Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sonia's bouncer to Narendra Modi's Vivekananda yatra

Neither Swami Vivekananda nor his guru Ramakrishna Paramhans is Modi's "monopoly", is the message that Sonia Gandhi sent out on Wednesday, reports Sheela Bhatt
Sonia Gandhi's visit to Ramakrishna Mission immediately on her arrival in Rajkot on Wednesday is a fitting reply to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Without saying it in so many words, she has responded to Modi's attempt to appropriate Swami Vivekananda's legacy. On Wednesday, Sonia received blessings and prasad from the monks of Ramakrishna ashram in Rajkot.
Ramakrishna Paramhans, founder of Ramakrishna ashrams and missions all over India, was the guru of Swami Vivekananda. Ramakrishna ashram's presence in Rajkot is quite prominent, and they have been engaged in a variety of charitable activities apart from representing a moral force in society.
It is well-known how Swami Vivekananda had embarked upon his Bharat Darshan yatra. During his days of wandering, he arrived in Saurashtra around 1890.  His visit to Limdi, Bhavnagar and Kutch are the stuff of legend.
To warm up to his core constituency before the assembly elections, Modi's choice of Swami Vivekananda as the motif for his election campaign was a well-thought out strategy to attract youth.
Since the last few weeks Modi had, in the footsteps of the monk, embarked on his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra all over Gujarat, receiving a huge response.
But neither Vivekananda nor his guru Ramakrishna is Modi's "monopoly", is the message that Sonia Gandhi has sent out by receiving blessings from the monks in the serene atmosphere of the ashram.
It is believed that Modi has grand plans to expand the route of his Vivekananda yatra outside Gujarat if he wins the assembly elections handsomely.
In view of his pan-India plans to use the yatra to reach out to Indian youth, Sonia's visit to Ramakrishna ashram sends out the message that the historical legacy is to be shared by all.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi