This land is our land: PM fails to live up to the oath he took

A painful sight in the Bhumi Poojan ceremony was the presence of Uma Bharati and ‘Sadhvi’ Ritambhara, both facing trial in the Babri Mosque demolition case

This land is our land: PM fails to live up to the oath he took
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Arun Sharma

As the day dawns on the 74th Independence Day, I cannot keep my mind off the spectacle that unfolded in Ayodhya 10 days ago with Prime Minister Narendra Modi landing in the town to participate in the religious ceremony as the yajamana and the laying of the foundation stone of the proposed Ram temple by him.

The participation of the Prime Minister in the stone laying ceremony of the temple amounted to a repudiation of the secular ideal of our Constitution. For, whatever meaning the present leaders may assign to the word secular, no matter how much obfuscation and linguistic jugglery they may engage in to twist its meaning, secularism, if at all it means anything, envisages a complete separation of religion and the State. Modi, who took oath as Prime Minister to uphold that separation breached that trust reposed in him by the nation. I wish he had kept away from the function.

Modi in his yellow attire (peet vastra) and a saffron scarf appeared like a Hindu king, not the Prime Minister of 130 crore Indians he claims to be. By excluding the names of Muslims and Christians in his speech, while including others (Jains, Sikhs etc) he implied that he does not represent these two ‘alien communities’.

If face is the index of the heart, speech is even more so. I may remind the Prime Minister that Mahatma Gandhi, whose name he often invokes, had said in his autobiography that his idea of non-violence owes much to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and that Guru Nanak drew several tenets of Sikhism from the religion of Prophet Muhammad.

Also unpalatable to me was Modi’s equating the ‘self-less sacrifices of several centuries for construction of the Ram Temple’ with the country’s freedom struggle against colonial rule. This kind of obfuscation by the Prime Minister was clearly intended to erase the gory memories of the destruction of the Babri Mosqe which left a trail of blood. It was hardly a ‘peaceful resolution’ of the Ram Temple issue as has been claimed.

The ceremony also saw the difference between right and wrong obliterated as Advani, Mohan Bhagwat and the Prime Minister himself claimed glory for the construction of the proposed temple, but by implication, also for the demolition of the Mosque, although they did not say it in as many words.

A painful sight in the ceremony was the presence of Uma Bharati and ‘Sadhvi’ Ritambhara, both facing trial in the Babri Mosque demolition case. The latter named lady is also known for vitriolic hate speeches verging on vulgarity against Muslims in the early nineties.

Although the Prime Minister cleverly changed his salutation from Jai Shree Ram, which has acquired a negative connotation, to Siyavar Ram Chandra ki Jai, the subtle difference between the two failed to register with the Hindutva zealots. Barely three days after the ‘sacred’ ceremony, some people thrashed a Muslim auto driver in Sikar, and forced him to chant Jai Shree Ram!

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