Belur caught between philosophy and pragmatism as BJP pushes Hindutva in Bengal

Ramakrishna Mission and Math Belur BJP
The Ramakrishna Mission and Math in Belur expressed displeasure the perceived attempt to politicise and homogenise the pluralistic ideas of the organisation. | Image - Prathap Ravishankar

He came, he stayed and stirred a controversy — is how a Kolkata resident, Subrata Chakraborty, describes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Beluṛ Maṭh, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) and Math, founded by Swami Vivekananda.

Chakraborty, a retired employee of the Indian Railways, is particularly upset that from the hallowed platform of the Math, the Prime Minister was allowed to make a speech on a contentious subject like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The views expressed by Chakraborty, a man-on-the-street, are an articulation of a widespread disapproval of what had unfolded during the Prime Minister’s two-day visit to the main centre of the RKM.

The criticism is more intense as the Mission claims itself to be an apolitical, non-sectarian spiritual organisation to the extent that its monks do not even cast votes. To showcase its pluralism, the main Ramakrishna temple in the Belur is designed incorporating features of a temple, a mosque and a church.

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