Nobel laureate and noted economist, Prof. Amartya Sen, ran into fresh controversy on Friday when he claimed that the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ cannot be associated with Bengali culture, unlike ‘Maa Durga’, the deity that is revered the most in this state.
Prof. Sen claimed that the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan was being used as a pretext to attack people.Speaking at a Jadavpur University function, Prof. Sen said that ‘Maa Durga’ is 'omnipresent in the lives of every Bengali.'
On the other hand the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan is not associated with Bengali culture, Prof. Sen remarked, making another surprising statement that the festival of Ram Navami has lately been gaining a lot of popularity, something that he 'never heard of before'.
He cited the example of his grandchild and said, 'I asked my four-year-old grandchild who her favourite deity is. She replied that it was ‘Maa Durga’. Maa Durga is very omnipresent in our lives,' he said.Slogans such as ‘Jai Sri Ram’ are being used as pretexts to beat people up, he added.
The economist’s comments come in the backdrop of a series of incidents in the state since early this year where not chanting the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has led to people being beaten up.
Last month, the BJP's chief in the state and MP from Medinipur, Mr. Dilip Ghosh, had claimed that Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, is attempting to transform the state into ‘West Bangladesh’ by aiding infiltration from across the border.