Shillong: Nagaland Minister for Higher and Technical Education Minister, Temjen Imna Along on Thursday said that “everyone living in India is a “Sanatani”, even as he said one should not be afraid of who they are traditional, though the method of worshipping has changed.
“We need not to be afraid of who we are traditional. Kehte hai na Hindi mein upsana ka padhaati, woh badal gaya hai (there is a saying in Hindi that our method to worship has changed) but our traditions and our culture are Sanatan,” Along said at the sidelines of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) U Tirot Sing Best Student’s Award 2022 here in Meghalaya.
“But then today, some people are having Christian faith, like I too am a Christian, some are Muslims, some may be Buddhists. So to describe the wholeness of Hinduism, it would be an issue of clash of egos of the different faiths,” he added.
Referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent statement here in Meghalaya that everyone is a Hindu living within the geographical confine stretching beyond Sindh River to the Bay of Bengal in the south and Himalayas to the north, Along, who is also the BJP President of Nagaland unit, said, “I think what the Sarsanghchalak (RSS Chief) was probably referring to our culture and tradition our sanskriti from the past.”
“Whether it is a Khasi, whether it is the Naga or whether it is anybody from this country, we all have followed a certain pattern, which was in the past Sanatan, so you can describe it in whichever way you want,” he added.
When asked if he agrees with RSS Chief’s statement, the Nagaland Minister said, “If you would say in the press I agree it would be trouble and if I say I don’t agree it is also not right. So you have to understand the context in which it has been said. He (Mohan Bhagwat) is referring to our tradition and culture of life. When we were not Christians we were all animist so we are referring to the root of a Bharatiya. So today you are also Christian. I too, I am a Christian, but then we are all one as Indians and we are all Bharatiyas.”
Asked if the RSS Chief statement would affect the poll prospects of the BJP in Meghalaya and Nagaland which are going to polls early next year, Along asked, “Why would it affect? No Christians are being converted to Hinduism, No Hindus are getting converted to Christianity. Why does the press always want to bring the issue of religion everywhere as an injunction?
“The press should always promote harmony, tribal harmony, caste harmony, religious harmony also. We should not forget whichever faith we may practice today we are all Indians and that is something if you want to bring something that someone has said like this or like that you should have asked the most respected sangcharlak on the background of why he had said that,” the Nagaland minister said.
Earlier, during the programme, Along asked the gathering if any foreigner was present in the audience. Getting no response he raised the slogan “Bharat Mata ki” to which the students said “Jai”.
Urging the students to be “inclusive in diversity,” Along said, “The weakest aspect of us, we want to be inclusive in our narrowness. I know, even in Meghalaya, we have problems with the tribals and the non-tribals as well as amongst the tribals. The biggest problem with all of us is we want to say we are Indians but we don’t want to say we are Bhartiyas because that language comes in Hindi.”
“Each of our identities is unique, but that cannot be taken into exclusiveness… diversity should lead us to inclusiveness only than a nation would survive,” the minister noted, and urged the students to be “proud of their roots”.