The Congress distanced itself from the ‘Gita jihad’ comment of veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Shivraj Patil and said the party does not excuse his remarks. Despite offering clarification that what he said meant just the opposite, Patil is at the center of controversy for saying that the Bhagavad Gita mentions jihad as Lord Krishna gave ‘jihad lessons’ to Arjun.
The remark sparked a massive row with the BJP pillorying the Congress. Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Milind Parande said he does not know which Bhagavad Gita Shivraj Patil read.
At a book launch event, Shivraj Patil said jihad isn’t just referenced in Quran. In Mahabharata, under Gita, there is mention of jihad where Krishna gives jihad lessons to Arjun.
A day after, Shivraj Patil explained that he did not mention jihad. “Will you call Krishna’s lessons to Arjun jihad? No. That’s what I said,” he said explaining. Shivraj Patil explained that in the Hindu religion, jihad is killing a good person, like killing Mahatma Gandhi in jihad.
But battling evil is neither jihad nor wrong, he explained. “Even after explaining everything, someone is not understanding and is coming with weapons, you can’t just flee. And you can neither call it jihad nor call it wrong. This is what one must understand. You can’t make people understand with weapons in hand. That’s wrong,” the Congress leader said in his original statement at the book launch event.
The concept (of jihad) comes to the fore when regardless of having the right intentions and doing the right thing, nobody understands or responds, then one can use force, he said. “It is not just in Quran, but in Mahabharata also, the part in Gita, Shri Krishna also talks of jihad to Arjun and this thing is not just in Quran or Gita but also in Christianity,” he said at the event.
Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said Shivraj Patil’s reported remark on Bhagavad Gita is unacceptable. Congress’s stand on Bhagavad Gita is that it is a key foundational pillar of Indian civilization. “Incidentally, I learned Bhagavad Gita in my early teens and have had a life-long fascination with it as a cultural & philosophical text, with a profound influence on Indian society over the ages,” Jairam Ramesh tweeted.
Blaming Patil for minority submission, VHP’s Milind Parande said, “I don’t know which Gita he (Patil) has read. There is no mention of jihad in the Gita.”
BJP representative and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi demanded that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge or its leader Sonia Gandhi should respond to Patil’s comment.
Another controversy broke out on Friday as he said like Quran Sharif, Gita also says God has no form.