Russian scholars call on Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin to take ‘personal’ control of the situation surrounding the Bhagavad Gita

Source: HRO.org (info), 16/03/12

· Freedom of speech  · Freedom of conscience  · Judicial protection  · Prosecutor’s office  · Tomsk Region

Russian scholars (philologists, philosophers, historians and religious scholars) have appealed to the President and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation in an open letter requesting that they “ take personal control” of the situation surrounding the work Bhagavad Gita – As It Is.

The scholars are convinced, that “the Tomsk prosecutor’s actions in instigating legal procedures against the sacred book, which is an authoritative part of Hinduism, aside from causing considerable damage to the reputation of Russia’s culture and heritage, also discredits Russia’s cultural and democratic credentials in the eyes of the civilised world.”

“Any statements in the press, claiming that the prosecutors intend to prove the extremist nature of the commentaries only, and not of the Bhagavad-Gita itself, are untrue and contradict the traditions of Hinduism, since they do not take into account the fact that religious commentary in Hinduism forms, together with the sacred text, a unified whole,” the letter states. “The work Bhagavad Gita – As It Is is an authentic element of genuine Hinduism and deserves the same respect both by representatives of the cultural world and by members of other faiths.”

Copies of the letter have been sent to the Prosecutor’s office, the Ministry of Justice, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation and the Public Chamber of Russia.

At the end of February 2012, Tomsk State University held a conference entitled ‘The Bhagavad Gita in history and modern society’ at which over 60 participants voiced similar concerns about the situation, notes SOVA Centre.