New Delhi Beating a defenseless boy to death and asking him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' is an insult not only to Hinduism but also to the great deity, senior Congress leader Karan Singh said on Thursday.
He was alluding to the Jharkhand lynching case in which Tabrez Ansari, a Muslim man, was seen on national television being assaulted with rods while tied to a pole and forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' over a case of alleged theft.
At the launch of party colleague Shashi Tharoor's book 'The Hindu Way: An Introduction to Hinduism', the former Union minister said the incident had hurt him as a Hindu and a propagator of the religion.
"Beating a defenseless boy to death and asking him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Jai Hanuman' is an insult to not only Hinduism, but it is an insult to the great deity," Singh said.
"Shri Ram was a compassionate being. Do you think he would like his name being taken while a poor boy is beaten to death? I find the clip intolerable to watch. As a Hindu, it hurts me," he said, adding the perpetrators should be ashamed of the act.
At a panel discussion on the book later, Tharoor also referred to incidents of lynching, saying what is being done is in no way representative of the fundamental core tenets of Hinduism. But the fact is that these things are being done ostensibly in the name of Hinduism and in the name of an ideology named after Hinduism, he added.
The ideology is pursued in a manner that involves chanting the name of a God — 'Jai Shri Ram' — which has "nothing to do with the Lord Ram who we have learnt to venerate and pray", Tharoor said. He said that a problem arises when some people reduce the lofty ideals of the religion to the team identity loyalty of "British football hooligan".
"We consider ourselves Hindus and we don't think they speak for us," Tharoor asserted.
Referring to 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' chants that some insist on, Tharoor said there are these acid test and litmus tests to which if one doesn't oblige, it makes that person anti-national. This is a terrible "conflation of the liberality of the Hindu way versus a much more narrow and restrictive way of indian experience which some people are trying to promote", he said.
JD(U) leader Pawan Verma, who was part of the panel discussion, said the real problem has arisen because a bulk of Hindus today are so "adrift from their moorings in terms of what we would consider an acceptable level of knowledge about religion".
"The real crisis in Hindusism is the legitimisation of the lowest common denominator," he said.
Seshadri Chari from the RSS said the criminal incidents in the name of Hinduism is "not Hinduism".
"If you pin down Hinduism to vigilantism and lynching, this is not Hinduism," he said, adding a law-and-order problem should not be connected with the lofty ideals of Hinduism.
Chari said the RSS has condemned lynching incidents in the past.
Speaking at the panel discussion, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) Bibek Debroy said people should not get swayed by transient things and incidents as Hinduism has cannot be looked at in their light.