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

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.