Mumbai: BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy was in Mumbai on Monday to speak on Zionism and Hindutva at a leadership summit organised by the Indo-Israel Friendship Association (IIFA) and the Consulate-General of Israel at the University of Mumbai.
Claiming both Hinduism and Judaism to be sister religions, Swamy stated, “Indians have always treated Jews as their own and have helped them whenever they were in trouble.”
Highlighting the similarities between Hinduism and Zionism, Swamy observed neither religion propagates conversion, but both have been victims of religious extremism.
“One must not forget the attack on Nariman House in 2008. Hindus and Jews were specifically targeted in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack,” he said.
Swamy claimed unlike Christianity and Islam, Hinduism and Judaism are not confined to any particular institution, a book or a selected representative.
“Hinduism has a variety of scriptures and books. Democratic choice is only present in the Hindu religion and in a different way in Judaism,” he said.
He informed the gathering that he was not someone who performed rituals and hardly visited temples. “Though I don’t do puja (worship a god), I am still a Hindu, as I stand up for the defence of Hinduism.”
Speaking on the Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Savarkar’s idea of nationalism, Swamy refuted Savarkar’s theory, saying the latter was remembered for his extreme alignment towards Hinduism.
“Indians, irrespective of caste, creed and religion have the same DNA structure. I could challenge Asaduddin Owaisi (the AIMIM president) to a DNA test, if he can prove his ancestors were not from the same soil as mine,” Swamy challenged.
Citing Indian citizens’ right to freedom of religion, a uniform civil code and a ban on cow slaughter in the Constitution, Swamy pointed out a major part of the Constitution is drafted bearing in mind the ethics of Hinduism.
“Today those who speak about tolerance and free speech are either dishonest, or haven’t read the Constitution.”
He said, “Even if Article 19 gives you freedom of speech, Article 19(2) stands against defamation and dissent. Freedom should never surpass nationalism,” he said.
The senior BJP leader also took a dig at the education system, saying history textbooks have always lauded the Mughals and denied leaders like Guru Gobind Singh and Peshwa Bajirao sufficient acknowledgement.
Underlining the Indo-Israel relationship, Swamy said Israel has become India’s closest ally in counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing. “India and Israel share a deep, yet ‘secret’ bond,” mentioned Swamy.
Before the event, members of the Left-backed student wing of the university protested outside the Fort campus gates that the Zionism-Hindutva summit will only be another step towards the saffronisation of the institute. Professor Gadi Taub of the Univeristy of Jerusalem also spoke at the summit.