VARKALA: In a veiled attack on BJP, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said that attempts were being made to "capture" the legacy of renowned social reformer Sree Narayana Guru by "communal ideologies and individuals" for political gain.
She also said there were attempts to communalise the Guru's teachings and this amounts to 'betraying' him. "I believe that there can be no greater betrayal of Sree Narayana Guru than the attempts being made to capture his legacy by communal ideologies and individuals whose motive is political power by spreading prejudice, bigotry and dividing our diverse society," Gandhi said in her inaugural address at the 83rd annual pilgrimage at Narayana Guru's abode at Sivagiri mutt here.
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Her comments assume significance against the background of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangam (SNDP) yogam, an organisation of the numerically strong backward Ezhava community, entering into a tie-up with the BJP in Kerala where Assembly elections are due next year.
Gandhi said the Guru believed in respect to all faiths and motivated his followers to respect all religions. In 1924, at a congregation in Aluva in Ernakulam he had stressed "the need to abstain from religious conflict and to promote universal peace, harmony and prosperity of all religions," she added. The Guru established the Sivagiri mutt as a prime symbol of social reformation and social equality. Narayana Guru's teachings of equality, liberty and social justice were of "vital relevance even today," she said, adding, "in fact I would say that they are (teachings) are more relevant today." Gandhi also said that it was sad that caste discrimination still existed in the country.
"Sadly caste discrimination still exists and we still have much work to do in the area. It is for all of us to work in fully eliminating discrimination in the country of any form. It is in our power to eliminate it," she added. The Congress chief's visit to the Sivagiri mutt came close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit tothe mutt on December 15 to pay homage to Narayana Guru who gave the message of one caste, one religion and one god to mankind.
The Sivagiri Mutt is a major spiritual-cum-pilgrim centre of the Ezhava community in Kerala.