Ram Mandir or politics of Hindutva vs the Secular India

Radhakanta Barik

Pratap Bhanu Mehta a regular writer and an independent liberal voice in media has written an article Indian Express on August 5 clearly stating,"So the temple is dangerous or unnecessary. You know this temple is founded on something akin to an act of terrorism, the razing down of a mosque." This brings out truth that even the verdict by the Supreme Court does not satisfy the liberal opinion of Indian public opinion. It is similar to terrorism which explains many things that terrorism which violates human rights of innocent individuals on that basis he is right. Individual right to religious freedom is getting violated by constructing a temple. That there are 30 million gods which made a spiritual leader Ramkrishna that "jat manush, tat rastha' is getting demolished by the construction of the Ram temple. Ramayana a powerful literary text gets destroyed by building of a temple. It is an imaginary text which satisfies an ordinary Bengali reader from a village by reading Krittivasi Ojha's Ramayan or an Odiya reader in a village reading Balaram Das's Ramayan and interpreting in a multiple ways sitting in rainy days in darkness on the verandaha are getting demolished by the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. An ordinary Marwari reading the Ramayana by Tulsi Das is getting satisfied in his or her way by interpreting a beautiful story today gets demolished by the construction of Rama temple. Million ordinary readers of the Ramayana all over in India must be getting puzzled by the highest court sitting in a five star hotel in a dinner decided to give a unanimous judgment which contradicts the spirit of Indian Constitution. Gangadhar Mehar the leading Odiya poet of the 19th century who in his poetic imagination captures the poem of Ramayana. Ramayana a poetic creation by Balmiki who inspired millions of Indian poets to imagine in a poetic manner. He imagined the entry of Sita in the jungle as if she entered into the jungle of Odisha where she is dreaming of clouds and rains. It is fascinating to study his poems but after the construction of the Ram Mandir by the BJP the river of imagination stopped flowing. It is sad but true and melancholic spirit will haunt Indian writers in the coming days. Today his birth day one needs to remember a great poet whose imagination can stop the madness which has grasped the Indian public organised by Modi.

Anthropological studies of Indian tribes by Bhupinder Singh retired civil servant on tribal villages of Koraput show that the religious authority and secular authority are two distinct bodies. Here in the case of the Ram Mandir case the both religious authority and secular authority have merged together. Or getting subordinated to the religious authority. Modi as the Prime MInister a constitutional secular institution has got subordinated to the Ram Mandir trustee controlled by the Hindu Monks. All these activities are being executed for satisfying the interests of Indian capital controlled by the Gujarati Banias.

The way the silanyas for the Ram Mandir is going on it is a joke on the highest judiciary when the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and RSS pracharak the present Prime Minister Modi were present while the function is going and getting televised in the Doordharsan. The judgment clearly says that it will be the responsibility of a neutral body. Surely the way body has been constituted by Modi and Yogi under the chairmanship of his former Secretary Mishra does not show any neutrality. It is a bias and blatant violation of the spirit and words of the judgement. Will the chief justice send a notice to body for violating its judgment? Bring these top bosses of the RSS under the contempt of court and justify some degree of semblance of institutional integrity.

 Politics of the Ram Mandir needs to be deconstructed. It was not there in the agenda of the BJP till 1989. When the party got reduced to 2 seats in parliament. Then the RSS thinkers thought better to go for an aggressive Hindutva politics which was accepted by the BJP leaders in their conference in Himachal Pradesh. In cool climate the BJP leaders like Advani and Vajpayee lost their mental balance and accepted the agenda. In mobilisation of the Brahmins of UP and Banias of Gujarat started working in the name of the Rath yatra by Advani with his young Sakha Modi. There was nothing Ram in their politics but it was against the Muslims and with the backing of the police the RSS workers went on rampage on the route the rath moved. This is a disastrous path they pursued for their power not for their ideology. They entered into the village of Gujarat with the help of the rich pravashi from the  Patel community. Who entered into vortex of ram politics?

It appealed the middle class of Delhi who used to live in their government colony in R K Puram and where the imaginary temple came up in the drawing rooms of their houses. The mobilisation of middle class gave them a boost with the backing of the media. This continued till 1992 when the Hindutva forces organised their hoodlums to break the Babri Masjid. The bureaucracy of UP and Brahmin civil service in the centre played their role in destruction. The construction of the Ram Temple came up in their imagination when in 2002 some Karsevaks died in Godra in a train accident. Chief Minister Modi allowed the taking of the dead bodies to Ahmadabad where RSS and Bajrangis went on a rampage against the Muslims. Modi consolidated his position as the chief minister. In the bye election he won with a small margin.

Ram Mandir issue brought three governments of BJP without any performance. One led by the Brahmin of UP Vajpayee who contested his first election from Balrampur just because of the majority of the constituent were Brahmins, although he lost the election.  In the BJP there were more MPs from the Brahmin community who supported Vajpayee vs Advani. This politics continued in the name of Anti corruption movement led by Kejriwal who had the backing of the RSS. This resulted in removing the UPA led by the Congress Party under Man Mohan Singh. This resulted in installing of Modi with the backing of the Gujarati industrialists and electronic media owned by them. This is a deadly combination working till in favour of Modi although he had no performance. He successfully won the second term with the backing of the Election Commission plus manipulation of the EVM. The Brahmins of UP now joined the upper castes controlled Judiciary and other public institutions which resulted in getting a judgment in favour of the Ram Janmabhumi. Today it is going to be a black day that after 70 years the victory of Brahmins of UP and Banias of Gujarat has come up.

In India from ancient times till today the saints and monks always live in a different places mostly the Himalayans. Thirty years back one could see them lying under the tree and mediate and used to smoke ganja. Today they have taken the centre of globalization where they used to enjoy the all facilities including the air conditioner with the blessings from the BJP. They have placed a monk as the head of a state of UP on public affairs whose understanding so poor that the economy and society has deteriorated. They are at the helm of affairs of multimillion temple construction whose leader Modi is sitting in Delhi. But the court judgment was precisely this that the body who supervise the construction to be neutral and they are in a partisan way showing their activities. They are inviting the PM who is heading a secular Republic which contravenes the Indian constitution. This brings out truth that the BJP has a close association with the group of monks who are moving all over India for political campaign in the name of Hindutva. The saffron dress became a popular dress today in each capital to work as the middle men and dalals and contractors and some of them work as pimps to earn money.

A group of women sitting in courtyard raising the issue of Ram Mandir. It is interesting to note here that the Brahmin woman belonging to Choube community raised the issue and others did not take interest and she stopped on her own. Other women got up and went out and she remained silent there after. This brings out truth that the issue of Ram Mandir is not going to be a political issue once the bhumi puja starts tomorrow. It will be puja conducted by the Brahimins and supprted by the Brahmins of UP and it may not cross the border of UP. Within UP the vast majority of people will not take the issue.

The Ram Mandir created furor because the leaders of the rathyatra created riots on the way to reach Ayodhya but he got stopped by Laloo Yadav in Patna which brings out the truth that except UP Brahmins and no other community is supporting the issue of Ram Mandir. The judiciary seems dominated by the Brahmins which gave this judgment. Institutional decay coupled with the rise of the Hindutva as fascism may not be presumed as the death of democracy or starting of New Republic as Modi claimed. They have got 30 percentages of people for this new republic out of which only ten percentages of people support their new republic where Muslim and Dalits are the second class citizens which is not going to happen at all. The concept of New Republic is like New India propounded by the RSS after Modi came to power. Real battle is going to be fought on the streets where the fascism on one side and forces for democracy on the other side. Unless this happens the new republic is not going to start tomorrow on the Ram Janmabhumi where the Hindutva forces are going to have a Pyrrhic victory over the issue. As this is a court judgement then the Hindutva cannot say that this is a victory for them. This is going to be the beginning of the end of their fascism.

Why do fix on August 5 for construction of the Ram temple just to remind the Muslims in India that they have lost last year their democratic rights in Kashmir and this year they are going to lose all over India. Visiting Kashmir regularly for a half century and spending one month in the villages of the state in 1973 one enjoyed their hospitality. They are very hospitable and cultured people. Their vibrancy of culture reflects in their culinary and folk songs and music. One hears the sound of waves in the river and the sounds of Santoor almost the same. The beautiful leaves of the Chinar trees next to the dal lake and the Mosque made of marble standing tall like people of Kashmir who will never bow to the pressures of Indian state. As Gandhi says once that they are the most self sufficient community in terms of food and employment. Each has a piece of land which sustains their livelihoods. They are educated lot and in a continuous learning process who have grown like a beautiful rainbow with multiple colours. Article 370 allowed them to grow more colourful and vibrant. Abrogation of the article has created a blow to Indian state rather than Kashmir people. They will grow as they grow in a most natural way. But their dialogue with the Indian state has got disrupted with the abrogation of the article. If Indian state wants to interact with such an educated and enlightened community the state has to bring back the Art370. Their agenda of Hindutva may not work in the case of Kashmir people who are a highly independent freedom loving people.

A year back
Earthquake took place in Kashmir
The chinar trees got uprooted
The beautiful coloured leaves got dusted
The dal lake got dried up
The Jhelum river ‘s water turned into tears of people
No boat man in the river
A cultured community got silenced
News papers stopped publishing
No internet
No mobile
No contact with the outside world
The apples of the trees started rotting
No business
Huge loss for the business community
Huge loss to the tourism sector
No tea shop in the Lal chouk
Srinagar started sleeping early
Nobody came out in the evening
To see the sun set behind the hills
Nobody came to see the light and sound programme
In the Moghul garden
Flowers were there
But no butterflies were there
It is a saddest day in the life of Kashmir people
Democracy got pushed into ICU
Art 370 got abrogated
A brave people turned silent
The silence of such a community
Became a mode of protest
Against the centre
Against the army rule
Against the withdrawal of Art 370
Their leaders were kept in jail
It is politics without leaders
It is politics without people
It is politics without freedom
Darkness prevails in the valley
No stars in the sky
No moon is there
A year has passed
144 is declared in the city
No hotels no business no internet
The king is happy in announcing the withdrawal of democracy here
He went to speak it in the election rally
That Kashmir’s democracy has been withdrawn
As they are Muslims
But nobody voted him in Jharkhand
Nobody voted him in Delhi
He is furious
He is angry today
He is planning this day after a year
Construction of the Ram Mandir
This is another day
When river Sarayu, in Ayodhya will be full of tears
As the king is coming there to lay the foundation
The chinar trees are without leaves
The river has no boat man
Nobody is catching fish in the river
Kashmir is having a proud people
They are protesting in silence
Against the death of democracy
The city is in dark and gloomy.

Prof Radhakanta Barik (retd), Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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Aug 6, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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