Kolkata, Sep 11 (PTI) Brahmo Samaj, a 19th-century social reformist movement, and the educated class of Kolkata could not stand the rise of Swami Vivekananda in the global arena after his address in Chicago, BJP's state unit president Dilip Ghosh claimed on Friday.
Speaking at a discussion on the 127th anniversary of the famous address at the World's Parliament of Religions, Ghosh also tried to liken Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vivekananda.
He said Vivekananda stood up against the disrespect towards Hinduism which became a 'fashion' at that point of time, and also criticised the Young Bengal movement led by educationist Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, a teacher at the then Hindu College (now Presidency University).
'The educated people of Kolkata at that point of time, who got English education... those who were Indian by their looks and colour and English by everything else, they could not take the rise of Vivekananda easily,' Ghosh said.
'They were atheist and criticised him. From the Brahmo Samaj to theosophists and other societies in the country at that point of time, they could not take it well because they were well-educated and resourceful people. They thought who is this Vivevekananda who made a name for himself in the world,' he said.
Ghosh, who has often courted controversies for his comments, said people of the country at that time were not aware of the rich cultural heritage, and the Britishers were imparting them education to turn them into slaves, which Vivekananda raised voice against.
'When under Derozio's leadership Young Bengal movement was underway, when a lot of other people were trying to modernise the society with a varied kind of ideals, when Brahmos became half-Christians and putting forward their disgust with the Hindu way of life, at that point of time Vivekananda held up the glory of the Sanatan Dharma,' the BJP leader said.
'Influenced by Derozio, sons of Brahmins were roaming on the streets of Calcutta with beef on their heads and this was described as revolutionary. When disrespecting and attacking the Hindu beliefs became a fashion, Vivekananda reached out to the educated class against this,' he added.
Brahmo Samaj, a theistic movement within Hinduism, was found by social reformer Ram Mohan Roy in 1828. Besides, shunning beliefs such as image worship and caste system, it worked for the education of women and campaigned for the remarriage of widows and for legislation to prevent child marriages.
In his 20s, Vivekananda was a member of the 'Sadharan Brahmo Samaj', a faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshab Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore. Vivekananda also emphasised that by welcoming western thoughts, Ram Mohan Roy brought India into the mainstream of world history, according to the Brahmo Samaj's website.
The Young Bengal was a group of free thinkers, inspired by their teacher Derozio. They worked for reforming the social structure in Hindu society and a number of them later joined the Brahmo Samaj.
Trying to liken Modi to Vivekananda, Ghosh said the foundation of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' was laid way back.
'Modi is a political leader with a huge mass following, maybe in a way similar to Vivekananda. He mobilised 130 crore Indians in the fight against coronavirus by asking them to light lamps and clap together to honour the COVID warriors,' Ghosh said.
'Modi is a leader whose exhortations are followed and trusted by 130 crore Indians,' he added.
Ghosh said Vivekananda had awakened the spirit of self-dependent India and this is now being taken forward by the prime minister.
'Swamiji had laid the foundation of Atmanirbhar Bharat by asking the youth to not ape the West blindly but look into our 5,000-year-old civilisation. That building is now turning into an edifice under Modi's leadership,' he said.
Vivekananda had said that every countrymen have to be 'Swabhimani and Shabolombi' (self-respecting and self- dependent) and these words sound so prophetic now, Ghosh asserted.
'Swamiji propagated the idea to worship Bharat Mata in 1897 and 50 years later the entire country was worshipping Bharat Mata,' he said.
Ghosh also pointed out that Vivekananda had fought against social evils like multiple marriages by Brahmins and worked for women's education following the footsteps of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in whose Metropolitan Institution he had studied.
'On one hand he had fought against social prejudices and made West aware about India's rich spiritual heritage, on the other he had been able to counter the western-inspired rootless culture imported by a section of educated and anglicised Bengalis and make them understand the significance of Bharatiya Sanskriti,' he said. PTI SUS SOM SOM