Nobel Laureate and leftist intellectual Amartya Sen has stated that the chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not associated with Bengali culture. Speaking at an event in Jadhavpur University last evening, Sen reportedly asserted that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is merely an excuse to beat up people.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen: I asked my four-year-old grandchild who is your favourite deity? She replied, ‘Maa Durga’. The significance of Maa Durga can’t be compared with Ram Navami. (July 5) https://t.co/pnXqrNNjTi
— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2019
Sen furthered that it is Maa Durga and not Shri Ram that is omnipresent in the lives of Bengalis. He added that the celebration of Ram Navami is gaining popularity only recently and he has never heard of it before.
To prove his point, Sen quoted his 4-year-old granddaughter. He stated that when he asked his granddaughter who is her favourite deity, she replied that it is Maa Durga.
Sen’s statement came at the backdrop of the slogan’s widespread usage in the state during the elections. Ruling TMC and CM Mamata Banerjee had shown a disdain towards the slogan and there were instances where CM Mamata Banerjee had got down from her vehicle to threaten people who had chanted the slogans.
TMC government had also tried to jail people for chanting the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan. Mamata Banerjee had stated that the slogan is inciting violence and it does not belong to Bengal.
Journalist Pritish Nandy had also earlier attempted to claim that the slogan Jai Sri Ram does not belong to Bengal.
The attacks on the chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not limited to Amartya Sen and Mamata Banerjee though. After repeated attempts to set a mainstream media narrative that the people chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ are not common public but BJP and RSS supporters, there have been many cases where Muslims have claimed that they were beaten up for not chanting the slogan, only to be proven false after investigation.
The recent incident where a Kanpur based auto driver Aatib claimed that he was thrashed by people for not chanting Jai Shri Ram’ turned out to be false after the police found that it was only a drunken brawl and the claims of the auto driver were false.
It is notable here that Amartya Sen has been in the news for lying and obfuscating about the NDA government’s 10% reservation bill. He is also one of the so-called secular liberals who often complain about the ‘rising intolerance’ level in the country. Though it is not clear why a self-proclaimed supporter of tolerance has decided to be intolerant towards the popular Hindu chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’.