Catholics in Goa are culturally Hindu and India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.“India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense. A Catholic in Goa is also Hindu culturally because his practices don’t match with Catholics in Brazil except in the religious aspect, a Goan Catholic’s way of thinking and practice matches a Hindu’s,” Parrikar said in an interview to New York Times’ India blog published Wednesday.
Parrikar also caused flutters in the party with his remarks that the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a “blot” on Narendra Modi’s career though he was not personally part of it.
“There were many reasons why people lost control in 2002 after the dead bodies (of Hindu pilgrims from an earlier attack) were shown on TV. It should not have happened. The administration should have clamped down on any violence, (if I were in his place) I would have ensured. But Modi was new to the job as chief minister. It was a blot on Modi’s career, but he was not personally a part of it. If he is guilty by connivance he should be punished. But investigations have given him a clean chit. People who oppose him do so because they fear him,” Parrikar said.
The chief minister heads a state where the Catholic population is just under 30 percent of its 1.5 million population. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded an unprecedented eight Catholic candidates out of the 24 assembly seats the party contested.
The 57-year-old chief minister said he was a “perfect Hindu” but added that it was his personal faith and that “it has nothing to do with government”.
Parrikar took pains to distinguish Hindu as a cultural rather than a religious term.
“I am not the Hindu nationalist as understood by some TV media - not one who will take out a sword and kill a Muslim. According to me, that is not Hindu behaviour at all. Hindus don’t attack anyone, they only do so for self-defence - that is our history,” said Parrikar, seen as a critical quantum in BJP’s prime minister-in-waiting candidate Narendra Modi’s think tank.