‘Janeudhari’ Rahul Gandhi adds a ‘secular’ twist to his Sringeri Mutt visit

The  Karnataka elections are fast approaching and Congress President Rahul Gandhi has begun his temple visit spree with much fanfare. Yesterday the ‘janeudhari youth icon’ visited the Sringeri mutt in Chikmagalur district. Rahul Gandhi even donned the traditional attire of dhoti and shalya when he reached the temple town yesterday.

Rahul Gandhi met Bharti Tirtha Swamy, the Sankaracharya of the Mutt and interacted with students of the Dakshinamaya Veda Pathshala. His visit was termed symbolic by many as his grandmother Indira Gandhi too had visited the Sringeri Mutt and Saradamba Temple before the 1978 by-polls. Indira Gandhi had won the by-polls and it had revived her political career after the blow of emergency.

While in the Saradamba Peetha, Rahul Gandhi was reportedly informed that Tipu Sultan had helped the temple during its hour of crisis. Rahul Gandhi then proclaimed Tipu Sultan a symbol of communal harmony. KPCC spokesperson K Diwakar stated that Rahul inquired about Tipu’s connections with the temple and when he was told about a letter the Muslim ruler wrote to the then seer and some donation he provided he was impressed.

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In another attempt at the strategy of soft Hindutva, Rahul announced his party’s government will take all possible steps to promote the ancient Sanskrit language and manuscripts. He also promised a dedicated institute for Sanskrit.

Rahul’s Tipu hailing was criticised by many in the social media.

Tipu Sultan’s atrocities and forceful conversions during his rule are widely discussed among historians and his suggested ‘secular’ credentials have been criticised. The Congress government in Karnataka was also widely called out for celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary last year. At a time when Congress is trying its hands at soft Hindutva, one wonders whether Rahul Gandhi really means these “temple visits” considering that during one such visit this time, he was seen praising a murderous tyrant who converted and killed Hindus.

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