Major news corporations and broadcasters have begun telecasting representational images of the majestic, magnificient and marvelous Ram Temple ceremony (bhumi poojan) scheduled for August 5 in Ayodhya, detailing the schedule in great variety and length. Focusing on a tall order of important invitees, activists and individuals who played an active role in the temple agitation and movement in impressing upon the social and cultural psychology of the people by drawing them closer to the politically aggressive brand of Hindutva by many of the Sangh affiliates and outfits.
The late 1990s marked the greatest set of violence, unrest and turmoil set against a backdrop of the demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. Hindutva as an idea and ideology was constructed politically and culturally to popularize, polarize, arouse and mobilize the passions and pride of the people who were made to believe in the sanctity and legend of Rama. Purposed in the brewing sense of antagonism towards the followers of other beliefs and faiths leading to brewing animosity between different groups and communities for assertion, control, hegemony and dominance.
The Muslims were the worst casualities of this polarisation as their lineage and identity came under direct attack, and they continue to suffer from the shock and consequences of the riots that occured in the process of this debate. Policy legislations like CAA, NRC, Article 370, etc. are some of the finest illustrations of the greatest disrepute to their rights and duties as citizens of the world’s largest democratic republic.
I believe that minority communities deserve special safeguards and provisions to preserve, promote and protect their unique and distinctive cultural outlook and orientation as has been their right since our independence. The Hindutvaadis are against these safeguards, believing them to be fostering a special sense of entitlement and privileges remaining completely unfounded and baseless; if it were so, then the Muslims would have been long empowered socially, economically and politically.
Rather their systematic and structural exclusion and marginalization has seen to be generating keen interest, but efforts have not been attempted to check and correct the glaring gaps by plugging the loopholes. But, for the Right, it offers a medium for boosting and building a political capital of Hindutva identity for ensuring the symbolic representation of numerically smaller caste alliances and groups — an experiment which proved decisive in Modi’s and Adityanath’s run for power.
Attracting and wooing the non-dominant OBC and SC population of Uttar Pradesh simply put forth a reason to vote for the BJP and to desert parties like SP and BSP headed by leaders of the dominant other backward caste and scheduled caste leaders, respectively. It is for this fact that many leaders who earlier were part of SP and BSP began inching closer towards the BJP by being clear on their prospects after the BJP got a thumping mandate in the assembly elections of 2017. Yogi Adityanath became a natural choice for Chief Ministership after getting the go-ahead by Amit Shah, a figure most fundamental in the rank and hierarchy of the Bhartiya Janta Party, immensely benefiting the politics of cultural nationalism, pride and patriotism of the right-wing BJP.
Yogi, who earlier served as the seer of Gorakhdham Temple, did play a prominent role in performing the groundwork for the grand construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya as keeping this objective in mind he was chosen to lead one of most populous state of India. Fervent in his argument of the Hindu pride, sentiment, beliefs and values, endorsing the building of temple in Ayodhya, his focus on policy governance, stability, law and order in the state came as secondary in his list of priorities and commitment. Rather, Adityanath has misplaced his priorities and commitments for none other than a penchant for a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, encouraged by the special bench order of the Supreme Court in November last year under the direction of former Chief Justice of India Shri Ranjan Gogoi.
The Centre quickly announced a trust after the immediate court order clearing the legal hurdle for the temple construction in Ayodhya, but this isn’t it for people electing a government by way of popular mandate. UP, for long, has been grappling with questions of resources and infrastructure through which a individual can make sense of his survival especially in the pressing hour of Corona which has began to spread sporadically in the different cities, districts and towns of the state.
Lockdown has been extended to the containment zones and clusters as weekly lockdowns has also been imposed in the state. But in the absence of basic medical facilities and lack of testing, how do we elaborate the functioning of facilities for the people?
I still remember how due to medical negligence and lack of oxygen facility more than a hundred children died in a Gorakhpur Hospital as Dr Kafeel Khan (who continues to be in jail) was made the scapegoat as for his identity abhorred by the custodians of Hindutva. In many hospitals across the state, there is hardly any availability of oxygen cylinders and ventilators coupled by the lack of technical know-how and assistance. This sums the plight of those at the receiving end as the administration and the government is highly ignorant and insensitive to the people’s question except for the ones sounding interesting to them.
The three-year-old Yogi government should come to terms with the reality by reinvigorating its strategy and response to the menace rising out of Corona as sincere efforts on the part of the Yogi government should sound foremost than anything.
Ram Mandir will happen in Ayodhya but Adityanath shouldn’t displace his priorities or else Lord Rama won’t bestow his blessings on him. The opinion is yours!