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Home Editor's picks Rahul Gandhi's vanity Hindutva and the Ram Janmabhoomi issue: Will a dip in Kumbh...

Rahul Gandhi’s vanity Hindutva and the Ram Janmabhoomi issue: Will a dip in Kumbh wash away the sins or reveal the reality within?

Congress cannot even risk opposing the temple if the government manages to take a solid step into building the temple. Because, if that happens, all the temple visits and soft-Hindutva stand will be for nothing.

The Supreme Court’s verdict on the Sabarimala issue had thrown open the gates for a brutal, government-sponsored trampling of religious feelings, sentiments and traditional practices of millions of devotees of the temple. Another issue that has been burning and hurting like a thorn in the heart is the blatant and deliberate delays shown in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

Hindu organisations including the RSS and VHP have been pressurising the central government to bring an ordinance to start construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. But PM Modi had clarified in his interview with ANI’s Smita Prakash that his government will consider the ordinance route only after the legal process is over.

While the legal matter in the Ram Janmabhoomi title suit is facing irrational delays, in a significant step, the Modi government had submitted a petition to release the excess land around the disputed site in Ayodhya.

On January 29, the central government had submitted a petition to the Supreme Court seeking permission to release the 67 acres of government acquired land around the 0.313 acres of the disputed site to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.

The move is important as not only it puts the onus on the judiciary to make its stand clear because the Ayodhya Aquisition Act, 1993 does allow the central government to vest this 67 acres of land to “any authority, body or trust” and the Modi government has attempted to do just that, it will also eventually round up all political players to make their stand on the issue clear, a yes or no situation.

Modi government has just taken a step towards a point where eventually all stakeholders, critics and opinion makers will be forced to make their stand clear. Be it political parties or opinion makers in the media, who regularly indulge in Hindu-bashing while also criticising the BJP for its alleged negligence of the Ramjanmabhoomi issue or certain political leaders like Rahul Gandhi who had suddenly remembered the Hindu side of their ancestry and have been overplaying the soft Hindutva card after 2014.

Taking the sly digs of “Mandir wahin banayenge lekin taarikh nahi batayenge” at the BJP is going to be redundant soon.

Another remarkable thing in the Ramjanmabhoomi issue has been the eerie silence of Rahul Gandhi and his bards on it after the government submitted the petition. While Congress and its senior leaders as lawyers have done everything in their power to stall and delay the issue in the Supreme Court, party president Rahul Gandhi has been seen going overboard to promote his Hindu side.

The incessant temple visits, the overabundance of his tilak, mala clad smiling images in the media, the assertions of being not only a Hindu but a Janeudhari Brahmin, the Kailash Mansarovar visit and many such stunts may have worked to gain him some votes, but slyly and very cunningly, the Congress has kept its party president away from making any sort of comment in the Ramjanmabhoomi issue.

Rahul Gandhi had donned innumerable Hindu attires, performed numerous pujas, even claimed ownership of a rather questionable gotra called the ‘Kaul Dattatreya’ and met many sadhus, seers and priests in the process, but one thing he had staunchly avoided is the mention of Ramjanmabhoomi or Ram temple at Ayodhya.

In the Sabarimala issue, Congress played its duplicitous games very cleverly. Though its state unit opposed the Supreme Court verdict and vocally took a stand against the communist government’s atrocities on peacefully protesting Hindu devotees, the central leadership kept its hand clean. Sonia Gandhi even reportedly stopped the state Congress leaders from wearing black armbands to protest against the communist excesses in the parliament. Gandhi reportedly asked the Kerala Congress MPs to ‘continue their politics’ at the state level but not to display it at the national level because Congress stands for ‘gender equality and women’s rights’.

Senior leader Shashi Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram maintained his blissful indifference to the brutal infringement of peaceful traditional rituals and destruction of spiritual practices held dear by millions in Kerala, only to take a token stand much later.

Congress’s duplicity when it comes to Hindus and their socio-cultural issues have been displayed time and again. The party has always banked on Muslims as its significant vote bank, as Kamal Nath gave it away before the MP assembly elections, it has played petty politics that has often been stretched to the levels of blatant appeasement of Islamic fundamentalists while never bothering about uplifting the poor and destitute from socio-economic burdens, never trying to address the plights of Muslim women who were kept at the mercy of Islamist Maulvis and radical elements that find patronage with the fundamentalists and cannon fodder among the gullible population that has been kept under thrall of the fundamentalists. The Shah Bano case was just an example.

A Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the Ramjanmabhoomi is not just a political or legal issue in India, those who understand what is at stake here know very well that the Ramjanmabhoomi is not a mere symbol, it is the indicator of the civilisational relevance of Hindus. A Ram Mandir on the site will not just be a shrine for Hindus to be united under, it will be a message to the entire world that we are here, and here to stay. The issue, if one thinks carefully, is the saga of Hindus in India over the centuries.

The temple was demolished and a mosque was built over it at a time when Islamic invaders brought Hindus to subversion centuries ago, that was the physical damage, the transfer of power, the change of ownership of land, authority and rule that Hindus in India witnessed when Islamic invaders took control.

The fate of the site and the subsequent whitewashing of the narrative in the colonial and post-independence era is the canvas painting that depicts how the socio-cultural take over has happened over the decades. As the significance of the Ram temple was made to be lost somewhere in the pile of secularism, political correctness and countless excuses screaming the fake ideologies thrust upon the inhabitants of the land, so did we lost our civilisational identity and memory.

The process is still on. The only difference is that there are groups which are still trying to uphold the lost values. As political powers took over reins from monarchs, Congress and its dynasty centric politics have since been the embodiment of the powers that are still busy in the process of dumping garbage over our identity.

Like the Hanuman who had to be reminded of his forgotten power to cross the seas with a mighty leap, Hindus of India have been misled, fooled and manoeuvred into decades of semi-conscious existence. The Ram Mandir will be the shock to wake up from our limbo, the totem that will unlock the secrets to power and will be the proud stake of ownership claiming that we are still here, and here to stay. It will be the throne of divine power where every Hindu of the world would seek to bow his/her head. And this, perhaps, is the very reason why there are so many attempts to delay and stop it from happening.

Congress’s style of politics has always been that of divide and rule while serving a single family. A united India is a stuff for their nightmare the know very well that as a new generation of Indians awakens to read, learn, understand and question better than their predecessors, they will keep losing election after election and the days of the family’s rule are numbered. What is left for them is to some last-ditch efforts to ridicule each and everything that stands for the nation’s identity and pride.

Rahul Gandhi and his band of dynasty worshipers had made it into a culture of mocking Hindu practices and customs over the decades, mirroring their colonial idols, they brand everything Indian as regressive. The media posturing of temple visits and soft Hindutva stand is a mere tool for them to win elections, while their real motive lies on securing power over a divided, weakened populace.

A recent example was seen when Shashi Tharoor, Congress’ blue-eyed boy, mocked UP CM Yogi Adityanath taking a holy dip at the Kumbh in Prayagraj. Tharoor had taken a sly at the bare-chested Mahant of Gorakhpeeth, implying that they are boasting to clean Ganga while washing their sins in it.

Though Tharoor’s shameful comments over a deeply religious ritual invited a plethora of reactions and even a legal case, in coming days, it is going to be further interesting to watch how he reacts when his party president and his sister take a dip in the Kumbh. Whether Tharoor will then claim that his bosses are holy spirits who have committed no sins or he will claim that the chaste Nehruvian aura emanating from Rahul and Priyanka will purify the Ganga, remains to be seen.

As elections draw closer, all the pseudo-Hindu posturing and assertions of the Gandhi dynasts’ Hindu ancestry are going to be played with much pomp and fanfare. The tilaks on Rahul Gandhi’s forehead might have replaced the skullcaps in his media images, but Congress has sure been driven into a corner over the Ramjanmabhoomi issue. It can neither support it, seeing that they will be alienating their core vote bank of Muslims and nor can afford to expose their own lawyers who have been working tooth and nail to delay the SC verdict over the years.

Congress cannot even risk opposing the temple if the government manages to take a solid step into building the temple. Because, if that happens, all the temple visits and soft-Hindutva stand will be for nothing.

Overall, like the Ramjanmabhoomi has been the symbol, the totem and mirror of Hindus over the years, soon it is also going to be the test that will reveal the true face of the Congress and its leadership. Will a dip in Kumbh wash away the decades of sins or it will reveal the political ugliness that the country is to witness in the coming days, only time will tell.

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Sanghamitra
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