Skip to main content

Hindutva 'transformed' Ram from man with exemplary virtues to aggressive warrior

By Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey* 
Ram has been described as Maryada Purushottam, the most virtuous among men. He left his kingdom merely because he didn't want to hurt the sentiments of his step mother and went on a 14 years exile. It was not in his character to enter into a dispute. He had to enter into a fight with Ravana only because his wife was abducted.
But even then before killing Ravana he asked Laxman to go and seek Ravana's blessings because he was an accomplished Brahmin scholar. Even though Ram is rightly criticised for having abandoned Sita on a hearsay, it shows that he avoided controversies.
It is a pity that in the name of such a Ram a political campaign was carried out by organisations subscribing to Hindutva ideology purely for political motive and a mosque was demolished for the purpose of building a temple. The country has witnessed how the Bhartiya Janata Party consolidated its mass support around this issue alone.
Had there been no Ram temple movement BJP would have never acquired political power in this country. Hence the temple going to be built at Ayodhya is a political temple not a religious one. But the BJP and Sangh Parivar, which all along has been claiming to be a cultural organisation, by conflating political and cultural (read religious) agenda have exploited the sentiments of gullible masses.
On December 6, 1992, Kalyan Singh, the then BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, during the day had given word to Supreme Court that he would protect the Constitution of this country, but felt elated when Babri mosque was demolished and claimed that he was a RSS worker first and a CM later.
The present CM Yogi Adityanath has brought an ordinance which enables the government to recover the cost of damage to public and private property from people who were allegedly involved in movment and ensuing violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests.
However, the demolition of Babri mosque, which has been described as a criminal act even by the SC judgement awarding the disputed land to Hindus for construction of temple, is obviously viewed differently by the Hindutva forces. Kalyan Singh says that had not the mosque been demolished it would not have paved the way for temple construction. How can one destruction and violence be legitimised and even glorified and another demonised?
At a time when the world is facing its most serious health crisis in the form of coronavirus it is ironical that the Prime Minister, instead of strengthening the public health care system, has decided to be part of the foundation laying ceremony of the temple. It is not clear how a temple at Ayodhya, except for benefitting the BJP politically, will further the welfare of general people, which should be government's top priority. The resources going to be spent on this grand temple could have been better utlised in the interest of common masses. 
Had there been no Ram temple movement BJP wouldn't have ever acquired political power. It is going to be political temple
The Ram temple movement has also damaged the liberal image of Hindu religion. The image of Ram himself was transformed from a family man possessing exemplary virtues to an aggressive warrior. A religious Hindu believes that God is omnipresent. In Ayodhya itself there are many temples which claim to be the birth place of Ram.
By pinpointing one particular location, at the site of a mosque with the purpose of extracting political mileage from it, the politics of Hindtuva has constricted the vision of Hindu religion. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions of the world and is known for its inclusivity and diversity. But the assertive Hindtuva has pit Hindu religion in competition to a much newer religion, the Islam, because for the political aggrandisement project it was necessary to create an enemy.
This is the biggest irony. Hindu religion had no competition to begin with, it survived various challenges from different religions which came with outside conquorers as well as from the newborn indigenous religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but the politics of Hindutva needed an enemy in the form of Muslims or Islam for its naked promotion. This fact should be sufficient to convince people that the Ram temple in Ayodhya is against the tenets of Hindu religion and as such cannot be acceptable either to Ram or to an ordinary Hindu.
The futuristic religious places would be where followers of every religion would be welcome. In the post coronavirus world human beings will have to evolve a culture of co-existence. In Ayodhya itself there is a Ram Janki temple which has a vision of converting itself into a multi-faith harmony centre.
A Sarva Dharm Sambhav Trust has been created to build such a futuristic religious place which will welcome followers of any religion under the Sun as well as atheists. This trust has the Mahant of this temple Acharya Yugal Kishore Shashtri, who is known for his steadfast opposition to communal politics,
Faisal Khan, who revived the historic Khudai Khidmatgar organisation, a Dalit scholar from Bihar Harinarayan Thakur, a transgender Reshma from Patna and one of the writers of this article as its Trustees. A langar, similar to the one run at Gurudwaras, has already begun at this temple where people of all religions and castes are welcome to come and partake the serving. The langar committee is headed by a Muslim Danish Ahmad and has a few Dalit members. 
The Sarva Dharm Sadbhav centre intends to be a symbol of syncretic culture.
---
*Arundhati is with National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM); Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay award winning social activist, is with Socialist Party (India)

Comments

TRENDING

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

GoI's productivity linked incentives to corporates 'without independent analysis'

Counterview Desk  Wondering how prudent is the Government of India's (GoI's) Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, EAS Sarma, former secretary, GoI, in a representation to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister, has said it appears to be nothing more than subsidy to the private sector without any responsibility. Giving a specific example against the backdrop of announcement of 50% subsidy covering the project cost of the Vedanta Group's decision to set up a semiconductor fabrication plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Foxconn, Sarma says, "The total cost of this project is reported to be Rs 1,54,000 crore. 50% of this works out to Rs 77,000 crore." Stating that this creates the impression that the entire subsidy allocation for the semiconductor manufacturing sector would be appropriated by this company, Sarma says, "The Gujarat government did not lag behind in liberally announcing similar incentives for the Vedanta-Foxconn project. It offered 7

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th