A rather intriguing development is afoot in the country ahead of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan event. After all the struggles of the past five centuries, we are suddenly expected to believe that Shri Ram belongs to every religious community and not just Hindus and India-centric faiths. The obvious counter to this is if Rama does belong to everyone why is it so that only Hindus that have shed blood for him while every religion that is not centred around India opposed the return of the Prince of Ayodhya to his holy abode?
Obfuscation of such obvious realities is, of course, often the domain of politics. Ahead of the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony for the construction of the Bhavya Ram Mandir at Janmabhoomi, politicians from across the spectrum are jumping on the bandwagon to declare that Ram Lalla is ‘Sabke Ram’. While such sermons are expected from certain quarters, others from whom it is neither expected nor is it necessary for them have also joined in what could only be described as a circus.
Priyanka Vadra Gandhi, the daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the senior leaders of whose party appeared in the Court to delay the inevitable return of the Prince of Ayodhya, took the opportunity to declare, “Ram is within everyone, Ram is with everyone.”
सरलता, साहस, संयम, त्याग, वचनवद्धता, दीनबंधु राम नाम का सार है। राम सबमें हैं, राम सबके साथ हैं।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 4, 2020
भगवान राम और माता सीता के संदेश और उनकी कृपा के साथ रामलला के मंदिर के भूमिपूजन का कार्यक्रम राष्ट्रीय एकता, बंधुत्व और सांस्कृतिक समागम का अवसर बने।
मेरा वक्तव्य pic.twitter.com/ZDT1U6gBnb
Manish Tewari, another senior leader of the Congress party, took the opportunity to tweet the distorted version of a Bhajan to Rama and His Beloved Sita. “Ishar Allah Tero Naam,” says the distorted version. The significance of a Congress party leader posting such a thing ahead of the Bhoomu Pujan ceremony is that there is an attempt, not so subtle, underway to rob Hindus of their sole claim to Bhagwan Shri Ram.
रघुपति राघव राजाराम,पतित पावन सीताराम— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 4, 2020
सीताराम सीताराम,भज प्यारे तू सीताराम
ईश्वर अल्लाह तेरो नाम, सब को सन्मति दे
राम मंदिर के भूमी पूजन पे सभी देश वासियों
को और सभी श्रद्धालुओं को कोटी कोटी बधाईI pic.twitter.com/mwxhc7A6bV
Unfortunately enough, some BJP functionaries, too, have bought into the narrative and are now playing it up as ‘Sabke Ram’ on their own. Some have even claimed that Allama Iqbal was devoted to Rama as well while other shave claimed that Rama belongs to every community and not just Hindus alone.
While it is true that Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and certain ‘mystics’ could also be devotees of Shri Ram, it is entirely preposterous to claim that someone like Iqbal was an adherent of his. Iqbal was one of the leading ‘intellectuals’ of the era who made the demand for the creation of a separate country for Muslims, that is, Pakistan.
Iqbal claimed that Rama is ‘Imam-e-Hind’, that is an Islamic cleric, a servant of Allah. It is not true devotion but an attempt at cultural appropriation. Iqbal never espoused the divinity of Rama and instead, attempted to turn our God into a servant of Allah. Therefore, for any Indian to further Iqbal’s claim to Rama is disappointing indeed.
It is important to understand what is precisely happening here and precisely why it is so important to reject such claims. For quite some time, a concerted campaign has been underway to rob Hinduism of all that is good within it and secularise it. In this context, attempts are being made to secularise Yoga, secularise Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Durga Pujo, even profoundly religious practices such as Surya Namaskar and now, Prabhu Ram.
It is claimed that ‘Yoga is not Hindu’, ‘Diwali is not Hindu’, ‘Surya Namaskar is not Hindu’ and now claims are being made that even Shri Ram does not belong to Hindus alone. While it is understandable why the enemies of Dharma engage in such attempts, because it suits their efforts to paint Hinduism as a cesspit of casteism, patriarchy and oppression alone, gullible Hindus fall for such attempts in order to secure wider acceptance for their religious beliefs.
While wider acceptance for Hindu religious traditions is indeed preferable, it is important to consider what cost this acceptance demands of us. Is it preferable if Yoga is practised around the globe but is divested completely of its Hindu roots? Is it preferable if Diwali is celebrated across the world but as an Islamic or Christian festival? Is it preferable if Surya Namaskar is performed by people worldwide if the Hindu roots of the practice are rejected entirely?
Quite clearly, the attempts have not stopped there and now, claims are being made that even Hindu Gods are not our own. If our traditions are not solely our own, if our festivals are not solely our own, if our religious practices are not our own and then, if it is claimed that even our Gods are not ours alone, then Hinduism will inevitably be reduced to a hodge podge of superstitions that do not have an extensive basis of scriptures and philosophy. That has been the objective of our enemies from the very beginning.
We should not feel remotely embarrassed to claim that Rama belongs to Hindus and Hindus alone. Because it is true and during times of crisis, humanity’s best defence is the truth and truth alone. Hindus have bled for Rama, Hindus have sacrificed their lives for Rama, Hindus have suffered for Rama, Hindus have gone to war for Rama. And throughout all of this, no significant effort was made by individuals from Abrahamic faiths to aid Hindus in their efforts. In fact, they did everything they could to prevent His return.
The Ram Mandir that originally stood at the site was demolished in the first place to erect a Masjid in its stead. It cannot be claimed that it was an act of iconoclasm by the Islamic invaders alone. Generations of Muslims following the demolition offered Namaz at the site and they offered Namaz to Allah, not Shri Ram. Every time Hindus made an attempt to reclaim the site, they faced stiff resistance from local Muslims. Thus, if Rama belongs to them as well, why did Muslims oppose the reclamation of the land for the reconstruction of the Ram Mandir?
The legal battle that ensued in Independent India over the claim to the land was fought between Hindu and Muslim parties. Why would Muslims fight the legal battle for years if Rama belonged to them as well? These are obvious facts that cannot be wished away with an insane barrage of propaganda. Centuries ago, Rama belonged to Hindus. Centuries later in 2020, Rama belongs to Hindus and a thousand years hence, Rama will continue to belong to Hindus. And Hindus alone.
While politicians may be wont to play politics over the matter, because that is there prerogative, they ought not engage in propaganda that has no basis in reality. The Ram Mandir is being built because Hindus won the War for Rama. The Mandir is being built because the highest court of the Republic of India saw merit in the arguments put forth by the Hindu side during the legal battle. It is not being built due to the generosity of any community and it does not behove the occasion to maintain such a pretence.