I’ve been working with Hindu refugees from Pakistan for around a decade, and a question has stung me for a while now – why do these Hindus not convert out of their Dharma? Why do they find it easier to leave everything they were and had, and come to India, rather than come recite Kalma? Now that Ram Janmabhoomi decision has come out, the answer gets a little clear.
What would you call a people who struggle for five long centuries, for apparently a piece of land? What would you call a people who were ready to face every torture and hardship, but do not forget that land, nor stop clamoring for it? What would you call such people who withstood barbaric Mughals, slavery of foreigners and genocide of centuries- all in hope that they will get that piece of rock once again?
The Ram Janmabhoomi liberation movement is one of the rare struggles that a people sustained for five centuries.
In these 500 years, most were times of deep despair- the occupying force was so brutal, the occupation was so one-sided, that any hope looked moronic and unimaginable. Not only the alien slavers but the political dispensation and leading historians of the nascent nation-state were also inimical to the Hindu faith that Bhagwan Sri Rama was born on this Punyabhoo.
In such adversity and against every nefarious trick in the communist book, how come the Hindus stubbornly plowed on, is a tale to tell for the whole humanity.
What was this insistence? What was this stubbornness of Hindus? How did they manage to keep the embers smouldering in the threatening storms?
Many years ago, I had gone with my elder brother, a Major at that time, to the army cantonment area. A middle-aged soldier saluted him sharply with a “Ram, Ram”. It shocked me- in a good way.
The upper officers of the forces, their wives and children- all conversed in English, but the ordinary soldier had kept the Ram-Nam alive with a forceful insistence. Even if the marauders managed to level the temple of Sri Rama, they could not wipe Him and His Name out of our collective consciousness.
What we lost as Ram Janmabhoomi and the temple, we imbued in our souls and spirits as the ‘Tatva’ of Sri Rama.
Rama became our cry, the refrain on the lips that then was repeated on every occasion a Hindu could find- from the holy songs in birth to the holy nuptials, to when we gave up to Agni the mortal remains to whom we help most dear. Our ancestors knew that no attack in the world can wipe out Sri Rama from our hearts, and this all sprang from this knowing.
In such times when humanity is running blindly after the gross, the achievement of keeping the subtle alive is a no mean feat of the Hindu people. What made Hindus- leaderless, pauper, with nothing to lean on- still keep going, could be interesting research for social psychologists.
The Islamic invaders downed thousands of temples and erected mosques over them. But our Rishis, the Muttadheesh-s, the Gurus did not let time fade the memories of Shiva’s Kashi, Mathura of Krishna’s birth, and Ayodhya- Rama’s Janmabhoomi. They’re not just landmasses- they’re the nerve centres of the Dharma itself. The Hindu psyche did not give up on these even under even the most atrocious conditions.
For the Rama Janmabhoomi, thousands of Hindus and Sikhs toiled on. Goswami Tulsidas and other Bhakti saints and poets kept his memory alive. No Hindu, of any caste or creed, ever gave up on Sri Rama and his birthplace, because they knew in their hearts that Sri Rama and His Name are what keeps the Dharma of Hindus alive. No Rama, No Dharma.
For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus whose faith could never be trampled. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who never let their children forget that beneath the mosque of Babri, a temple is still there- in wait. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who kept on writing about this incessantly, lest we forget. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who kept doing Puja on the Janmabhoomi.
For this, we owe to those unnamed Nihang Sikhs who swooped down on the Islamic occupation in the middle of the 19th century and freed it- for a while. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who filed all those petitions in the British courts. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who kept the Janmabhoomi out of the clutches of the government during the partition of 1947.
For this, we owe to those lakhs of Kar Sevaks who braved batons and bullets of Mulayam Singh’s police. For this, we owe to those unnamed Hindus who sent one brick and one-and-a-quarter rupee (Sawa Rupaya) from every household for it. It was the collective Consciousness stirring into them that finally liberated the Ram Mandir, and which would manifest now as the Ram Mandir.
The day doors of this Mandir are thrown open, what the world would witness is not just a structure of stone- they will see a monument to the indomitable spirit of humanity in the face of the worst religious persecution. It’ll tell one and all that the past glories and legacy can be recovered.
Ram Janmabhoomi will be the epicentre of Hindu Shraddha, hope and valour.
The destruction of their holy shrines by the Muslims has led to Hindus having journeyed from denial to rage- and this has made Hindus more flexible, powerful, and resilient against atrocities.
It’s time to recognize our own resolve, and orient our faith towards the Dharma- that is in our blood and bones. Our Vedas, Shastras, Sadgurus, and rituals have put in us a fire that may flutter, but cannot be extinguished. A light that makes us stand up again every time we fall.
The specialty of Rama Janmabhoomi is that aside from being the birthplace of Sri Rama, it’s also the most sacred place of Hindu memory and consciousness, that never died and that showed that it can never be erased. We have shown those who jeered at us as “idolators” that we can die for the vacant spot of land.
That vacant place has a special corner in every Hindu heart. It’s also a case of criminal genocide- intended solely toward wiping out the culture and Dharma of Hindus. But Hindus stood in the way.
Hindus managed to wrestle the Janmabhoomi out of the jaws of most ruthless cutthroats and most sly communists- we made the impossible possible, with the insistence and Consciousness of the collective.
I once posed this question to the Hindu refugees from Pakistan, that why don’t they take the easier way out and convert. One Teerath Rama Meghwal looked at me, very simply, and said, “Baap-Dadon ka dharma aise kaise chhod dein Sahab?” (“How can we leave the Dharma of our forefathers just like that, sir?”)
I understand Teerath Rama now- and also why the Dharma of Hindus is called Sanatana. I now understand that as long as Sun keeps coming to the horizon the next morning, the Sanatana Hindu keeps alive.
I know today that the ‘Tatva’ of Rama is what transcends the Time itself and comes alive again. The ‘Tatva’ of Rama is the eternal flow that sustains the Hindu society in the vilest hardships, and will continue to do so.
Jai Shri Rama!!!
(The writeup by Omendra Ratnu was originally published in Hindi, and has been transformed to English by Mrinaal Prem Swarroop Srivastava)