“Hinduism is Deceit” Controversial Comments by Indian Politician Cause Row

An Indian politician recently stoked controversy after a speech where he claimed that Hinduism is not a religion but a fraud and a means of livelihood for some people. 

Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader of the Samajwadi Party, a left-wing political party that has a strong base in India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, made his comments on Hinduism while speaking at the National Buddhist and Bahujan Rights Conference in New Delhi last December 25th.

Maurya, who is notorious in India for his controversial statements, also referred to statements made by the Indian Supreme Court as well as the chief of the far-right paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen his claim.

"Hindu ek dhokha hai... In 1955, the Supreme Court said in its order that Hindu is not a religion but a way of life. It is a conglomeration of more than 200 religions. Even Mohan Bhagwat had said, not once but twice, that Hindu is not a religion but a way of life. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also said that Hindu is not a religion. Even Gadkari had said the same thing in a media conclave," Maurya said in his speech.

He also questioned why people would get hurt when he made such statements, but no one’s sentiments get hurt when other leaders and institutions make similar remarks.

"But when they say these, no one's sentiments get hurt, but when Swami Prasad Maurya says that Hindu is not a religion but a betrayal and what we refer to as Hindu religion is a business for some people, the whole country gets into a storm," Maurya said.

"When the Supreme Court said the same thing in 1955, no one took offense. But when Swami Prasad Maurya says it, FIRs are registered throughout the country. I am saying the same thing that the Indian Constitution is saying," he added.

The Samajwadi Party general secretary also suggested that Hindu upper classes use the Bahujan (which means "community in majority" in Hindi) vote to come to power but then cancel reservations for them after doing so, reiterating his previous statement that Hinduism is a betrayal and a conspiracy against Dalits as well as other scheduled castes, tribes, and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

"Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas together make up eight percent of the population. These eight percent cannot form a government on its own. These have exploited the backward classes and formed the government in the name of Hindu. For the purpose of votes, we are Hindus. But after forming the government, we are no longer Hindus. If it had been the case, they would have never canceled reservations for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, or backward castes," Maurya said. 

Maurya, who also serves as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh, also swiped at those in power for weakening India’s democracy and doing away with reservations. 

"Those who swear by the Constitution, the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers, those who are at the helm of power are prioritizing Manuvaad. The Constitution is being made ineffective...Reservations are being done away with. Even democracy is being weakened. Almost 150 MPs were disqualified from Parliament. Is it not a conspiracy against democracy? Is the government not imposing its say on its people?" Maurya said.

This would not be the first time Maurya criticized Hinduism. He became controversial in August last year after his 'Ramcharitmanas' comments, where he claimed that “the roots of Brahminism are very deep and the reason for all the disparity is also Brahminism” and that Hinduism is a hoax.

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