The 74th Independence Day celebrations are underway across the country and it is a momentous occasion for the country for more reasons than one. Prime Minister Modi has made it clear in the past that the year 2022 will mark the advent of a New India. Thus, between today and the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence, more decisions of monumental significance are to be expected.
Today is of particular import because the 74th Independence Day is the first since the resolution of the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. It is the first Independence Day since Ram Janmabhoomi won its independence. Given everything that has happened in the second term of the NDA government thus far, with the abrogation of Article 370, the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the abolition of Triple Talaq, it can be safely said that New India will be a Hindutva-oriented country.
In that particular regard, one would hope that by the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence, Krishna Janmasthan and Kashi Vishwanath is also liberated from the clutches of Nehruvian secularism. Recently, in the aftermath of the clashes between the Indian Army and China at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the Prime Minister had remarked that the age of expansionism is over. In that regard, ensuring the independence of Kashi-Mathura from Islamic expansionism is also important.
Seventy-five years is too long a time for the completion of the Reclamation Project with regards to Ayodhya-Kashi-Mathura but as they say, better late than never. It is also of significant import that the Pandit who officiated the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony at Ram Janmabhoomi demanded the liberation of Kashi-Mathura as his Dakshina. Thus, one tends to be hopeful that we will see some action on that front pretty soon.
There are reasons more than merely cultural for the reclamation of Kashi-Mathura. Seventy-three years have passed since the independence of our country and yet, we are not sure of our purpose as a nation. We do not have a Grand Narrative for our country. The Americans have their Exceptionalism, the Chinese have ‘Tianxia’ (All Under Heaven) and for the Japanese, it’s the royal line of Amaterasu which provides them with a grand narrative for their country.
What is India’s purpose in this world? What is the vision that India has for the world? What can India offer in terms of a vision for the world to aspire to? What is the direction that India should lead the world towards? The most obvious answer, which also happens to be the correct answer in this particular instance, is that the sacred duty of India is making the world a safe place for Hinduism and Hindus.
Consistent with that vision, it is of paramount importance that India first makes its own territory a safe place for Hinduism. Hinduism is the last major polytheistic tradition in the world and as the custodian of the Hindu Civilisation, it is India’s sacred duty to ensure its continued sustenance. The reclamation of Kashi-Mathura is one of the most fundamental steps towards that.
Narendra Modi has also made it clear in numerous speeches he has made since his reelection that the second term of the NDA government would seek the resolution of historical disputes that have raged on since independence. The mindset with which the government is working appears to be clear. Age-old disputes which have accumulated like cobwebs over the years have to be first resolved in order to usher in a new era for our country.
Kashi-Mathura are long-running disputes that ought to have been resolved within the first year of independence itself. And yet, here we are. New India cannot afford to carry the baggage of yesteryear. For the prosperity of our nation and the future of our civilisation, it is of principal importance that the sacred sites are reclaimed through government decree if necessary.
There are precisely two years left for 75 years of Indian independence. The vision of New India should be one that recognises that Hinduism is the core of India’s identity, that Hinduism is India’s past, present and future. Obviously, there are other actions that ought to be undertaken for India’s prosperity but the liberation of Kashi-Mathura is one issue that can no longer be ignored.
Concrete steps ought to be undertaken for the implementation of the National Registrar of Citizens as well. Massive land and labour reforms are long overdue to expedite the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Reforms in education have to be made as well. All of this must go hand-in-hand and concrete measures will have to implemented now that there are only two years remaining on the clock.
During his speech at the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan ceremony, Narendra Modi drew an equivalence between the Ram Jannmabhoomi Movement and the Movement for Indian Independence. Indeed, there was great truth in his words. If one was a movement for India’s political independence, the other was one for India’s spiritual liberation.
However, that spiritual liberation will not be complete until Kashi-Mathura has been reclaimed as well. Of course, the reclamation Project does not end there either. However, the next phase can begin only when one has been completed. Therefore, on the first Independence Day since the reclamation of Ram Janmabhoomi, India must homage to its spiritual heritage by restoring the rights of Krishna-Mathura to its true inheritors.