Hoping for political gains, BJP makes use of traditional Kanwar Yatra
Kanwar Yatra takes place every year but this year it is being draped in nationalist and religious politics. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed that Kanwariyas be welcomed with flower petals
The BJP is now openly using a mixture of three elements—Hindutva, nationalism and pilgrimage—in Uttar Pradesh. The Ram Temple issue is being systematicall made part of the ongoing Kanwar yatra, which also being coloured with nationalism. Kanwar yatra camps are also being adorned with the tricolour.
The Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage is taken out every year. Devotees of Lord Shiva take up Kanwar yatra every year in the month of Shravan. They carry Ganga water on foot back to their villages and offer it to Shivlingas. But this time, the holy yatra is being sought to be politicised. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has allowed playing of loud music by DJs during the yatra. He also carried out an aerial survey of Kanwariya travel routes from Muzaffarnagar to Ghaziabad on Friday last week. Then Yogi had instructed the district administration to welcome the Kanwariyas by tossing flower petals on them. Earlier, Yogi had laid the foundation of a Kanwar camp in Ghaziabad.
Inside sources say that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has asked Kanwariyas to display a model of the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya during their journey. As these Kanwariyas reach new places, particularly in rural areas, people are being invited through loudspeakers to see the model of the temple.
The Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage is taken out every year. Devotees of Lord Shiva take up Kanwar yatra every year in the month of Shravan. They carry Ganga water on foot back to their villages and offer it to Shivlingas. But this time, the holy yatra is being sought to be politicised
Is it wrong or illegal to include a model of the Ram Mandir in the Kanwar Yatra? No. But this combination of religion and politics only strengthens polarisation. In many rural areas of western Uttar Pradesh, people don’t have any idea how the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will look, if at all it is built. VHP leader Manish Dikshit says, "We are just showing people the temple model and we are not saying anything." He argues that, "In all Muslim religious programmes, pictures of Mecca-Medina are displayed, but no one complains. And here our progressive and secular journalists are asking questions on displaying the temple model during Kanwar yatra."
It is not just the Ram temple issue which is being used during this yatra, this fusion of politics and religion is also being wrapped in a dose of nationalism. Sushil Narayan Sharma, a school teacher from Muzaffarpur says, "This is possibly happening for the first time that the tricolor is being used during the Kanwar Yatra. Earlier, Kanwariyas used to carry the saffron flag and pictures of Lord Shiva. But this time, there are more tricolours than the saffron flag. In Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, a 360 meter long tricolour was included in the Kanwar yatra.”