At Ayodhya, the Prime Minister of India laid the foundation stone for the construction of the largest Ram temple at the so-called birthplace of Lord Ram. Arguably for the political growth of the BJP, the main agenda they used has been the Ram temple in Ram’s birthplace.
Ram and politics
The question ‘why the Ram temple’ is more relevant than it appears to be. Ram is one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God. Among the incarnations, the most worshiped deities are Ram and Krishna. There are two epics in India, the Ramayan and the Mahabharat, both of which have major characters, well known across India and beyond. There is no dispute that these are the two literary works that have profoundly influenced Indian culture.
But why do Hindu nationalists abandon Krishna and adopt Rama as their role model?
There is a reason for that. The Mahabharat tells the story of a great conquest of state and power through war. Whatsoever greatness it has been taken for, it simply is a war between two groups of an Aryan tribe themselves. The Pandavs conquer the country by killing Kauravs. In simple sense, it is the civil war between the Aryans.
But that is not the case in Ramayan. The Ramayan tells the story of an Aryan king, Ram, killing an Asur king and his warriors. Historians point out that the people referred to in the mythology as Asurs and/or Rakshas are none other than Dravidians themselves, the people mostly populated in the south of India currently.
Now, we can better understand the answer to the question of why Hindu nationalists adopt the model of Ram’s Dharma, rather than Krishna’s.
Yes, the establishment of the Aryan hegemonic political system is their ultimate political goal.
When rulers talk about god and religion as political issues, it is a sign that democracy is in danger of decay.
In the west, especially in the Scandinavian countries, where right kind of democracy is practiced, neither the people nor the rulers present the problems of religion as political problems.
Neither Ram nor his Temple is really a thing that strengthens Indian democracy, because Ram was a god of a bygone era and obsolete monarchy. We can sensibly see that Hinduism, which seeks to portray Ram as an ideal, is a just tribal religion.
We honestly have to ask the question of whether primitive religions and their imaginary gods are necessary for India to rise as a democratic society of modernity enabled by information revolution and science.
M T Rishikumar
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