Sita, Ram discussed in the Rajya Sabha
Ram, Sita, <i>Ramayana</i>, <i>Ashok Vatika</i>, <i>Sanjeevani </i>mountain, Lanka, Ram Setu and birthplace of Sita were discussed in Parliament on Wednesday
Lord Ram figured in the House when eminent artist Jogen Chowdhury, a Rajya Sabha member who represents Trinamool Congress, appealed to political parties and said, “Ram ka naam badnam na karo (don't defame the name of Lord Ram)” while referring to the display of arms in Ram Navami rallies as well as BJP rallies in West Bengal.
“This is a very serious issue. During the Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal, what happened is unthinkable and undesirable. Young boys and guys are walking with arms... What is this culture of arms?” he said.
“Such activity is similar to the brainwashing of young children by the Taliban. It is dangerous if such a culture becomes a practice. It will bring unforeseen disaster to our society and country. Such things cannot be encouraged for the sake of politics and power. It should be stopped,” he said.
Instead of promoting peace, tolerance and love, arms are being encouraged on the auspicious day of Ram Navami, Chowdhury said, demanding that the Centre should take steps to stop display of arms during such rallies. He said the government should look into the matter before it goes beyond control.
But while Ram was definitely born right below the dome of the razed Babri mosque at Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sita remains a matter of ‘faith’, said Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
He also said during the Question Hour that the ‘Ramayana Circuit’ planned by the Centre included Sitamarhi, which, BJP member Prabhat Jha said is not a “disputed birthplace”.
This provoked Congress leader Digvijaya Singh to point out that no excavation had been carried out in Sitamarhi by the Archaeological Survey of India and hence there could be no direct or ‘historic’ evidence of Sita’s birthplace.
Attacking the ruling party, Singh said the BJP had raised objections to a similar reply made by an earlier Congress-led government on the 'Ram Setu' between India and Sri Lanka.
It is a chain of shoals from the Dhanushkodi tip of India's Pamban Island and ends at Sri Lanka's Mannar Island.
“By saying that it is a matter of faith, is it implied that there is no proof? Does the government have proof of their 'swayamvar' (marriage of Rama and Sita)?” Singh asked mockingly.
The Minister defended his reply by saying that Valmiki Ramayana dating back to the 2nd Century BC mentioned Mithila as the birthplace of Sita. The reply did not satisfy Digvijaya Singh who alleged that a similar reply on the ‘Ram setu’ by the UPA Government had been brushed aside by the BJP.
BJP member Subramanian Swamy jumped into the fray and said in all seriousness that the government should get in touch with Sri Lanka on the 'Ashoka Vatika' and 'Sanjeevani mountain’ which find mention in the mythological epic Ramayana.