Begin typing your search...

Can we accept the Modi cabinet's claim on January 22, 2024?

A fundamental principle of governance in India, as reiterated by the Supreme Court, is that the State in India, under the constitution, should have no religious affiliation

Can we accept the Modi cabinets claim on January 22, 2024?

Very few dared to question the content of the consecration ceremony at Ayodhya. Though opposition parties did raise the issue of the motive behind the event and termed it a political program, it stopped there. The CPI(M) and other Left parties even criticized the mixing of religion with politics with strong words. They reminded Prime Minister Modi that he is violating the constitution with his participation in a religious ceremony. Refusing the invitation for the ceremony, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the BJP of using religion for political gain. He said that his party believed that religion was a personal choice not to be converted into an instrument for political gain. He said, “It is most unfortunate that the BJP and RSS have converted a religious ceremony into a state-sponsored event directly involving the Prime Minister, the UP Chief Minister, and other government functionaries. A fundamental principle of governance in India, as reiterated by the Supreme Court, is that the State in India, under the constitution, should have no religious affiliation. This is being violated by the ruling regime in the organization of the event.”

Other parties, including the Congress, accused the BJP of converting a religious program into a political program to make electoral gains. However, they downplayed the aspect of a violation of the constitution by the Prime Minister.

The manner in which the drama unfolded at the Shri Ram Temple complex only indicated the orientation of the program. It showed the amalgamation of realpolitik and ideological goals. The realpolitik demanded that the Prime Minister milk the issue for electoral gains, and the RSS made it a march towards the Hindu Rashtra. No one knows how far the Prime Minister would be able to gain electorally, but the RSS has certainly come closer to making India a Hindu Rashtra. The concept of Hindu Rashtra has almost been accepted officially, and it is only a matter of time before the country is declared a Hindu Rashtra. After the ascendance of Narendra Modi to the throne, the RSS took some time to realize whether the country was ready to accept the proposition. The speed with which institutions and pillars of democracy only encouraged the Hindutva brigade to hasten its attack on democracy. Until a few months ago, the RSS was going slow on the Sri Ram Temple. Though it had ensured an upper hand in the decision of the temple trust that was overlooking the construction of the temple, it was not keen to build Ayodhya on the lines the RSS has been erecting its institutions. The model of the RSS has been Saraswati Vidyalaya-low-cost schools in the hands of pracharaks. Its work among tribals is also based on the same model. In Ayodhya, the RSS allowed free hand to bureaucrats and the businessmen associated with the Prime Minister. It allowed Modi to promote his personality cult as well. It is interesting to observe the readiness of the Hindutva organization to accept the vision of a commercialized pilgrim center at Ayodhya.

The organization that has been castigating progressive intellectuals as westernized brats has allowed all sorts of consumerism in Ayodhya. The complicity on the part of the Hindutva warriors with these elements could be witnessed in Varanasi too. Most of the hundreds of years-old temples were demolished to give way to a modernized Vishwanath Corridor. The organization did not oppose the plan and was willingly associated with the project. The organization is directing its energy towards occupying Gyanvapi Mosque. The RSS, which has been advocating a culture based on austerity and relinquishment, is now actively promoting the idea of turning important pilgrim centers into commercialized tourist places. With the coming up of a grand temple, the entire area in and around Ayodhya city has been transformed into a tourist spot.

The main road leading towards the temple now has an odd one hundred hotels by its side, and luxury tents have come up at the banks of Saryu. Those who have been living in this traditional city for generations are helplessly witnessing its transformation. Many of them have had their houses demolished or disfigured by bulldozers. The media has now become such a collaborator that it has mercilessly chosen to blackout public despair in Ayodhya. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods. They cannot voice their grief. Political parties are conspicuous by their absence. Communists who have had the distinction of representing Ayodhya in the Lok Sabha more than once have completely lost their base and are no longer a political power in the area. Other parties do not want to be seen as anti-Hindu.

However, these developments should not distract us. We must objectively look at the consecration ceremony and related incidents. One day after the ceremony, the Modi cabinet passed a resolution to express its gratitude to the Prime Minister: “You have fulfilled the centuries-old dream that Indian civilization has been dreaming of for the last five centuries.”

The resolution further says, “Historical work must have been done many times, but since this cabinet system has been formed and if we add the period of the Viceroy's Executive Council from British times, then it is so. The opportunity would never have come. Because the work that has happened through you on January 22, 2024, is unique in history. It is unique because this opportunity has come centuries later.” The resolution does not stop here and declares, “We can say that in 1947, the body of this country was liberated, and now the soul has been consecrated in it.”

These sentences not only dismiss the parliamentary system in India that passed through various phases during the independence struggle to give a constitution based on secularism, socialism, and democracy but also declare January 22, 2024, to be Independence Day. Are we ready to accept this theme based on lies and deceit?

(The author is a senior journalist. He has experience of working with leading newspapers and electronic media including Deccan Herald, Sunday Guardian, Navbharat Times and Dainik Bhaskar. He writes on politics, society, environment and economy)

Anil Sinha
Next Story
Share it