Speaking at a Hindu conclave in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday recalled the words of Aligarh Muslim University founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who was said to have urged to call him a "Hindu" over a century ago.
The Governor quoted the reported words of Sir Syed Khan that "you must call me a Hindu" which he had made during an Arya Samaj meeting.
Khan said Sir Syed was given a reception by the Samaj members when he completed his tenure in the Legislative Council during the colonial regime. Recalling the words of the reformer-educationalist, Khan said he had asked the Samaj members why they didn't call him a Hindu and made it clear that he did not consider "Hindu" as a religious term.
"But, my serious complaint against you (Arya Samaj members) is that why don't you call me a Hindu? I do not consider Hindu as a religious term...Hindu is a geographical term," the Governor said recalling Syed Ahmed Khan's words.
Anybody who is born in India, anybody who lives on the food which is produced in India, anybody who drinks water from the rivers of India is entitled to call himself a Hindu and so "you must call me a Hindu", Khan said quoting the Aligarh University founder's words.
Arif Mohammed Khan also said it was "perfectly fine" to use terminologies like Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh during the colonial era because the Britishers had made the communities the basis for deciding even the ordinary rights of citizens.
The conclave was organized by the outfit Kerala Hindus of North America (KHNA). Union Minister V Muraleedharan took part in the concluding session of the conclave held at the Muscat hotel here. He alleged a conspiracy has been going on in the state to make it feel that it is wrong to say "I am a Hindu".
The union minister also stressed the need to bring all those who believe in "Sanatana Dharma" under one roof.
Even before independence, the kings and rulers of the country, who believed in "sanatana dharma", had accepted all religious groups with open arms, he said. In the same manner that the union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is opening the door for people suffering persecution in neighboring countries, Muraleedharan said.
(With PTI inputs)