Ahmedabad (AsiaNews) - "This is a deplorable initiative for a secular country like India," said Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, director of the Prashant Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad, as he spoke to AsiaNews about a Hindu temple dedicated to Prime Minister Indian Narendra Modi.
The temple dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is located in Rajkot, a village in the state of Gujarat, and was to be officially inaugurated by Minister of State for Agriculture, Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya on 15 February. However, on his tweeter account, Modi reacted saying, "I was appalled.
Although this forced organisers to cancel the inauguration, the temple is expected to remain in place. It took around two years to build it and nearly four years to get Modi's bust done, at a cost of "Rs. 1.65 lakh (US$ 2,650)," said Ramesh Undhad, who donated funds for the project.
"We tried getting it made from various artists for over three to four years but no one could make an exact copy of Modi. Then finally we called artists from Odisha and they created this idol, which looks exactly like Modi," Undhad explained.
The latter added that supporters consider Prime Minister Modi as another Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the country's most loved political leaders, deputy prime minister and home affairs minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's first post-independence government, a father of the nation along with the Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru
The decision to scrap the inauguration saddened Undhad. "We believe he is an incarnation of God as after he became chief minister of Gujarat things changed for the better," he said. Before his election as India's prime minister, Modi led the Indian state for ten years.
It is unclear what might be the consequences of building a temple. However "Hinduism does not turn human beings into gods," Fr Prakash told AsiaNews. "What is certain is that sad things are happening in our country and they are threatening its secular nature."
In fact, "I don't think it [the temple] is a good sign," Fr Prakash explained. "It is yet another bad step in the wrong direction, which includes attacks against churches and Christian communities, as well as attempts to saffronise education."