Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Why the Rama Mandir Matters to Me



As the arguments come to a close and a judgment is given, I cannot but marvel how defeatist I feel about the entire subject of the Rama Janmabhoomi dispute. That the word dispute is attached to something that archaeological and historical references prove beyond doubt is beyond my comprehension. Even with mountains of evidence, I have to prove that my deity, my Bhagavana was born there, at that very spot, where a building was repurposed to use the liberal and Marxist historian lexicography, to become a symbol of power, of slavery, which continued to rankle people even after coming down.
I do not have anything new to say, I guess, to add to the importance of the Rama Mandir. It is NOT (emphasis added) a political issue for the likes of me. It is a civilizational issue, one that literally goes to define who I am. Whatever may be the geography internally, that temple is a mark of my identity as a Hindu, whose ethos has long been lost somewhere. Fightbacks and heroics of the battle hardened ancestors of our land are innumerable; yet, the fact that we tried unsuccessfully to get back what we really had has always had a demotivating effect. Much like the ‘nothing can change’ attitude that many of us carry, despite learning (or not learning) from our own history and Dharma how one should never give up, whatever be the circumstances faced. Karmanye vadhikaraste, Sri Krishna, Rama in another birth, had directed Arjuna in the Kurukshetra, and yet, in this Kurukshetra, we felt cheated, humiliated, defeated all the time – sometimes by our own, other times by the unknown.
There is nothing new when I say that Rama is a matter of faith for many like me. He is that paragon of virtue who never lost his way on the path of Dharma, come what may. No, I cannot be Rama, for I do not have the ability to find out opportunity in adversity for fulfilling the uddeshya of my life. But it cannot be emphasized enough that his life is not just a kavya for me; it is a guide, a darsana on behaving in line with Dharma. He looks over us, as we consider him our very own, a figure that protects us all, even in the darkest of times. Guiding us through the turbulence and the muck of stagnation, he has been a beacon, of oneness, of hope for those who had nearly forgotten what it means to have an identity that is not cloaked in shame and is not drowning in the filth of depression, of chaos, of depravity. He is a symbol of that ideal society that we want – where no one has a reason to complain, and where everyone is committed to the path of Dharma.
Rama for us is that name which, as Hanuman had shown, is bigger than Rama itself, guiding us through this world and into the afterlife, towards mukti, freeing us from our Karmic connections. Rama is that son that we can never be, who for his mother’s happiness gave up all without batting an eyelid. He is the ruler we all want, who kept his own subjects way above him, and ensured that there was never a reason for suspicion, for worry and for doubting. Rama for us is that warrior who did not hesitate to take on evil, however mighty and daunting it may seem, and see to its just end. Rama for us is that scion of a lineage which starts with Ikshvaku, and has the likes of Shibi and Bhagiratha, who teach us what sacrifice and perseverance for Dharma are all about, and in whose footsteps a worthy descendant came.
Rama Mandir for us is a symbol of an idea of Bharat that is India. A civilization that had lost its path somewhere by rediscovering a powerful lost symbol has tried to understand its place in the pantheon of civilizations. Rama Mandir is proof that Bharat that is India is not a dead, ancient and forgotten civilization for academics to study; rather, it is a powerful entity that exists, and exemplifies its survival with pride. There were turbulences of Sri Rama’s life, and as if on cue, the civilization of Dharma also saw turbulence. But it withstood each onslaught, each bruise, each ram and battery to defiantly tell the others in the world that Bharat cannot be subdued, for it is in each of the Dharmiks that it survives and thrives. Its vivid memories live in its songs, dances and stories; its impressions survive in its art and sculpture, which express divinity in beauty beyond compare when taken to the zenith of excellence. It is a rally point for all Dharmiks – Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and others – that we are all tied through our understanding of the story of Rama, with their varying hues, to this land, to its civilization and to its faith, and that remains with us irrespective of wherever we go. The power of the moment that could or could not dawn upon us today is vindication of the centuries of absence of memory, the absence of identity that was thrust upon nearly a billion people, who knew not what it meant to be someone.
The name that inspired a thousand bhajans, a thousand prayers, a thousand kavyas and mahakavyas, a thousand kritis, a thousand plays, a thousand grandmother stories, a thousand Dussehra lilas, a thousand Diwalis for many – that name is Rama. Rama is not just a name in fact, it is a summation of this civilization and all that it encompasses. The impact on our lives of that single name is perhaps reason enough to mention why the Rama Mandir matters.

No comments:

The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

The Buck Stops With the Duo (Courtesy: Bloombergquint) The fracas in Maharashtra notwithstanding, things are at a critical juncture ...