‘The Hindu’ way of remembering Swami Vivekananda

published on January 8, 2013

Queerly, the 135 year old English Newspaper of Chennai, ‘The Hindu’, chose to celebrate the 150th of Jayanthi of Swami Vivekananda in a highly objectionable manner, for which it finds itself at the receiving end of massive public protest. ‘The Hindu’ daily published an article ‘Taking the aggression out of masculinity’ written by Sanjay Srivastava denigrating Swami Vivekananda on 3.1.2013. The atrocious part of the forbid affair was the photograph of Swami Vivekananda with caption ‘Swami Vivekananda’s masculine photographic-pose was only one aspect of the cult of masculinity encouraged and tolerated by nationalism’. 

As soon as the readers found this obnoxious piece of writing in ‘The Hindu’ they shot hundreds of e-mails to the Editor, demanding an apology.  A stream of phone calls from readers registering their protest shook ‘The Hindu’ Office.  A number of comments were posted in the website of the newspaper pilloried the article were promptly posted by the readers. A few letters had to be published by the newspaper objecting to the article in the ‘Letters to Editor Column’ the following day.  Letters to Editors column also published some of the protest letters written by the supporters. It is not Swami Vivekananda being degraded, but Bharatian culture, familyhood and highly respectable Bharathian Motherhood was also attacked in the article.  

In the ‘Saints and Sadhus Convention’ organized by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (Uttar Tamilnadu), the congregation of Saints and Sadhus including Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami, Sri Pejawar Mutt Swami, strongly condemned the article published by ‘The Hindu’ denigrating Swami Vivekananda.  They raised their voices demanding a public apology by the Editor.

Sangh Parivar Organisations held a silent protest without any agitation or sloganeering on 6th January, 2013, only to meet the Editor of ‘The Hindu’ and to register the protest and to demand public apology at the Office of the newspaper.  The over 200 protestors included quite a few netizens as well. Soon the visual media began covering the incident at the gates of ‘The Hindu’. Quickly the police arrested 35 protestors, who were released in the evening. Incidentally, the Editor was not available that day.  Later, ‘The Hindu’ informed the protestors that the Editor could meet the representatives of the protestors on January 8. When the media came for coverage, the police have to take action and arrested 35 volunteers. The police gave assurance that they will see that appointment to meet the Editor is fixed and it is learnt that a date was given by the Editor for the meet.

Sri Ramakrishna Math of Chennai has also registered its protest through a letter sent to the Editor of ‘The Hindu’.

The Hindu article was also translated into Tamil and was distributed among the residents of Chennai who later sent letters of protest to the Editor of the Newspaper. It is learnt that the supporters of Swami Ji will continue their protest till the public apology is rendered by the Editor.

Protestors scored their first victory when the objectionable article was removed from the website of the newspaper.

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