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Somanath temple goof-up: Is Rahul Gandhi a non-Hindu?
Owing to the goof-up by Congress media coordinator Manoj Tyagi, Rahul Gandhi's name was registered as a non-Hindu visitor at the Somnath temple on Wednesday. As per rule, non-Hindus need to enter their name in a register and seek permission to enter the temple.

Although, the incident ignited a storm on social media, I think it is just a useless and insignificant debate. But then, when Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples ahead of polls in Gujarat, his opponents are bound to flare up any such goof-up.

Now coming to the core issue of whether Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is a Hindu or non-Hindu!

My understanding is that all Indians should be considered as Hindus because Hindu/Hinduism not a religion but rather a way of life or culture. The word 'Hindu' itself is of Persian originwhich means people living beyond beyond the river Indus (Sindhu). So, Hind by default signifies the land of Hindus as per Persian language. India, Bharat, Hind and Hindustan are all synonyms. Similarly, Hindustani/Hindu, Bharatiya and Indian too are synonymous. In none of theancient Indian epics you would find the word 'Hindu' because the term is of foreign origin. Ancient Indian epics mention the term 'Sanatana Dharma', and strictly speaking, Dharma heredoes not signify religion but rather a congression of different religions. For more details you can clickthe following link tomy article published on this platform:

http://www.merinews.com/article/is-it-right-or-wrong-to-call-india-a-hindu-state/15899513.shtml

However, coming to Rahul Gandhi's religion. Here I assume the present concept of Hindu religion (although, I believe it differently). In fact, a lot of misinformation has been spread about Rahul Gandhi's grandfather being a Muslim man named Feroze Khan, who was later adopted by Mahatma Gandhi who gave Feroze his surname - Gandhi. But the fact is that Rahul Gandhi's grandfather was actually a Parsi with the original name Feroze Jehangir Ghandy. He changed his surname or rather changed the spelling of his surname from Ghandy to Gandhi taking inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and joining the independence movement in 1930. He was never adopted by Mahatma Gandhi. In 1942, when Nehru objected to the marriage between Feroze and Indira, Mahatma Gandhi advised Nehru against doing so.

Nehru put forth a condition that the marriage would take place as per Hindu rituals. Which was complied with. Many say that Feroze converted to Hindusim but then, his last rites were conducted as per Parsi rituals and his ashes were entombed at the Allahabad Parsi cemetery. May be this was the reason Indira Gandhi wasn't allowed to enter the Puri Jagannath temple in 1984 (although I believe that it was completely wrong on part of the temple authorities).

Although, the last rites of Feroze Gandhi were carried out as per Parsi rituals, both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi's last rites were performed as per Hindu rituals. If the last rites of a person are performed as per a particular religion's rituals then we should assume that the descendants of that person are also followers of the same religion unless they have converted to some other religion. Hence, going by that logic, Rahul Gandhi is indeed a Hindu.

I don't think Rahul Gandhi's name erroneously being entered in to the non-Hindu visitors register at the Somnath temple will have much impact on his election campaign.

However, his frequent temple visits (as a first) in wake of Gujarat Assembly elections have definitely raised eyebrows. Many see this pedalling towards soft Hindutva by the Gandhi scion as a new ploy to appease Hindu voters.

What a sharp contrast? Rahul Gandhi visiting temples in Gujarat and Gujarati Muslims openly supporting Narendra Modi! How else would you define 'Achhe Din'?

Before I conclude, let me give the answer to another frequently asked question. Is Sonia Gandhi a Christian? My answer is simple. In Hinduism, women neither have Gotra nor religion. They adopt the Gotra and religion of their husband's family. Going by that logic, by marrying Rajiv Gandhi, a Hindu, doesn't Sonia Gandhi also became a Hindu? Isn't it our culture to accommodate the 'Bahu' in our family?

In conclusion, I would say that let the elections be fought on development and issues of concern rather than such shallow topics of debate.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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