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Posted on Jan 27, 01:43PM | UNI
A keenly heard discussion on 'God as a political philosopher : Dalit Perspectives on Buddhism', suddenly turned tense following heated arguments between Bollywood lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar and Dalit activist and writer Kancha Illaiah at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today.
The discussion at the Tata Steel Front-lawns in the Diggi Palace here, was heading to an end when the lyricist and the writer got involved in a brief face-off over issue of religion.
Akhtar said 'I am an atheist and want to say that no religion gave equality to women and weaker sections'.
'Discussing religion was like discussing which cave will be better to live, if one wants to follow a religion, follow any one, it does not matter. If one has decided to commit suicide, does it matter how he/she does it?' he said sarcastically.
Sudden intervention from Akhtar, who was in the audience, was responded by Illaiah with equally strong assertion : 'Real life is not like cinema, certainly not Hindi cinema.... crores of Buddhists in India have more knowledge than intellectuals.' The arguments continued even after the session, Akhtar continued 'All religious values should be based on justice and equality.' Illaiah did not relent and held what was said is bad, Mr Akhtar could be an atheist but the rest of world cannot be atheist'.
Ajay Navaria, Nirupama Dutt and Patrick French also participated in the conversation that revolved around qualities and drawback of religions mainly Hindu, Baddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
Navaria presented a strong case in favour of Hindu religion and culture while other participants spoke on prevailing scenario--reforms-evils and practices in other faiths.