Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been subjected to relentless attack by the left-leaning media organisations and individuals. There have been constant attempts to hound his government over issues that the same entities blissfully ignore in other states, especially non-BJP ruled ones. When he became the CM, they had mocked his saffron robes, his open, and vocal support for Hindu causes and his proud adherence to his role of Peethadhishwar in Gorakhpeeth.
A 3-year-old video of the UP CM shutting up NDTV’s Prannoy Roy on casteism, Ram Mandir, Hindu identity and other issues is doing the rounds on the internet.
Many social media users have shared a clip from an interview in March 2017 during the Uttar Pradesh election campaign when Prannoy Roy and the President of the Editors’ Guild of India, Shekhar Gupta, interviewed Yogi Adityanath before he was anointed to lead the state following a resounding BJP victory.
With an unmistakable air of patronising superiority, Prannoy Roy and Shekhar Gupta posed a plethora of questions ranging from the Hindu identity, casteism, construction of Ram Mandir and several other issues, which were cogently and calmly responded to by the current Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Hindu and India are two meanings of the same identity: Yogi Adityanath
When asked if he is a Hindu or an Indian first, Yogi Adityanath sedately responded that Hindu and Indian are synonymous. He added that Hindu represented the cultural manifestation while Indian was a geographic identity and therefore there was no difference in being a Hindu and an Indian.
On being asked if Hindus and Muslims can live in peace in the country, Yogi said, “Why not? Absolutely. They can live in one nation, under one constitution. If they believe this, there won’t be any problems.”
Yogi Adityanath says caste is fine but casteism is not
Yogi was then asked his views on the ubiquity of castes in Hinduism. To this, he said that castes play the same role in society as land dividers do in farms, keeping things orderly and organised. “Caste is fine, but not casteism. We are against casteism perpetrated for furthering one’s political interests,” Yogi responded.
Subsequently, Prannoy Roy asked Yogi Adityanath whether he and his party would wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ram Mandir or would find other means to accomplish their desire. Yogi had then said that he and his party would appeal to the Supreme Court for a quick resolution of the matter but if there is a delay in the decision, they would try to find an alternative way to address the problem.
Shri Ram and India are complementary to each other: Yogi Adityanath
Roy then put forth a cunning question in a bid to decouple nationalism with chanting of Jai Shri Ram slogan. Roy asked if one has to love his country first or chant Jai Shri Ram. However, Yogi, being prepared for such tricky questions, did not take the bait and answered back that chanting Jai Shri Ram and loving the country are complementary to each other.
“Shri Ram and country are complementary to each other. Ram is the embodiment of the nation, an extensive form. The boundaries of the nation have been defined by Lord Ram himself. Lord Ram and India cannot be separated,” Yogi said.
The Print’s Shekhar Gupta then threw a curve at Yogi Adityanath with his question on whether the caste system in India is right or wrong. Yogi Adityanath calmly responded that the Hindu religion does not acknowledge the caste system that pigeonholes people based on their birth but it categorises people on basis of their deeds.
“The Sanathan Hindu religion has never recognised the birth-based Jati(caste) system. Here we are categorised not on the basis of birth but by our vocations and deeds,” Yogi said.