Published On : Tue, Apr 12th, 2016

Indians have a right to refuse to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, and that refusal is not anti-national says Delhi L-G

NewDelhi: Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung said during an interview to a television channel that he “forgave Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal” for calling him a dog, even as he attributed the comment to Mr. Kejriwal’s naiveté. However, he did concede that the clashes between him and the Chief Minister’s office arose out of “their different oaths of office”.

In an exclusive interview with India Today’s Karan Thapar, Mr. Jung also spoke on what he termed was a “manufactured debate” over the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

The L-G stated that he had “no problem chanting the words”, while adding that there was “a difference between worshipping the God and the country”.

“My mother is 95 years old. Every morning, I bow to touch her feet. Am I worshipping her? I think in this controversy, people for the semantics of the language, are losing the nuances of the words. Worship comes in different dimensions to me, and to that end ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is worship of a different kind from the worship of a deity. I do not represent any community. I am not representing any religion here. This is a manufactured controversy,” Mr. Jung told Mr. Thapar.

The L-G, however, said “Indians have a right to refuse to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, and that refusal is not anti-national.” “I think people should not go on criticising their nation. Nation building is part of the process of youth building of a country,” he added.

Responding to a question on Mr. Kejriwal’s allegation that he was “an agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”, the L-G quoted poet Ram Prasad Bismil.

“ Waqt aane pe tujhe bata dengey aye aasman, hum abhi se kya batayein kya teri mehfil mein hain ,” he said, while adding that Mr. Kejriwal’s calling him a dog was “naive” and that he had forgiven the Chief Minister though he was “yet to apologise”.

This, however, came before he said that he was not in favour of Mr. Kejriwal’s latest decision of making the odd-even scheme a permanent feature in the Capital.

The L-G said it would strain the Delhi Police.

About the Jawaharlal Nehru University controversy, Mr. Jung said he disapproved of the university administration’s decision of summoning the police on campus, but added that he thought that “the Vice-Chancellor was new”.

“If he would have got more time to settle in…there would have been an enhanced dialogue and we may have avoided the incident which happened,” he said while speaking of a need for “guidance” — in reference to JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.

“The young people of India see a leader in him. He is persuasive and a good speaker. But I won’t admire him…I have seen many student leaders wither away with time,” he added.