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'Azaan' Should Not Be Part Of CWG Ceremonies, Rajnath Demands

New Delhi, Sep 27 (PTI) Former BJP chief Rajnath Singh today wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him that "azaan" and other such religious representations should not be a part of background score at
PTI September 27, 2010 20:25 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 27 (PTI) Former BJP chief Rajnath Singh today wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him that "azaan" and other such religious representations should not be a part of background score at the Commonwealth Games ceremonies as religion should be left to the private domain.

"I came to know that azaan will be a part of the background score at the opening and closing ceremonies of the CWG. The ceremonies will also have a qawwali soundtrack, and props on celebration of Eid. There will be representations of other religions also," he wrote in a letter.

"I think religion and religious practices should be left as the private domain of the players. We are a secular nation and state should not start religious practices in Commonwealth Games. It would not only be uncalled for, rather a departure from the secular traditions of the Commonwealth Games. "The Games should start and end with Games anthem," Rajnath Singh said.

The letter was written amid reports that a Group of Ministers had decided that azaan will be part of the background score at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games along with representations of other religions also. This was part of the GoM decision to "add religious fervour with a view to give glimpse of Indian culture".

Rajnath Singh has suggested that instead the national anthem or national song could be sung and felt that vedic mantras could also be chanted.

"I regard Eid as a holy festival of Muslim brethren but anything related to celebration of Eid during Games would not only be absurd, rather un-Islamic because Eid does not fall during that period according to Islamic calendar. "If any religious calendar is to be kept in mind, then it should be the celebration of Navratras which falls during that period," he said.

He accused the government of having gone overboard with the "political angle" even in Commonwealth Games.

"I suggest the most befitting thing to represent India's ancient cultural heritage and diversity in the opening and closing ceremony will be the chanting of vedic mantras as it does not represent any religion rather it represent the eternal human values with the universal message of "Vasudev Kutumbakam (The whole world is one village)" and "Athithi devo Bhavah (the guest is akin to God)," Rajnath Singh said. He expressed surprise that the ceremonies would not depict Vedic culture.

 "I am very hopeful that a learned and a secular prime minister like you would intervene in this matter to do away with the anomalies and project a culturally more correct picture of India in this regard. I wish a grand and successful completion of the Commonwealth Games," Rajnath Singh said.

A few months ago, the senior BJP leader had demanded that no beef should be served at the Games and later thanked the government when this decision was taken. PTI