Ram Rajya is a concept popularised by Mahatma Gandhi, and it means a land of milk and honey where justice reigns and everyone is happy. However, the advent of Hindutva has tuned the name of the lord into a signal for death, which is an insult to the very idea of ‘maryada purushottam’
If Bhagwan Ram takes rebirth in today's saffron India what would he do? My take is that he would walk straight into the River Sarayu and end his life!
And If Sita is reborn in Uttar Pradesh she would ask Hanuman to pick up that expelled Mahila Morcha woman who said Hindu men should rape Muslim women and drop her in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka.
When and how did 'Jai Sri Ram' become a tool for humiliating and torturing the perceived enemies of the Hindu hardliners? I am a Hindu and I've never shouted this slogan in my life - and I've no intention of doing so ever. We the Hindus of South India usually chant "Rama, Rama, Rama" and that's all we know.
Media reports suggest that 'Jai Shri Ram' dates back to the days of L.K. Advani's rath yatra and is inextricably linked to the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. If this is true then the slogan exemplifies revenge, destruction and unbridled hatred.
'Ram Rajya' is a concept popularised by Mahatma Gandhi, and its means a land of milk and honey where justice reigns and everyone is happy. Ram is the ideal man, the 'maryada purushottam' who cast out his beloved wife to serve the extreme ends of justice, though some of us would describe that justice as 'perverted'.
Reports are coming in from various parts of the country, mainly the cow belt, that people are being beaten to death for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram. Jharkhand enjoys the dubious distinction of becoming the lynch-capital of the world with eighteen murders in a four year span. Tabrez Ansari was brutally assaulted on June 17, denied medical attention and left to die. He passed way four days later. Ansari's crime? He refused to hail good old Ram!
If someone were to tie me to a pole today and demand that I chant 'Jai Shri Ram', I would refuse. Why? Because I feel no one has a right to compel me to say or do anything. As a tax-paying, law abiding, peaceful citizen of India I value my rights and freedoms. If I have to pay with my life, I'm ready. May be it's better to die than to live amongst such monsters.
Cow-related murders have come to stay. 'Jai Shri Ram' as a hate slogan has gained widespread acceptability. It even echoed in the hallowed halls of Parliament during the oath-taking ceremony. The BJP's electoral victory and the saffronisation of Parliament emboldened the Hindutva brigade - they are now going for the jugular.
Though hate crimes are more common in BJP led states, they are spreading to places like West Bengal as well. Mob violence doesn't surprise us anymore. It happens even in states like Kerala where the masses are literate and well educated (only the reasons are not cow-related). Everywhere in the country the aam aadmi is convinced he has the license to attack any man or woman on the street, provided he can put together a small task force. He is at risk only if he tries to do it alone. The mob has collective immunity it seems. The era of the goonda raj has begun. Ram rajya has no future.
The police either collude with the murderer or turn a blind eye - a larger malaise that points to the breakdown of good governance. As for the judiciary, the cost and delay factor keeps the general populace away from the courts - and the odd citizen who files a suit often finds that justice is sold to the highest bidder. Sadly, even when a just verdict is served, it cannot bring the dead back to life.
Jai Shri Ram is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other ominous signs of religious extremism rearing its ugly head. Keralites are advised to stop eating beef so that their 'brothers' in northern India will feel they deserve to be helped when there is a natural disaster. Hindi is being thrust on the southern states in overt and covert ways, a move that was momentarily arrested by the stiff resistance put up first by Tamilnadu and then by the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Immigrants have been labelled as termites by no less a person than India's current Home Minister.
Hinduism never had an ugly face until 1992. Now it has many faces - and the most beautiful of them is no longer visible. As the cancer of hatred spreads nationwide there is a real danger of Hindu extremism pushing our Muslim brothers into the hands of a globally retreating Islamic State. We need to remember that peace is a fragile equilibrium. A small match can destroy a big forest.
(The writer is an IT professional)...