While Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has said “secularism was the biggest threat to India’s tradition getting recognition on the global stage”, he also “warned” people he accuses of “creating false propaganda about the country for a meagre sum of money” that they will “face the heat”. This is no mere threat. The Uttar Pradesh government has consistently cracked down on activists who dissent, and journalists who report.
This latest reminder from Adityanath was at the launch of the first edition of Global Encyclopedia of the Ramayana on Saturday. He said, “This word ‘secularism’ is the biggest threat to develop India’s prosperous traditions and give it a spot on the global stage. People who are misleading the public for their own benefit and betraying the country will not be spared. People who are creating false propaganda about India for money will face the heat.”
This is the Preamble to the Constitution of India:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation”
Last month, Adityanath had claimed that every citizen of India is Hindu.
According to news reports, he has now also “asserted that historical facts cannot be denied,” and accused that some people were still raising questions on the existence of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. The India Today reported that CM Adityanath hit out at those “questioning Hindu culture”, and narrated the story of a Buddhist guide in the Angkor Wat temple he had met during his visit to Cambodia. The guide, said Adityanath, was confident enough to admit that Buddhism had originated from Hinduism. He added, “The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata not only give us the best life lessons, but also tell us a lot about the expansion of Indian boundaries. These stories of our epic Hindu literature help us envision a better India. Pakistan was a part of India before 1947 and Maryada Purushottam Lord Sri Ram had extended the boundaries of India during his time by making his brother’s son, the ruler of Pakistan.” According to India Today, Adityanath, “also urged the people to not let go of the harmonious spirit of the nation by getting involved in petty communal disputes.”
Adityanath added that e-book prepared by the Ayodhya Research Institute, would motivate people to visit the temple town, “There are Sapta Puri, seven holy cities, which are considered as the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites. Out of these, Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi are in Uttar Pradesh. It is a matter of pride for us that a workshop has been organised by the Department of Culture, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs.”
Next door in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not to be outdone by Adityanath, and announced free Ayodhya Ram Temple visits for the city’s elderly. He made this major announcement a day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government presented a “patriotism” themed Rs 69,000-crore budget. According to Kejriwal, his government follows 10 principles inspired by the concept of ”Ram Rajya” to serve the people. These are: providing food, education, medical care, electricity, water, employment, housing, security for women and honouring the elderly. The pilgrimage to Ayodhya is perhaps an added bonus.
“I am a devotee of Lord Ram and Hanuman. We have been following 10 principles inspired by the concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ to serve the people of Delhi,” Kejriwal had said during a discussion on the address to the House by the Lieutenant Governor earlier this week. He added, “We have taken many steps to honour our elderly, the most important being sending them on free pilgrimages. I want to tell all senior citizens in Delhi that I will send you to Ram temple in Ayodhya once the construction work is completed.”
Kejriwal is yet to announce what free pilgrimages he will sponsor for Delhi’s non Hindu elderley citizens. The AAP dispensation already has a ”Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana” that allows senior citizens from Delhi to undertake a free pilgrimage, reported multiple news outlets. All expenses related to travel, food and accommodation are borne by the Delhi government. Delhi citizens often get text messages about this scheme for temple visits, irrespective of the religion they follow.
Kejriwal’s budget 2021, also provided for the installation of 500 National Flag masts, programmes on the lives of freedom fighters. The Delhi government has set aside Rs 90 crore for these initiatives. According to Delhi’s Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, the Tricolour as the “greatest symbol of our individual identity”, and high-mast flags, will make sure that one is visible every two kilometres. Sisodia said, “All citizens of Delhi, when coming out from their homes even for short distances, will not return without sentiments of patriotism and national pride.”
“Deshbhakti is the defining feature of the Budget,” said Kejriwal, the Indian Express reported that the Delhi government had earmarked Rs 25 crore for training and engaging yoga instructors across colonies “on demand”. Sisodia said, “Even when there were no modern laboratories in the 16th Century world, our scientists and philosophers had done research on the depths of the science of mind and body, on the basis of self-realisation and introspection that is not possible to understand even in the most modern scientific laboratory today.” The ‘deshbhakti’ project, will be kickstarted with a gala event on March 12, and implemented over the next year, leading to India’s 75th year of Independence.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced that the 75th year of Independence will be celebrated as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Today’s #AmritMahotsav programme begins from Sabarmati Ashram, from where the Dandi March began. The March had a key role in furthering a spirit of pride and Aatmanirbharta among India’s people. Going #VocalForLocal is a wonderful tribute to Bapu and our great freedom fighters.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 12, 2021