By Promod Puri
Not all Hindus belong to the BJP, nor does BJP represent Hinduism in its spiritual sense.
Swami Agnivesh, 81, who died September 11, 2020, in Delhi, was a multi-crusader social activist best known for his work against bonded labour.
He also campaigned against female foeticide. A man with a world vision of one humanity argued that people should be allowed total freedom of movement across borders by eliminating passports and immigration laws.
Swami Agnivesh was a leader of Arya Samaj, a prominent sect of Hinduism. But in 2008, he was expelled from the organization for his radical and progressive views and activities.
His most critical and controversial views were:
1. The Puri Jagannath temple in Orissa should also be opened to non-Hindus; the temple priests vigorously opposed the remarks as “purely anti-Hindu in nature,” and they burnt his effigy.
2. In May 2011, hundreds of Hindu priests protested against Agnivesh’s claim that the oval-shaped ice lingam representing Lord Shiva in Amarnath cave in Kashmir is just a piece of ice.
Swami Agnivesh’s dislike for the governing BJP and the rest of its “Parivar” or clan members for their anti-Dalit and anti-minority agenda got him physically attacked. As an “agent of Pakistan,” he was called to “go back.”
For the BJP and its ideological guideline of Hindutva, Swami Agnivesh could be a rebel, but for many, he represented the democratic and progressive sentiments and values of Hinduism.