Russian court to decide ban on Bhagvad Gita

Moscow: A Russian court is hearing final arguments today to decide whether to ban a translation of Bhagvad Gita on account that it is "extremist literature" and promotes "social discord", a case that has sparked concern in India.

The court in the Siberian city of Tomsk began its final hearing that will decide the fate of the translation by the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement.

With the case raising concerns in India, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna summoned the Russian Ambassador in New Delhi, Alexander Kadakin, on the eve of the court hearing and told him that Moscow should provide all possible help to resolve the issue.

He also conveyed to the Russian diplomat the sensitivities involved with the issue. Kadakin had assured Krishna that the Russian Government will do all it can within its powers. The case filed by state prosecutors in Tomsk claims that the renowned translation of the text, titled "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is "extremist literature" and should join Adolf Hitler`s Mein Kampf on a list of banned books.

"Bhagavad Gita As It Is" — first published in 1968 — is a translation of and commentary on the original text by Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON. ISKCON members have linked the court case to the Russian Orthodox church, which they claim wants to limit their activities in Russia.a