‘Despite’ Being a Muslim, Kalam Was a Great Nationalist, Says Culture Minister

Former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
Former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam


NEW DELHI — India’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma who has been in the spotlight for his controversial call urging war against “cultural pollution,” has triggered a new row by saying that late president A P J Abdul Kalam was a great nationalist “despite” being a Muslim, reports PTI.

Sharma’s comment has come against the backdrop of row surrounding resignation of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Director Mahesh Rangarajan, which the Congress has alleged that was the result of “unbearable pressure” mounted by the government.

The federal minister has also recently called for freeing the country of “cultural pollution” and teaching Mahabharata and Ramayana to students.

“We have renamed Aurangzeb Road after a person, who despite being a Muslim, is a great nationalist….” the Minister told a news channel.

On August 28, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) gave its nod to rename Aurangzeb Road in Lutyen’s Delhi as A P J Abdul Kalam Road here.

Sharma’s remarks were sharply criticized by Congress which termed them as “convoluted and vicious”.

“Congress and myself, a practicing Muslim, want to tell the Prime Minister and his Minister Mahesh Sharma that I am a nationalist and so were my father and grandfather and we do not need a certificate from this government.

“It is the convoluted and vicious thought of this government that even in trying to honour the former President, they are insulting him,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said.

Another party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said,”We have found that the BJP, RSS or other fundamentalist elements of the Sangh Parivar speak wittingly or unwittingly such things that reveal their inner most prejudices and beliefs.”

“This is the unfortunate hatred they harbor, which is repeatedly reflected in such statements.”



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