September 21, 2023

To improve India’s economy, print images of Hindu deities Ganesh, Lakshmi on currency, Kejriwal tells Modi

In the run-up to the Assembly poll in Gujarat, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to print images of Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi on the Indian currency to “improve” India’s economy and for country’s “progress”.
Mr. Kejriwal said that the idea came to him when he was doing pooja on Deepavali on Monday and added that putting the images alone was not enough, but it had to be done along with other efforts 
“Efforts become fruitful when you have blessings of gods and goddesses… When you have blessings of gods and goddesses, (we) get results,” the AAP chief said while addressing a press conference at his residence in Delhi.

“Today, I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, in Indian currency on one side there is an image of Gandhiji, it should be there itself. But on the other side images of Ganeshji and Lakshmiji should be put on Indian currency. To improve our economy, we need a lot of efforts… Along with it we need blessings of gods and goddesses,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The AAP chief has been assertive about his Hindu identity and has also invoked Hindu symbols and icons in the past too.

With less than a week left for the 2020 Delhi Assembly election, Mr. Kejriwal sang “Hanuman Chalisa” (a song in praise of the Hindu deity Hanuman) during a television interview; in 2021 Budget session of the Delhi Assembly, he said that they had been trying to create “Ram Rajya” in Delhi; Later that year, he performed pooja at a 30-foot-high replica of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which was installed in Delhi by the AAP government, on the day of Deepavali.

On the other hand, he has been silent on many issues related to Muslims.

In August 2021, when a crowd of people at Jantar Mantar — in the heart of the national capital — raised slogans about “killing Muslims”, while chanting “Jai Shree Ram”, the AAP supremo remained silent .

In August this year, Mr. Kejriwal was also silent on the release of 11 people, who were convicted for raping 19-year-old pregnant Bilkis Bano in 2002 in Gujarat — a State where his party is fighting the Assembly election.

Earlier this month, senior AAP leader Rajendra Pal Gautam had to resign as a Minister in the Delhi Cabinet, after he converted to Buddhism along with thousands of others and took 22 vows taken by B.R. Ambedkar in 1956, including the one on renouncing Hindu deities Ram, Vishnu and others.

‘Blessing of gods’

On Wednesday, when asked about how he came up with the idea, Mr. Kejriwal, said, “Day before yesterday when I was doing Diwali pooja, then it came to my mind that it (images of Ganesh and Lakshmi) should be there on India’s currency… I’m not saying that doing this alone will improve the country’s economy.”

He said that if the images of Ganesh and Lakshmi were printed, then the whole country would get their blessings. Mr. Kejriwal said that the government did not have to change the old notes, but the images should be printed on the new currency.

“Indonesia is a Muslim country. Above 85% of the population are Muslims and there are only less than 2% Hindus. But they have image of Ganeshji printed on their notes… We are not talking against anyone… This is about everyone’s and country’s prosperity,” he said.