The Hindus of Ayodhya and their Judas' kiss

After years of religious polarisation and anti-Muslim hate speeches, the Hindutva-wadis turn on the 'other' Hindus for 'failing' to secure Ayodhya for the BJP

Front pages of leading Hindi newspapers on the day of the Ram Mandir pran pratishthan
Front pages of leading Hindi newspapers on the day of the Ram Mandir pran pratishthan

Akanksha Biradar

Call it cinema, poetic justice, moral defeat or uno reverse of the century— but the bottom line is that the BJP didn't win Ayodhya.

Only 33 seats from the Faizabad constituency under which Ayodhya falls—that is humiliating. After all, establishing the Ram Mandir has been the party's biggest selling point, quite literally, since before the 21st century.

L.K. Advani's 1990 Rath Yatra mastheaded the Ram Mandir moment, snowballed into the 2002 Gujarat riots and finally Prime Minister Narendra Modi fashioned a grand consecration in January before the temple was even completely built.

To achieve all this, the BJP demolished not just the Babri Masjid, but 2,200 shops, 800 houses, 30 temples, 9 mosques and 6 tombs to build a Rampath to guide tourists and pilgrims to the temple.

Among a lot of other promises, a grand victory in Ayodhya was on it's way. That was Modi ki Guarantee. A no-brainer.

People are unhappy, to say the least. Hindu extremists have used abusive slurs against the people of Ayodhya for not supporting the BJP, which was 'expected' of them.

On social media, right-wing Hindu radicals went wild, slinging verbal abuse, slander and outright threats of violence at the Hindu population of Ayodhya for the electoral mandate.

It is even more galling, of course, that the Samajwadi Party's Awadesh Prasad, a Dalit leader, defeated the BJP's two-term MP Lallu Singh.

Netizens are claiming that every practising Hindu has disappointed Modi and owes him an apology personally, even.

Randomsena on X called the Hindus in Ayodhya 'hijde' (enuchs) as an insult—a particularly rich nugget of irony for a culture that also makes a cult of the Mahabharata, with its Brihannala-Arjun, its Shikhandi, and in Pride month too.

Daksh Chaudhary and Annu Chaudhary, both associated with Hindu supremacist groups, were arrested for abusing Faizabad voters after the BJP lost. (The district of Faizabad is where the Ayodhya Ram Temple and the town formerly also called Faizabad both sit.)

Another BJP supporter was seen burning the word 'Ayodhya' written out in flammable materials on the ground, while other right-wing extremists have called Faizabad voters 'untrustworthy', 'backstabbers', 'disloyal' and even 'terrorists'.

In another instance Dhirendra Raghav, a Hindu, was arrested for verbal abuse and attempting to incite violence between the two communities. He tried manipulating his audience by dressing up as a Muslim and wearing a skull cap, and recording his own inflammatory video thus 'costumed'.

The 'Hindu-hates-Hindu since the Mughals' blame game has shifted the polarising narrative and pulled the negative attention off the Muslims of Faizabad, at least on social media platforms.

Many right-wing Hindutva believers have claimed the Ram Mandir does not even belong Ayodhya — never mind 'Mandir wahin banaenge' — and they would like to visit it without stepping foot on the land that births and succours such traitors. One even dubbed it an ancestral defect of sorts, for Ayodhya has always humiliated its own 'king', from Ram himself to Modi!

Such posts only certify what we always suspected: Narendra Modi's larger-than-biological-life persona and his ability to end a '500-years-old' struggle is just marketing and vote bank politics brilliance, and his followers are his, not Ram's, their dharma definitively Hindutva and not Hinduism, sanatan or syncretic.

For many, a loss, any loss for Modi and his right-wing, Hindu supremacist, jingo-nationalist party is reason strong enough to move away to a country run by an Islamic theocracy or stop praying to the Hindu god who became the BJP's poster boy of religious dogmatism.

The mighty BJP won the 'single largest party' mandate in India, if not Uttar Pradesh, at least.

But at what cost?

Narendra Modi's third consecutive term as prime minister has him heading a coalition government in the end — that 'weak form of governance' he has always derided. It is just another surprise that too few of his self-declared dedicates and 'parivar' members anticipated.

Mushahid Hussain, member of senate of Pakistan and an expert in foreign affairs said, “We are quite happy” to see Modi’s party lose its outright majority in Parliament. “It will be a more chastened and somewhat weakened Modi now sitting in the PM office in Delhi.” he said.

He added that ''Pakistan hopes to see a more subdued Indian approach to Pakistan in terms of tone and rhetoric.”

Modi's campaign for the 2024 general elections roundly violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the Election Commission's directive to not appeal to the voter's identity factors of religion and caste. Indeed, this election campaign will long be remembered for the infamous mutton, mujra and mangalsutra comments, and history will not forgive his ghuspaithiya remark (any more than Banaskatha did).

For the present, interested parties both inside and outside the NDA will be watching how this moral defeat will reshape the BJP from within. After all, no one anticipated the king losing them their crowning jewel of 'achievement'!

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