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“Unacceptable”: Congress distances itself from Patil’s recent ‘jihad’ comment

New Delhi: After a political row erupted over the former Union Home Minister and Congress veteran Shivraj Patil’s controversial remark that the concept of ‘jihad’ finds mention not only in the Quran but in the Bhagwad Gita and in Christianity as well, the Congress on Friday disassociated itself from the latter’s remarks and called it “unacceptable”.

At a book launch event in the national capital on Thursday, Shivraj Patil said that Lord Krishna also taught lessons of jihad to Arjun in a part of Gita in the Mahabharat inviting controversy.

He also claimed that the concept of ‘jihad’ finds mention not only in the Quran but in the Bhagwad Gita and in Christianity as well.

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Taking to Twitter, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Friday shared an excerpt from Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Discovery of India” where the former PM talks about Geeta’s ‘universality’.

“My senior colleague Shivraj Patil reportedly made some comments on Bhagavad Gita that’s unacceptable. Subsequently, he clarified. @INCIndia’s stand is clear. Bhagavad Gita is a key foundational pillar of Indian civilisation. Here’s an excerpt from Nehru’s Discovery of India(p110),” Jairam Ramesh said.

In another tweet, the Congress leader said, “Incidentally, I learned Bhagavad Gita in my early teens and have had a life-long fascination with it as a cultural and philosophical text, with a profound influence on Indian society over the ages. I wrote about this in my book The Light of Asia: The Poem that defined the Buddha.”

“It’s said there is a lot of discussion on Jihad in Islam religion… Even after all efforts, if someone doesn’t understand clean ideas, then power can be used. It is not just in the Quran Sharif, but also in the Mahabharata of which Gita is a part,” Patil said.

“Shri Krishna also talks to Arjuna about jihad. It is not like this is only in the Quran Sharif or the Gita but in Christianity also it is written…Christ has said that I have not come here to establish peace but I have come here with sword,” Patil said.

Speaking in Hindi, the Congress leader said that “if even after explaining everything, people do not understand and they are arriving with weapons then you cannot run, you cannot call that jihad and you cannot call it wrong, this is what must be understood, there should not be this concept of making people understand with weapons in hand.”

Patil’s remarks have drawn flak from the BJP which has hit out at the Congress for “Hindu hatred” and “vote-bank politics.”

Patil who was Union Home Minister from 2004 to 2008 and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1991 to 1996 was addressing the audience at a book launch of Congress leader and former Union Minister Mohsina Kidwai. Among the other dignitaries present at the launch were Shashi Tharoor, Digvijaya Singh, Farooq Abdullah and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

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