By: M.R. Lalu
Amid shouts of “Jai Shriram” and hysterical sloganeering in spiritual composure, the city of Ayodhya witnessed a truly religious event on January 22. The consecration of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya triggered an intense churn of political discourse in India and abroad. There have been numerous write-ups appearing in international dailies questioning the overwrought mobilization by an elected government that stood in unison with the cultural sensitivity of a ‘militant majority’ in a country that was known, in real sense, for its secular values. Further accusing a particular community and the government at the centre, the vituperative media went on calling the event at Ayodhya a blot on India’s existence as a civilization and therefore, should have been sidelined and neglected as the chronology of Ayodhya’s journey to this stage of consecration was deeply dampened in blood and hatred. Extreme critical views on the ‘Hindu triumphalism’, as that is what they call it have appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian and the Time. The new majoritarian momentum, according to them, has been in emergence in India ever since the Modi regime began to hold the reins of the country and the latest event, the temple consecration was its orchestration. They have only one remark to be made with vociferous malignity that a violent Hindu majoritarianism had almost swallowed the secular essence of India. The country of 1.4 billion is almost at the brink of a doom with its poor minority, especially the Muslims being tortured, bullied and deliberately alienated by an aggressive militant Hindu majority with the support of the present authoritarian government.
The saffron surge, as per the western media, is threateningly growing everywhere and the Muslims are vacating areas where such forces intensify their presence. The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no Muslim representation and the most populous state Uttar Pradesh is governed by a Hindu extremist monk Yogi Adityanath. Cries of Jai Shri Ram became a warmongering call in almost all cities and the situation is grim with a shadow of animosity hovering over the habitually amiable and secular Muslim population. A Muslim woman journalist who went to report the Ayodhya event was forced to wear a Hindu bindi and she had to leave the event before it culminated, reports the Time magazine. So Ayodhya temple, as the narrative goes, will remain a huge monument of Hindu supremacy symbolizing its violent militancy. In another article the Time refuses to accept the Hindu claim on the historicity of the temple and its remnants buried under the mosque that existed before 1992. It calls the demolition of the controversial structure in 1992 an explosion of Islamophobic violence by a Hindu mob numbering at least 75000 people. Purely blaming the Hindus for the riots that followed after the demolition of the structure which killed about 2000 people, the western media pronounced its judgment on the Hindu majority. A violent Hindu nationalism had catapulted the Modi era to its rise in India in 2014 and Modi surreptitiously watered and furthered this majoritarian aggression. He could manage to enhance his fortunes immensely in his second term in 2019 and the national election 2024 and the temple consecration will be a shot in the arm, a plank that Modi will launch his political gimmickry, the narrative accuses.
This being the intellectual acrimony with which the western media handles the Indian sensitivity of Ram, what remains to be seen by them is the reality. The real aura, the ideal that Lord Ram upheld as he ruled his kingdom, has undoubtedly been a part of India’s social discourse for generations through the great epic Ramayana. There hasn’t been a speck of doubt with which you would study the glory of Ram. Centuries of agitation for a temple that people believed to have existed in the place of the controversial mosque with archeological evidence accentuating the claim scientifically, the woke media reflect, as usual, their negation calling it a framework of the oppressive Hindu majority. The country’s apex court had unequivocally quashed the claims raised by the opposite side and pronounced its verdict favoring a temple at the disputed site. But outrageous on everything that India represents through its cultural legacy, more inflammatory remarks on the consecration and the Prime Minister’s statements were tossed by the western media. For instance, let us examine the viciousness in what the Guardian reports. It says, “While the Congress and other opposition parties boycotted the ceremony, they have failed to mount an effective challenge to Mr Modi’s dangerous majoritarianism and have at times succumbed to its dominance.” The paper, with its colonial calculative approach further estimates that the Modi regime, if repeated for the third time, would rewrite the country’s constitution, giving way to a dangerous and violent Hindu India emerging from the laments of a disconsolate minority.
We need to know the level of animosity towards the Hindu population that plays its ugly game in India and abroad. For almost 80 percent of India’s Hindu population, the consecration moment was one of the holiest. An event that they believe would be remembered for centuries. Ayodhya would receive the best spiritual makeover throughout this revamping process and millions around the city, irrespective of their religious affinity would be benefitted both socially and economically. The wait for a magnificent temple in the birthplace of their highly venerated Lord was a moment of joy, which was both spiritual and socially elevating. Disregarding the legitimacy of India’s legal process, media across various countries began to spit hate against the temple and the Hindus. Alarmingly, there is a visible repugnance to the Indian state, especially to its Hindu heritage. To stretch it further, what causes them to be seriously abhorrent about is the political triumphalism of the Hindu majority which the proponents of wokeism in the west and elsewhere think would successfully pull India giving it a powerful position. Modi is regarded as a persona non grata, who they think is the product of this majoritarian triumphalism that has been in power since 2014. The Hindus after the temple inauguration are expected to shoot their support for Narendra Modi and the western media’s unwillingness to accept his rise once again is the principal reason behind their slanderous narratives. Undoubtedly, Ayodhya is going to remain relevant throughout the battle readiness of Modi and his party. That is the threatening aspect that his opposition including the Congress was fearful about. A huge thrust in Modi’s popularity was evident as the country joyfully danced in tune with his call for celebrating Ayodhya. Nullifying his severe spiritual austerities for the temple consecration as political gimmickry, the opposition parties lost their chance to join the cultural euphoria that would set the momentum for 2024. Denying India’s inclusive majoritarianism outrightly, not only the western media but the naysayers in India also will lose the chance to keep pace with the rise of ‘political Hinduism’ consolidating its power. This has been a reality that began to vividly lit up India’s political horizon with a saffron radiance.
(The author is Freelance Journalist, Meppurathu House, Puthusserimala P.O, Ranni, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala State)