CM cries Chicago 'conspiracy'

Some wanted to ensure I couldn't attend Vivekananda event: Mamata

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 12.09.18
Mamata at the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission event in Belur on Tuesday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta 

Calcutta: Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday blamed an " oshubho chokranto (unholy conspiracy)" for her not being able to attend a Chicago event commemorating the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's address, saying it had "hurt" her.

The Bengal chief minister cited Vivekananda's philosophy to launch an indirect attack on the saffron camp. "I wanted to go to Chicago (for the August 26 event). There was an invitation. But fortunately or unfortunately, I couldn't got to the hall where Swamiji delivered his address (at the World's Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893). Behind this was an unholy conspiracy. Some people wanted to ensure that I couldn't go," Mamata said.

Speaking at the inaugural programme of a commemoration organised by the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission at its headquarters in Belur, the Trinamul chief alleged a "threat" to the mission authorities.

After she was invited to attend the Chicago event, she received a letter on June 11 from the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, saying it was being called off.

"I was hurt by that incident. I am aware of everything, of the reasons shown to not let me go. Even the Ramakrishna Mission authorities were threatened," she said, adding she would not blame the mission for the episode.

In July, after a proposed address by her to students of St. Stephen's College in Delhi was cancelled, Mamata had hinted at a "conspiracy", while her party had alleged "saffron pressure".

Trinamul sources said Mamata was aware of a September 7 incident in Chicago where six university students who raised slogans against the RSS at the plenary session - attended by Mohan Bhagwat - of the World Hindu Congress were assaulted by sections of the audience.

"The forces that foiled my Chicago visit, I hope they read the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Hinduism, which Swami Vivekananda preached, was not imported from outside. It was formed in this soil, with roots in Vedas, Vedanta and Upanishads," Mamata said.

"Swamiji used to say Hindu dharma is universal. He said Hinduism not only tolerates other religions, but also recognises them as the truth. We follow the Hinduism as preached by Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda," she added.

Mamata then referred to Vivekananda's teachings to underscore the qualities of a "true leader" which, sources in her party said, was at aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"A true leader must always be ready to make sacrifices for the people. He must be dedicated to the country. Simply because you rule the country, we will not let you step on the heads of people. Tolerance is the essence of Hinduism. I feel ashamed when some people dictate, you cannot eat this or you cannot wear that, or who can stay here and who cannot."

The chief minister, campaigning to oust the Modi-Amit Shah combine from the Centre in the general elections next year, urged the mission to work for the "awakening" of the people.

" Aapnara manush ke jagroto korun (You all make people aware)... what is there to be afraid of? Whom are you afraid of?" Mamata said.

The chief minister underscored the importance of tolerance and acceptance. "Bengal is the land of tolerance. Hindu dharma teaches us to love people, not discriminate. Come forward, lead a new awakening in the country."