Haryana turns to holy men to bring culture to villagers

All village leaders had to attend a talk in Bhiwani district

Chandigarh: The Haryana government has turned to “babas” (Hindu holy men) to make villages ideal, well-cultured and stress-free.

Haryana’s Development and Panchayats department organized a special camp on July 30 in Bhiwani that required compulsory attendance of all village chiefs and secretaries of village councils in the district to hear Swami Giananand, head of Kurukshetra-based Global Inspiration and Enlightenment Organization.

The district development and panchayat officer Bhiwani, had sent an official communication on July 25 to the block development and panchayat officers of several blocks the district to ensure the presence of all village leaders at the event.

The DDPO letter, which listed the agenda of the event as making the villages “ideal, cultured and stress-free,” addressed the religious leader as “maha mahim (His Excellency),” a term exclusively used for the governors in the states.

The northern Indian state is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party), the political arm of rightwing Hindu groups.

Addressing the gathering, Swami Giananand said the Bhagavad Gita is heritage and culture of the country and should be spread to every household and every person. He added that only Gita can inculcate cultural values in a child.

He also appealed to the gathering that besides Gita, they should also respect cow, Ganga and Gayatri mantra. “Impatience, physical deformities and other problems in society are rising because people are running away from Gita. It is Gita only that helps in attaining spiritual enlightenment,” he added.

He also informed the gathering about an upcoming event, Yuva Virat Chetna Utsav (grand festival to awaken youth awareness), in Kurukshetra for which five youths from every village would be selected and asked to pledge to follow the cultural values.

During this event, other representatives of his organization also addressed the state officials.

Asked how a spiritual guru’s lecture would help the state officials and village leaders. Bhiwani DDPO official Ram Singh told The Times of India that he had no answer. He disconnected the phone, saying that lecture had been organized by the Haryana Sanskrit Academy and Bhiwani deputy commissioner Anshaj Singh was the chief guest at the event.

Criticizing the event, former Haryana bureaucrat and Indian National Lok Dal national secretary R S Chaudhary said immediate action should be taken against the Bhiwani DDPO and DC because only a government official can address an official gathering. “Calling an official meeting for a religious guru to deliver his lecture is gross misuse of official machinery,” he added.

Ran Singh Maan, former chief parliamentary secretary and Congress spokesperson, said, “Unfortunately, instead of focusing on public administration, the government is focusing on imposing saffron ideology on the public representatives and government officials.”

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