'Book Aims To Promote Religious Harmony': Salman Khurshid on 'Hindutva-ISIS' Row
Khurshid's book on Ayodhya had come under fire for comparing Hindutva groups to radical Islamic terror outfits.
Veteran Congress leader and senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, who had recently found himself embroiled in a controversy over his book Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times, has said that his book aims to promote communal harmony.
Khurshid's book on Ayodhya has come under the fire for comparing ‘Hindutva’ groups to radical Islamic terror outfits. Defending his stance, the Congress leader on Wednesday, 17 November, said in a column for The Indian Express:
"Throughout the book, I have sought to support and endorse the Ayodhya judgment, despite many of my legal colleagues having doubted its legal correctness, acknowledged and praised the philosophy of Hinduism, underscored the humanist dimensions of Sanatan Dharma. The thrust of the book is to promote religious harmony between Hindus and Muslims and highlight the Ayodhya judgment as an opportunity to find closure on the unpleasant past and look forward to a shared future."
The paragraph from the book that has incited public furore reads: "Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years."
Khurshid's Response to Ghulab Nabi Azad's 'Exaggeration' Remark
Khurshid's colleague and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had called the controversial portion of the book "factually wrong" and an "exaggeration."
"We may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology but comparing it with ISIS and Jihadist Islam is factually wrong and exaggeration," Azad had been quoted as saying by NDTV.
Responding to Azad, Khurshid, in the Indian Express column, states: "Comparison is about similarities, not about identical features, and exaggeration can only be of something that exists as a fact. I am not even inclined to fall back on a video of Azad from some years ago in which he equates Hindutva with ISIS. Are we disagreeing on degrees, not substance, or have times changed?"
'Hinduism and Hindutva Are Two Different Things'
Khurshid's house in Nainital was vandalised and set ablaze on Monday, a few days after his book had attracted ire.
"I hoped to open these doors to my friends who have left this calling card. Am I still wrong to say this cannot be Hinduism?" he had said on Monday.
Making a similar argument in his piece for The Indian Express on Wednesday, Khurshid wrote:
"Having said that Hinduism and Hindutva are two different things for the reason that the latter participates in the killing of innocent persons, what debate survives? The truth is that we have for too long given the forces of Hindutva the freedom to push us around, giving the impression that they have a monopoly of the truth."
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
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