Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's son and State Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin sparked controversy when he compared the term 'Sanatana Dharma' to diseases like dengue and malaria, stating that it should not merely be opposed but "eliminated." Udhayanidhi made these remarks during a 'Sanatana Abolition Conference,' where he argued that Sanatana Dharma goes against principles of social justice and equality.
Delhi police have filed a complaint against Udhayanidhi under sections 120B,153A, 295, and 504 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and IT Act for the “provocative, inciting, and defamatory statement against Sanatan Dharm."
The FIR was filed on the complaint of Supreme Court Advocate and Social Activist Vineet Jindal against the Tamil Nadu Sports Minister’s statement.
These comments drew sharp criticism from BJP leaders and ignited a strong backlash on social media, with numerous calls for legal action against the minister. BJP's Amit Malviya characterized Udhayanidhi's statements as a 'genocidal call'. She remarked, "Rahul Gandhi speaks of 'Mohabbat ki dukaan' (shop of love), but Congress ally DMK's scion talks about eradicating Sanatana Dharma. Congress's silence implies support for this genocidal call."
Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai lashed out at the DMK leader and said that the Stalin family’s idealogue has “bought-out idea from Christian missionaries". “And the idea of those missionaries was to cultivate dimwits like you to parrot their malicious ideology," he added.
“The only resolve that the Gopalapuram Family has is to accumulate wealth beyond the State GDP. Thiru @Udhaystalin, you, your father, or his or your idealogue have a bought-out idea from Christian missionaries & the idea of those missionaries was to cultivate dimwits like you to parrot their malicious ideology. Tamil Nadu is a land of spiritualism. The best you can do is to hold a Mic in an event like this & rant out your frustration! (sic)," Annamalai wrote on X.
The comments triggered massive backlash on social media, with many calling for a case to be filed against the Tamil Nadu minister.
With the comments from one of its prominent constituents, the INDIA alliance is on the back foot. Congress and other alliance partners are looking to distance themself from the comments.
Udhayanidhi Stalin's remarks can be summarized as follows: "Certain things should not merely be opposed; they should be completely eradicated. We do not oppose diseases like dengue, mosquitoes, malaria, or corona; we work to eradicate them. Similarly, we should strive to eradicate Sanatana Dharma. The name Sanatana is derived from Sanskrit and goes against the principles of social justice and equality."
Udhayanidhi Stalin had earlier stoked controversy after saying that he and his wife were Christians and said that he was proud to call himself a Christian and that after knowing this, the Sanghis would be burning.
In a subsequent clarification, Udhayanidhi stated that he did not call for the genocide of individuals following Sanatan Dharma. He argued that Sanatan Dharma is a belief system that perpetuates divisions based on caste and religion, and eliminating it promotes humanity and equality. He reaffirmed his stance on the issue, emphasizing that his comments were made on behalf of oppressed and marginalized communities who suffer due to Sanatana Dharma.
While Udhayanidhi's comments have put the DMK, an opposition party in the INDIA alliance, in a challenging position, it is essential to understand the origins and values of Sanatana Dharma.
Sanatana Dharma, often referred to simply as Hinduism, is one of the world's oldest religions and spiritual traditions. It is a complex and diverse set of beliefs, practices, rituals, and philosophies that have evolved over thousands of years in the Indian subcontinent. The term "Sanatana Dharma" itself translates to "eternal" or "eternal way" and is often used by adherents to emphasize the timeless and universal nature of their religious and philosophical traditions.
Key aspects and beliefs of Sanatana Dharma include:
Diverse Beliefs: Hinduism encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices, with no single founder or central religious authority. It includes monotheistic, polytheistic, and even atheistic perspectives, allowing for a high degree of personal interpretation and spirituality.
Reincarnation and Karma: Central to Hindu belief is the concept of reincarnation, where the soul (atman) is reborn into different bodies through multiple lifetimes. Karma, the law of cause and effect, dictates that one's actions in this life affect their future reincarnations.
Dharma: Dharma refers to one's duty or righteous path in life. It varies depending on an individual's age, caste, gender, and occupation. Fulfilling one's dharma is seen as a way to accumulate good karma.
Yoga and Meditation: Hinduism has a rich tradition of various yogic practices and meditation techniques aimed at achieving spiritual growth and self-realization. The Bhagavad Gita, a revered Hindu scripture, discusses the paths of yoga, including Bhakti (devotion), Karma (action), Jnana (knowledge), and Raja (meditation).
Pantheon of Deities: Hinduism is known for its multitude of deities and gods and goddesses, with each representing different aspects of the divine. Some of the most widely worshipped deities include Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), Shiva (the destroyer), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), and Durga (goddess of power).
Sacred Texts: Hinduism has a vast collection of sacred texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, among others. These texts provide spiritual guidance, ethical principles, and philosophical insights.
Rituals and Festivals: Hinduism is rich in rituals and festivals celebrated throughout the year. Diwali, Holi, Navaratri, and Raksha Bandhan are some of the well-known Hindu festivals.
It's important to note that Hinduism is not a monolithic religion but rather a diverse tapestry of beliefs and practices. It has evolved and adapted over millennia, absorbing and influencing various cultural, philosophical, and religious traditions. Sanatana Dharma emphasizes the eternal quest for truth and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, allowing individuals the freedom to explore and interpret these concepts in their own way.