Debating India


Ready to face challenges: Advani

Thursday 16 June 2005, by KUMAR*Vinay

He quotes the Bhagavad Gita: One must stand by one’s conviction

NEW DELHI: After a week of turbulence in the Bharatiya Janata Party, L.K. Advani, in his resumed innings as president, appeared confident of "tackling any situation and facing the challenge as it comes."

He was releasing Bhagvad Gita - Timelessly Pertinent by Lt. Gen. (retired) Surinder Kochar at his residence here on Wednesday.

In today’s situation he drew inspiration from the teachings of Gita, Mr. Advani said. "Escapism is detrimental to any great achievement. The exhortation given by Lord Krishna to Arjun, which is also the eternal mantra given by the Gita to anyone facing a challenge, is this: one must stand by one’s conviction.’’

Mr. Advani’s comments were the first he made after he withdrew his resignation as party president. He had quit in the wake of the controversy over his Jinnah remarks during his visit to Pakistan.

"Quoted same speech in 2004"

Mr. Advani recalled his quoting the same August 11, 1947 speech by Mohammad Ali Jinnah to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly at a function organised at his residence, to mark the release of a book by the India First Foundation, on February 28, 2004. "I was Deputy Prime Minister at that time but there was no controversy, probably such a large media contingent was not there. But now such a big fracas broke out over [my] quoting the same speech," he said pointing to mediapersons.

Mr. Advani said his attention to Jinnah’s speech was drawn by Swami Ranganathananda, who headed the Ramakrishna Mission in Karachi during 1942-48. The BJP chief recalled the exchange of ideas between Jana Sangh founder Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. Upadhyaya then talked of the possibility of a confederation of India and Pakistan in future when the neighbours would come closer voluntarily, realising that Partition had not benefited either. "Upadhyaya was not stuck on the idea of Akhand Bharat [undivided India] as both India and Pakistan were independent sovereign nations."

Mr. Advani stressed the need to constantly reinterpret the teachings of Gita. "It is reinterpretation of ideas in changing times that is most important."

Jaswant Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, and Prakash Javadekar, BJP spokesman, were present.

See online : The Hindu

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