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The newest episode of India’s Ram Temple is an official inauguration of fascism in the land of Tagore, Kabir, and Gandhi.
There was a mosque sitting there on the ground in Ayodhyay, Uttar Pradesh for about four centuries. They called it Babri Mosque, assuming it was built by Moghul emperor Babar. Far right Hindus decided it was established on the hallowed ground that was the birthplace of Lord Ram whom Hindus worship as God. However, many historians believe Ram was a mythological character, just the same way many historians believe Jesus Christ was a mythological character. However, as a Hindu, I have reverence for Ram too.
Disagreements also exist as to the era Ram lived: some say, 3000 years ago, some say 10,000 years. There has never been any serious research into it.
But politics of fanatics and bigots do not care much for that. They want to use it — to champion their agenda. In India, Ram Temple gave the ruling BJP government under Modi and its ideological driving force RSS another wonderful opportunity to consolidate their powers, since their volunteers violently demolished the mosque in December of 1992. Thousands were killed in communal riots in the aftermath of the demolition — a large majority of them were Muslims.
Yesterday, on August 5, 2000, Prime Minister Modi flouted all the medical stipulations to prevent Coronavirus spread, and laid down ceremonial bricks made of silver, as foundation for the colossal temple that was an election agenda of BJP.
All the economic and health failures of this government were essentially shoved under the rug, and forgotten.
The Indian government, perhaps for first time since its 1947 independence from the British, openly obliterated the boundary between the state and religion — and de factor destroyed India’s constitution that has championed secularism, diversity, and plurality. This act has officially inaugurated a fascist structure.
There was hardly any strong opposition to this act except for small voices of dissent from a section of the left. The royal prince and princess of Congress Party — Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi — have both supported the Ram Temple, and did not challenge the violation of India’s secular constitution. India’s corporate media have taken great advantage of this grandiose act, and heaped praises on Modi for his “wonderful, eloquent” speech he gave to the nation at the site of the proposed temple.
All across India, fanatic Hindus chanted Ram bhajans (hymns), blew conch shells, lit up torches, and banged on big bells — to celebrate the event. In almost all cases, BJP and RSS volunteers and supporters flouted all mask and social distancing norms in place today to prevent the spread of the virus.
And just like here in America, India’s far right trashed science and economics, and embraced extremist religion — to seize more political and economic power.
Brooklyn, New York
Hiroshima Day, 2020
Photo courtesy: Anandabazar.com