By Praveen Kumar Pagadala
A couple of weeks ago the whole country (India) in-fact the while world was witnessing the bhoomi poojan ceremony of the Shri Ramlalla in Ayodhya. Many official dignitaries and national level leaders of so called Ram Rajya did attend the “auspicious” ceremony of scratching the wounds of the deadliest massacre and genocide that this country has ever witnessed post-independence.
On that “auspicious” occasion the age old saffron magazine Organizer described the most holy sermon of Rev Shri Narendraji Modi. “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the much-awaited reconstruction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on August 6, in an epoch-making ceremony. The wait of centuries has ended and India is creating a golden chapter in Ayodhya, the Prime Minister said in his speech following the ceremony.” However hard it is to understand it is sometimes hilarious to know that the
“The wait of centuries has ended and India is creating a golden chapter in Ayodhya”. It still amuses crores of Indians how this can be a wait of centuries and a golden chapter since there is hardly any historical and/or even literary evidence for such dreams of Ram Rajya except the Brahminical enforcement of their Golden age of rubbing the locals on the wrong side with their perverted and massive infiltration of true Indian culture with Brahminical doctrine of divide and rule.
Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar in his APPENDIX I THE RIDDLE OF RAMA AND KRISHNA says “There is nothing in this story to make Rama the object of worship. He is only a dutiful son. But Valmiki saw something extraordinary in Rama and that is why he undertook to compose the Ramayana. Valmiki asked Narada the following question’: “Tell me Oh ! Narada, who is the most accomplished man on earth at the present time ?” and then goes on to elaborate what he means by accomplished man. He defines his accomplished man as : “Powerful, one who knows the secret of religion, one who knows gratitude, truthful, one who is ready to sacrifice his self interest even when in distress to fulfil a religious vow, virtuous in his conduct, eager to safeguard the interests of all, strong pleasing in appearance with power of self-control, able to subdue anger, illustrious, with no jealousy for the prosperity of others, and in war able to strike terror in the hearts of Gods.” Narada then asks for time to consider and after mature deliberation tells him that the only person who can be said to possess these virtues is Rama, the son of Dasharatha.”
It is because of his virtues that Rama has come to be deified. But is Rama a worthy personality of deification? Let those who accept him an object worthy of worship as a God consider the following facts.
Rama’s birth is miraculous and it may be that the suggestion that he was born from a pinda prepared by the sage Shrung is an allegorical glass to cover the naked truth that he was begotten upon Kausalya by the sage Shrung although the two did not stand in the relationship of husband and wife. In any case his birth if not disreputable in its origin is certainly unnatural. There are other incidents connected with the birth of Rama the unsavory character of which it will be difficult to deny.”
Similar questions were raised by many other ancient and modern writers such as B. Vijaya Bharathi, Harimohan jha and Prof Kancha Iliah in the modern era and many alternative Ramayanas in the previous era are needless to mention!
Praising the demolition of the Mosque and a two decade struggle of hate speech, polarization and divisive politics to initiate the building of the mandir our “beloved Pradhan Sevak” aka “Prime Minister Modi” announced, according to Bhagva magazine “Shri Narendra Modi also unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of the foundation stone and also released commemorative postal stamp on Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir.”
We have witnessed the release of postal stamps of many memoir and achievements of those who ‘Built’ India and now are witnessing the same for those who demolish. Very few probably take interest in analyzing what actually is demolished though the visible icon is a mere mosque the actual demolishing is in process in the form of altering the secular fabric of the nation, altering the historical reality of India, altering the very identity of who we are.
What for? Why this postal stamp? What achievements? Either Ram or the Bhakth’s have accomplished. Dr Ambedkar questioned long ago “On the part of Sugriva and Hanuman it was agreed that they should help Rama to regain Sita. To enable Rama to fulfil his part of the compact it was planned that Sugriva should wear a garland in his neck as to be easily distinguishable to Rama from Vali and then while the duel was going on Rama should conceal himself behind a tree and then shoot an arrow at Vali and kill him. Accordingly, a duel was arranged. Sugriva with a garland in his neck and while the duel was on, Rama standing behind a tree shot Vali with his arrow and opened the way to Sugriva to be the king of Kishkindha. This murder of Vali is the greatest blot on the character of Rama, It was a crime which was thoroughly unprovoked, for Vali had no quarrel with Rama It was most cowardly act for Vali was unarmed. It was a planned and premeditated murder”. Re connecting the dots of the character of Ram and his notorious alliances with so called demigods of his likeness to ‘Demolish’ a flourishing kingdom for Ram’s wishes of proving his manhood. Sugreeva and Hanuman representing the local kings of central eastern India were not even considered human beings but were painted semi humans in the form of monkeys. Shall we award these memories with a postal stamp?”
The same saffron magazine said “People across the country celebrated the event with nationalistic fervor.” Indeed the nationalistic fervor. By the way the nation is yet to see more of that fervor coming days with insulting hurls of BJP MLA Rajasingh claiming the further demolition of Mathura and Kashi mosques aswell, while the constitutional heads and Pradhan Sevak roam around protecting such goons.
“On 7 January 1957 Organiser published the text of a revealing resolution of the Jana Sangh on ‘Indian Culture. It reads: group’s heard in 2018, nearly seventy years later, with greater force with State support The Bharatiya Jana Sangh resolves that for the development of nationalism one culture should be imbibed in all the nationals of the country. For the implementation of this task the society and the Government should take the following steps: 1. Education should be based on national culture. 2. The birth days of national heroes and similar other occasions be celebrated as national days. 3. The major festivals of Bharat be solemnised and celebrated as national festivals. 4. Efforts be made on the part of the Government and the society so that Indian society may develop on the basis of national traditions. 5. The study of Sanskrit be revived as an essential ingredient of scholarship. 6. That Indian History be re-written so that it may be the History of the Indian reople and not that of their oppressors and invaders. 7. (a) The Jana Sangh exhorts the Hindu Samaj to remove the inherent social evils and weaknesses especially the inequality arising out of caste-difference. (b) It is the duty of the Hindu society to Indianise those sections of India’s national being which were shaken out of their national moorings and made to look outside the country for inspiration. Hindu society should assimilate them completely. Only in this way communalism can be rooted out and the unity and solidarity of the nation established. “
This has been the agenda of the “nationalist” to redefine every and all walks and faiths of life which in a way clearly says what their agenda Is – Demolishing the actual DNA of the Indian-ness. India has actually witnessed this kind of NATIONALISTIC Ramraj that trumps the dreams of an entire state of Kashmir for an year and successfully maneuvers the nation and the world from even remembering that there is a state in India that is depraved of it’s basic human rights.
Shri Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the process of Ram temple’s construction is an attempt to connect the nation. “It will be a modern symbol of our culture, eternal faith and national spirit,” a simple bringing in to life the dream of nationalists to assimilate everything in to this cosmic vacuum cleaner called ‘sanskriti’.
Ironical admission though, by our Rev Shri Narendraji Modi that “Lord Buddha was also connected to Lord Ram. At the same time, this city of Ayodhya has also been the center of Jain religion for centuries. This is the ubiquity of Ram, it reflects the unity in diversity that is of India!” simply should point us to go back to the history and see what really the connection was.
The connection with Buddha and the Ramayana described by Buddha himself in Jataka katha is no way adorable to the nationalistic moral policing of Hindutva brigade. They should actually be stopping them getting married, taken their immorally moral standards that they rub on the Indians sub continent. “According to Buddha Ramayana, Sita was the sister of Rama, both were the children of Dasharatha. The Ramayana of Valmiki does not agree with the relationship mentioned in Buddha Ramayana. According to Valmiki, Sita was the daughter of the king Janaka of Videha and therefore not a sister of Rama. This is not convincing for even according to Valmiki she is not the natural born daughter of Janaka but a child found by a farmer in his field while ploughing it and presented by him to king Janaka and brought up by Janaka. It was therefore in a superficial sense that Sita could be said to be the daughter of Janaka. The story in the Buddha Ramayana is natural and not inconsistent with the Aryan rules’ of marriage. If the story is true, then Rama’s marriage to Sita is no ideal to be copied. In another sense, Rama’s marriage was not an ideal marriage which could be copied”.
Dr Ambedkar points out the noblest picture of women in eternal Sanskriti personified in Shri Ram. “Consider his treatment of his own wife Sita. With the army collected to him by Sugriva and Hanuman, Rama invades Lanka. There too he plays the same mean part as he did between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva. He takes the help of Bibhishana the brother of Ravana Promising Rama to help him to kill Ravana. Rama kills Ravana and also his son Indrajit. The first thing Rama does after the close of the fight is to give a decent burial to the dead body of Ravana. Thereafter he interests himself in the coronation of Bibhishana and it is after the coronation is over that he sends Hanuman to Sita and that took to inform her that he, Laxman and Sugriva are hale and hearty and that they have killed Ravana. The first thing he should have done after disposing of Ravana was to have gone to Sita. He does not do so. He finds more interest in the coronation than in Sita. Even when the coronation is over he does not go himself but sends Hanuman. And what is the message he sends? He does not ask Hanuman to bring her. He asks him to inform her that he is hale and hearty. It is Sita who expresses to Hanuman her desire to see Rama, Rama does not go to Sita his own wife who was kidnapped and confined by Ravana for more than 10 months. Sita is brought to him and what does Rama say to Sita when he sees her? It would be difficult to believe any man with ordinary human kindness could address to his wife in such dire distress as Rama did to Sita when he met her in Lanka if there was not the direct authority of Valmiki. This is how Rama addressed her and plays the same mean part as he did as between the two brothers Vali promising him to kill Ravana and his son and place him on the vacant “I have got you as a prize in a war after conquering my enemy your captor. I have recovered my honour and punished my enemy. People have witnessed my military prowess and I am glad my labors have been rewarded. I came here to kill Ravana and wash off the dishonor. I did not take this trouble for your sake.” Could there be anything more cruel than this conduct of Rama towards Sita” His treatment of his wife seems much of a glorious era for the women of Indianness!!
Shri Ram and his passion for his honor and his efforts to keep the honor to what ever extent he may go is well worded by Ambedkar himself. “No one can tolerate such disgrace. Honor is a great asset, Gods as well as great men strive to maintain it intact. I cannot bear this dishonor and disgrace. To save myself from such dishonor and disgrace I shall be ready even to abandon you. Don’t think I shall hesitate to abandon Sita.” This shows that he had made up his mind to abandon Sita as the easiest way of saving himself from public calumny without waiting to consider whether the way was fair or foul. The life of Sita simply did not count. What counted was his own personal name and fame. He of course does not take the manly course of stopping this gossip, which as a king he could do and which as a husband who was convinced of his wife’s innocence, he was bound to it. He yielded to the public gossip and there are not wanting Hindus who use this as ground to prove that Rama was a democratic king when others could equally well say that he was a weak and cowardly monarch” this is what makes Shri maryada purushottam gain a memoir of postal stamp for India to remember his golden achievements??
Our beloved PM also says “You will find Rama in different forms, in the different Ramayanas, but Ram is present everywhere, Rama is for all. That is why, Rama is the connecting link in India’s ‘unity in diversity’”. The question however is Rama is present everywhere like what? Like a calendar picture with his bhakths and brothers and wife? Or the way Valmiki writes it. “Valmiki also gives a detailed description of how Rama spent his life in the Zenana. This Zenana was housed in a park called Ashoka Vana. There Rama used to take his meal. The food according to Valmiki consisted of all kinds of delicious viands. They included flesh and fruits and liquor. Rama was not a teetotaller. He drank liquor copiously and Valmiki records that Rama saw to it that Sita joined with him in his drinking bouts. From the description of the Zenana of Rama as given by Valmiki it was by no means a mean thing. There were Apsaras, Uraga and Kinnari accomplished in dancing and singing. There were other beautiful women brought from different parts. Rama sat in the midst of these women drinking and dancing. They pleased Rama and Rama garlanded them. Valmiki calls Rama as a ‘Prince among women’s men’. This was not a day’s affair. It was a regular course of his life. As has already been said Rama never attended to public business. He never observed the ancient rule of Indian kings of hearing the wrongs of his subjects and attempting to redress them. Only one occasion has been recorded by Valmiki when he personally heard the grievance of his subjects. But unfortunately the occasion turned out to be a tragic one. The incident is known as the murder of Sambuka the Shudra. It je said by Valmiki that in Rama’s reign there were no premature deaths in his kingdom. It happened, however, that a certain Brahman’s son died in a premature death. The bereaved father carried his body to the gate of the king’s palace, and placing it there, cried aloud and bitterly reproached Rama for the death of his son, saying that it must be the consequence of some sin committed within his realm, and that the king himself was guilty if he did not punish it; and finally threatened to end his life there by sitting dharna (hunger-strike) against Rama unless his son was restored to life.
Rama thereupon consulted his council of eight learned Rishis and Narada amongst them told Rama that some Shudra among his subjects must have been performìng Tapasya (ascetic exercises), and thereby going against Dharma (sacred law); for according to it the practice of Tapasya was proper to the twice-born alone, while the duty of the Shudras consisted only in the service of the twice-born. Rama was thus convinced that it was the sin committed by a Shudra in transgressing Dharma in that manner, which was responsible for the death of the Brahmin boy. So, Rama mounted his aerial car and scoured the countryside for the culprit. At last, in a wild region far away to the south he espied a man practising rigorous austerities of a certain kind. He approached the man, and with no more ado than to enquire of him and inform himself that he was a Shudra, by name Sambuka who was practising Tapasya with a view to going to heaven in his own earthly person and without so much as a warning, expostulation or the like addressed to him, cut off his head. And lo and behold ! that very moment the dead Brahman boy in distant Ayodhya began to breathe again. Here in the wilds the Gods rained flowers on the king from their joy at his having prevented a Shudra from gaining admission to their celestial abode through the power of the Tapasya which he had no right to perform. They also appeared before Rama and congratulated him on his deed. In answer to his prayer to them to revive the dead Brahman boy lying at the palace gate in Ayodhya, they informed him that he had already come to life. They then departed. Rama thence proceeded to the Ashrama which was nearby of the sage Agastya, who commended the step he had taken with Sambuka, and presented him with a divine bracelet. Rama then returned to his capital. Such is Rama.”
This has been and this will be the fate of women and shudras in Ram Raj. This is Ramraj RSS designed for our children, for our nation and for our future. And to the surprise of nation The VHP Working President says that “now we have to move towards the establishment of Ramatva (Ramahood) on earth and eradicate poverty, malaise, inequality, illiteracy and unemployment from the country. All should come together to ensure education and employment, food, clothing and shelter for all.” what a powerful disguise that tells people to dream for an unpromised and exactly opposite to plan – kind of reality.
The transformation of Shri Ram is the key to hate politics that the BJP and RSS have mothered and fathered in the nation as a part of keeping the interested of Savarnas. In their well-read dissertation Susanne and Lloyd pen out the rightly observed historical chronicles of our times. “Ram was an intimate deity, his representations infinitely diverse by region and locale. He was the subject of thousands of Ramayanas in many languages of village drama cycles, of stories told by grandmothers, and today of epic comic books. In time, Ram stories became consolidated. In The Life of a Text: Performing the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, Philip Lutgendorf writes that this sixteenth-century Ramayana was regarded ‘not merely as the greatest modern Indian epic, but as something like a living sum of Indian culture. Lutgendorf details how during the nineteenth century the recitations of the Ramayana became the vehicle for the ‘rise of the eternal religion’ and how, through the manas, Hindus became a ‘people of the book. In 1984 the vastly popular recitals of the text, boxed in a set of eight audio cassettes, was the ‘hottest-selling recording in the thriving cassette stalls of Banaras, hotter even than the immensely popular cassettes of Hindi film music”.
In January 1987 an eighteen-month-long serial of the Ramayana based on the manas began airing at 9:30 a.m., prime time, on state-run T.V. Ramayana episodes quickly became the most Popular programme ever shown, attracting an estimated 100 million viewers, roughly the size of the audience for presidential debates in America. On Sundays, streets were deserted throughout India. Everyone was watching, even knots of cycle rickshaw drivers crowded in front of T.V. store windows. The Ramayana ‘megaseries’ took advantage of a new space for religious discourse in India, Pakistan, Iran, Oman and elsewhere, a public space outside the private arenas of family and village, temple and mosque. In this space a new public culture is being created and consumed. Distant persons, strangers, create representations of public culture for anonymous viewers.
Values and symbols, meaning systems and metaphors, can be standardised for national consumption. And what did the series do to grandmother’s version of the Rama tale? Or to the village performance? In Gatiali, located in the state of Rajasthan, the local village production of Ramayana wasn’t performed in 1989. Village leaders who watched the television version had been impressed. The local version seemed to them amateurish by comparison. Why take the trouble and expense to put on an unworthy, moth-eaten version? Other Hinduish megaseries followed – such as the great epic Mahabharata, Chanakya, a Hindu nationalist reinvention of the Mauryan empire’s cunning prime minister.
Together they helped stamp out diversity and localism, replacing them with a national, standardized version of Hinduism, what historian and social critic Romila Thapar has characterized as syndicated, semitised Hinduism, a Hinduism of one God, one book, one place, one people, a religion resembling exclusivist versions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ten months after the Ramayana mega series, the Vishwa [sic] Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) called on Hindus throughout India to make holy bricks, inscribed with Rama’s name, for use at Ayodhya. There, at the site of Rama’s birth, and on the place of the Babri Masjid, they would build a temple to Rama. Construction was deferred during the national elections of 1989.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had captured only two seats with 8 percent of the vote in 1984, now garnered eighty-six seats with 11 percent. Its modest 3 percentage point increase in electoral votes suggests that the party gained eighty-four seats more by virtue of making electoral alliances than by an increase in popular support, but its electoral gains put religion in the political spotlight. After another two years the BJP emerged from the May-June 1991 election India’s second-largest party, its vote share bounding upward from 11 percent to 20 percent and its seats in Parliament increasing from eighty-six to 118. L.K. Advani told India’s electorate that if the countries of Western Europe and the United States can call themselves Christian, India should be free to call itself Hindu.
Hindus often respond to Muslim mobility and wealth by challenging Nehru-style secularism that offers special protection to Islam and Muslims. They decry it as privileging Muslim communalism and stigmatising Hindu communalism. The Hindu backlash to minority protectionism asks, whose country is this anyway? In Bombay in early January, a month after the destruction of the Babri Masjid, the militantly Hindu, Muslim-hating Shiv Sena acted out the fiery images and language of its campaign videos by torching Muslim homes and shops. The Bombay elite’s sense of being in charge and safe in India’s most cosmopolitan city was chattered when roving bands searched for Muslim names in elegant apartments along hitherto sacrosanct Marine Drive, Club Road and Malabar Hill. The prospect that the aspiring poor might receive yet another boost from government action helped precipitate the Ayodhya crisis.
In August 1990 Prime Minister Singh’s minority government implemented the Mandal Commission report. The report recommended reservations’ – quotas – in federal government employment for Backward Classes. Singh, who had campaigned on the issue, announced that 27 percent of federal jobs were to be reserved for Backward Classes. Together with the current 15 percent for untouchables (those at the bottom of the caste system) and the 7 percent for tribal, roughly their proportions of the population, reservations now totaled 49 percent, a ceiling set by the Supreme Court to maintain the credibility of the equal opportunity clause of the constitution. Singh’s minority government had been held in place by support from a number of left and right parties, including the Hindu-oriented BJP.
The BJP leaders, who had not been consulted on the implementation, thought that Singh was ditching their party’s support with a view to holding a midterm election that would give him a clear majority. He would appeal to the ‘minorities’ untouchables, lower castes, Muslims, tribals who together constituted some 60 percent of India’s population. The BJP set out to trump Singh’s social justice platform, which pitted the disadvantaged against the advantaged, with a Hindu communal unity appeal. Indian politics began to polarize around mandir (temple) versus Mandal. Within a week, anti- Mandal, anti-reservation violence backed by the Congress Party and the BJP began in New Delhi and spread throughout northern India. Upper-caste students, fearful of lost job opportunities, protested the job reservations by blocking traffic, burning buses, forcing shopkeepers to close their businesses and staging immolation rituals that sometimes ended in tragedy.
Building on the discontents, BJP president L.K. Advani set out on a 10,000-kilometre chariot pilgrimage to arrive at Ayodhya for the proposed construction of a Ram temple. The country was convulsed as pro- and anti-pilgrimage violence joined anti-reservation violence and refocused attention from Mandal to mandir. Advani was arrested on October 23, 1990, and the BJP formally withdrew its support of Singh’s government, which fell on November 7. Advani had succeeded in polarizing Indian politics on communal rather than caste-class lines.”
A long but persistent journey to de construct the moral, ethical and secular fabric of India is a struggle to reestablish the Ramraj that vandalizes the communities starting from minorities, spreading out to the polarized smaller communities within the non-hindu – hindus of the nation only to serve the establishment of Ramraj where the caste system abounds and the nation as a unit will shrink in to it’s age old inhuman systems as rightly pointed out by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Its time to re consider our priorities and align them towards building a strong secular nation. Working with all communities leaving aside the barriers of faith and sect for one nation that has been sheltering different colors of human light through its open prism.