`Azaan` not be part of CWG ceremony: Rajnath

Rajnath Singh today wrote to Manmohan Singh requesting him that "azaan" and other such religious representations should not be a part of background score at the CWG ceremonies as religion should be left to the private domain.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2010, 21:56 PM IST

New Delhi: 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