Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has cautioned against mixing religion with politics, saying religion was “personal” and a “way of worship”, as he stressed that politics should not get into religion. Those remarks were made while delivering the Sree Chithira Thirunal Memorial Lecture in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
“We may pray to Allah… we may pray to Jesus Christ… we may pray Rama.. Krishna…Sai Baba…Lord Ayyappa… If we believe in vasudhaiva kutumbakam and the spirit of the country is to treat everybody equal, how can anyone discriminate against people on the basis of religion and caste,” he said.
The Vice President also said that closing temples in the name of caste is “totally wrong” and against the dharma, culture and the visions of the country.
Social justice and inclusion were part of the genesis of independent India and “we couldn’t have had a really free nation with a sizable unfree population”, he said, adding, in the socio-economic context of pre-Independence India, removal of barriers to social integration of the Dalits was a big challenge.
India cannot be called an ideal nation and an egalitarian civilised society, if people were divided on the lines of caste and sub-castes, VP Naidu said.
“Why is Indian civilisation still strong, vibrant… because we believe in sarva jana sukhino bhavantu…vasudhaiva kutumbakam… the entire universe is one family… we believe in the welfare of everbody…we take care of the well being of our neighbours…,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, the vice president also emphasised that India never believed in aggression for it has no history of attacking any country.
Detailing the responsibilities of administrators, the vice-president said a king or a democratic government has to be ever vigilant, ever watchful, and ever open to new trends.
“They need to be responsive to the changing needs and times if they have to stay relevant,” he said.
Lavishing praise on erstwhile Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, he said his historic Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936 was a “bold step.”
The 24th Sree Chithira Thirunal Memorial Lecture was organised by the state-based Sree Chithira Thirunal Smaraka Samithy at the Kanakakunnu Palace. Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam, state minister of cultural affairs AK Balan and members of the royal family attended the function.
(With inputs from PTI)