which Kalam was associated for a long time.

They said they would also place a copy of Tamil treatise ‘Thirukkural’ near the statue soon.

An MDMK spokesperson said party founder Vaiko had already questioned the need for a Bhagavad Gita there, when Kalam used to refer only from ‘Thirukkural’.

A PMK leader, who did not wish to be named, also questioned the need for sculpting the wooden piece with the name of ‘Bhagavad Gita’, saying Kalam was common to all citizens of India.

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL at bol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Published: 31 Jul 2017, 11:51 AM IST
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!