India PM 'Appalled' by Temple in His Honor

Priest sorry for angering 'god'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2015 5:27 AM CST
India PM 'Shocked' by Temple in His Honor
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally for his Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi last week.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn't seem to mind basking in his own popularity at huge rallies—but he thinks being literally idolized is a step too far. After supporters in his home state of Gujarat put a bust of him in a temple and tried to dedicate it to him, Modi said he was "appalled," Reuters reports. "This is shocking and against India's great traditions. Building such temples is not what our culture teaches us," he said. A Modi fan in the village in the Rajkot district says it took years to collect the $2,600 to build the idol, which has now been removed, reports the New York Times.

After the prime minister voiced his displeasure, "we immediately stopped all the work to convert this into a temple for him," the temple priest tells the Times. Modi "is god for me and us here, and if the god himself is angry, then what good is a temple?" He says scores of people gather at the temple every evening to chant "NaMo sutra" prayers to Modi, and they are all now feeling "fathomless" grief. The temple isn't all that unusual in India, where politicians, movie stars, and sports personalities are sometimes honored with temples and shrines, reports the BBC, which notes that it isn't unheard of for the temples to be torn down when fans turn against their idol. (More Narendra Modi stories.)

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