BJP President Amit Shah’s tweet greeting people on ‘Vaman Jayanti’ sparked off a discord on Tuesday. Shah had on Tuesday posted on Facebook and Twitter, “Samastha Deshvasiyonko Vamanka Jayanthi ka Hardik Shubhkamanaein (Wishing Everyone a Happy Vamana Jayanti). Contrary to legend that Onam is celebrated as the homecoming of demon king Mahabali, Shah shared a picture of Vaman putting his leg on the head of Mahabali, however, it didn’t mention Onam.
It is said that his tweet comes in line with an article in ‘Kesari’, the Malayalam mouthpiece of RSS, which claimed that Onam was originally celebrated as the birthday of Vaman, one of the mythical incarnations of Vishnu. The article written by K Unnikrishnan Namboothiri in the argued that Onam was originally celebrated as the birthday of Vamana and not a festivity to mark the homecoming of the demon king.
आप सभी को “वामन जयंती” की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं | pic.twitter.com/y4A5412mvM
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 13, 2016
In response to the tweet, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hit out at the BJP chief for insulting the Malayalee community through his message and that he must apologize to the people of Kerala.
“By eulogising Vamana and denigrating Mahabali in his Facebook post, BJP national president Amit Shah has humiliated Kerala and Malayali’s national festival Onam. The belief behind Onam is of equality and egalitarianism and it is a festival celebrated by all cutting across caste, creed, religion and other barriers,” Vijayan said in a statement. Asserting that during Mahabalis’s rule there was no evil, cheating and wrong doings and the people lived in harmony, the Chief Minister added that Malayalis see Mahabali as the symbol of equality and egalitarianism.
However, BJP leaders in Delhi maintained that Shah’s greeting were not meant for the people of Kerala, reports The Indian Express.
“Vaman Jayanti is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, so the party chief has greeted (people) who celebrate it as Vaman Jayanti. He will greet Keralites on Thiru Onam day, which is tomorrow,” said R Balashankar, head of BJP’s central committee on training and publications. “Onam is a social festival in Kerala and the BJP does not subscribe to any new interpretation of the legends of Mahabali and Onam.”
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the BJP president had insulted Malayalis. “It shows an ulterior attempt to give an upper caste touch to the festival by denying the traditional concept of the festival. Malayalis will reject this move with contempt.” he said.