Jai Shree Ram not associated with Bengali culture: Amartya Sen
Kolkata, July 6 (IBNS): Weeks after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had objected to the "Jai Shree Ram" chant by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen said the slogan is not associated with the Bengali culture, media reports said.
"I have not heard Jai Shri Ram before (in this way). It is now used to beat up people. I think it has no association with Bengali culture," Sen said this in Jadavpur University as quoted by NDTV.
"Jai Shree Ram" is used the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and workers in their political programmes.
Sen also said the culture of Bengal is mostly associated with Maa Durga. "I had never heard of Ram Navami before. I asked my four-year-old grandchild who is your favourite deity? She replied, 'Maa Durga'. The significance of Maa Durga cannot be compared with Ram Navami," he has been further quoted by NDTV.
Expressing his sense of worry for people of a particular community feeling scared, Sen said as quoted by the media, "If people of a certain religion are scared to move freely or are fear-bound, it is a serious matter."
Sen made the comment amid some incidents in the state as well as the rest of the country where people were attacked for not chanting "Jai Shree Ram".
Earlier Mamata had hit out at people for chanting "Jai Shree Ram" while she was on her way. Coming out from her car, the Chief Minister had verbally attacked and abused people who were chanting the slogan while her convoy was passing, leading to a huge political slugfest in the eastern state. She had also termed people who were chanting "Jai Shree Ram" as "criminals".
Later clarifying her stand, Mamata had said: "I am not against the slogan but I don't believe in mixing politics with religion."
During the swearing-in ceremony of Lok Sabha MPs including the ones belonging to the Opposition last month, the BJP lawmakers were seen chanting "Jai Shree Ram" making a scene of confrontation between the ruling and rival parties in the parliament.