Former Indian National Congress (INC) president Rahul Gandhi whose five-month long Bharat Jodo Yatra campaign ended on Monday amid snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar, made a reference to Assamese polymath Srimanta Sankardev during his address.
Amid heavy snowfall, Rahul Gandhi was addressing a gathering where he cited Sankardev while speaking about ‘Kashmiriyat’. He said that the great saint-scholar from Assam had preached about a united society.
Gandhi said, “In Assam, Sankardev had said that people should be united and not attack others, but instead be critics of their own selves.”
The Congress leader’s remark came as he spoke about the way people in Jammu and Kashmir followed the idea of ‘Kashmiriyat’ is being followed elsewhere across India. Gandhi also went on to regard Kashmir as his home.
Elucidating on the term ‘Kashmiriyat’, Rahul Gandhi said that if we try to understand Lord Shiva’s sayings, we will come across the term ‘zero’ which can be seen as criticizing oneself and introspecting on one’s ego and thought process. Similarly, in Islam, a similar ideology surrounding the term ‘fanna’ goes around which adds up to attack one’s worst thoughts and emotions to be a better self.
“Both zero and fanna are the same. This goes to show the deep rooted relation that has existed for ages, which is known as Kashmiriyat here,” said Gandhi.
The Congress leader also went on to cite similar examples from other states across the country to establish that the thought process is similar all over India and there was no need to create divisions among ourselves, rather we should all look to live in a united society and work towards nation building. He further referenced Mahatma Gandhi and his saying ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ which he said equated to zero or fanna.
It may be noted that Srimanta Sankardev was a saint-scholar in Assam in the 15th – 16th century. He is credited for building on the culture and shaping the new Assamese society with his contributions in fields like music, dance, art, etc. He was a social and religious reformer who preached the Neo-Vaishnavite ideology.