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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mamata takes offence to Jai Sri Ram slogans at first Parakram Diwas celebrations

The first Parakram Diwas (day of valour) celebration was initiated by The Ministry of Culture, Government of Bharat, in commemoration of the beginning of the 125th birth anniversary of one of Bharat’s most influential freedom fighters and inspirational leaders Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on January 23rd in the Victoria Memorial lawn at Kolkata.

Among the dignitaries present at that program were Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, Sri Jagdeep Dhankar – Governor of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and a host of other luminaries.

When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee got up to address the gathering, some of the people present in the function started chanting “Jai Shri Ram”. For some reason, this made her feel terribly insulted.

“I am thankful to the Prime Minister and the Union Cultural Ministry for holding this programme on Netaji in Kolkata,” she said.

Speaking in Hindi, she added, “Lekin kisi ko aamantrit kar ke beijjat karna aap logon ko shobha nahi deta. (It is unbecoming of you all to insult someone after inviting her to an event). In protest of this, I am not speaking anything more. Jai Hind. Jai Bangla.”

“I think there should be some dignity when a government programme is being held. This is not the programme of one political party. This is a programme of all parties and the people,” she added.

The chief minister though did not leave the venue. When Modiji took the stage, the same audience shouted from the crowd “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (glory to Mother Bharat). The Prime Minister started his speech, addressing Mamata Banerjee as “behen“(sister).

He said, “West Bengal needs to play an important role in the quest for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, just like the role Netaji played for the freedom of the country. Aatmanirbhar Bharat has to be led by Aatmanirbhar Bengal and Sonar Bangla,” he said.

He chanted only ‘Jai Hind’ before and at the end of his speech. It should also be added that The Prime Minister was shown black flags by a handful of TMC supporters while on his way to Netaji Bhawan, but he did not bring up any mention of that unsavoury incident.

In the past, Mamata has jumped out of her motorcade to admonish people chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and even get them arrested. Mamata fears that the slogan has become a vehicle for a Hindu awakening in West Bengal, a state which has for decades suffered massive minority appeasement and continuous rioting / political violence by a combination of Islamists and ruling party workers (earlier CPM, now TMC).

Left-liberals have been trying hard for the last few years to brand the timeless “Jai Sri Ram” slogan as a ‘war cry’ using a few isolated incidents. They have even cooked up some false cases where Muslims were coaxed to claim that people chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ had assaulted them. Virulently anti-Hindu Western media outlets like BBC have repeated this propaganda. However, the same voices are silent about the real war cry of ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ chanted by terrorists before committing crimes against humanity, or those extremist organisations who want to establish the ‘Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ’ all over the world by eradicating non-Christians.

Political observers were quick to draw parallels between Mamata’s churlish remarks at the Netaji event with the deft way that Modi handled a similar incident when he was CM of Gujarat.

That incident took place in October 2013 at Ahmedabad on the occassion of the inauguration program of the Sardar Patel Museum organised by Gujarat Congress leaders where former Minister Dinsha Patel, the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi were invited. It was a programme to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel and the audience was largely Congress centric. So, the crowd was not at all hospitable to Chief Minister Modi. But to his credit The Chief Minister handled the situation with grace and spoke about Sardar Patel and his achievements with great regard and passion. Also, back then Dr. Manmohan Singh was received by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi on arrival. But in Kolkata Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instead sent one of her ministers to receive Prime Minister Modi.

This again shows the political astuteness of Prime Minister Modi vis-a-vis Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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