Musings on Ayodhya Ram Temple and my tete-a-tete with Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns, Top Stories

Musings on Ayodhya Ram Temple and my tete-a-tete with Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa

January 16, 2024

From today it is only seven days for the consecration of Ram Lalla’s (baby Rama) idol at a ceremony in Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir. Monday, 22nd January, 2024, will be a red letter day for all the Hindus all over the world because that will be the day when the Hindus of the world will be redeeming their self-esteem and will reclaim their Lord Rama who was driven away from his birthplace more than 500 years ago by Babur, the invader.

To reclaim the most important cultural and religious inheritance and symbol Sri Rama of our country Bharat, steeped in Sanatana Dharma, was not easy even after 76 years of independence despite 80 percent of the population being Hindus. It behoves well to the majority of the population that they could reclaim their spiritual and culture heritage through peaceful agitations, negotiations and finally through the Law Court. Of course, there were some violent incidents but it was more for political reasons than for lack of tolerance and understanding between those involved in the Ayodhya conundrum. That Lord Rama, his very name, elevated the thoughts and emotions of Hindus is evident from the fact that the struggle to reclaim Ram’s birthplace had begun from the day the temple was demolished.

Be that as it may, we can now look back and say all is well that ends well and the long-awaited consecration ceremony of installing the idol of baby Rama at his birthplace will take place as scheduled.

Now the whole nation resonates with the spirit of Sri Rama, the God Head, who is the avatar of Lord Vishnu, one of the three aspects of Eshwara — the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara — the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer respectively. In Bhagavadgita, there is a verse which says that whenever there is a need to protect the righteous and destroy the evil forces in order to establish dharma Lord Krishna would incarnate again and again in different Yugas. This is Kaliyuga and the evil forces had destroyed temples and subjugated His bhaktas. Surprisingly, He did not incarnate as an avatar for over 1,000 years in this land to redeem what was lost and to reclaim what really belonged to his bhaktas.

Anyway, now during the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi, Sri Rama’s Ayodhya has been reclaimed and the celebration has already begun. Surprisingly, Prime Minister Modi, last Friday (Jan. 12), began a special eleven-day fast to prepare himself for the consecration of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The consecration would be a realisation of a pledge and dream of generations of tolerant Hindus, who made ‘tremendous sacrifices’ for the cause. Speaking after beginning his fast, Modi said, and rightly so, “God has made me an instrument to represent all people of India.”

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Already, many interesting anecdotes, stories and real life situations are making the rounds. Certainly some could be apocryphal. The one that rouses admiration and wonder is that of one Mauni Baba, who took a pledge not to speak at the age of 10 and has been walking barefoot for years with a resolve to build the Ram Mandir. According to reports, he will break his silence by chanting Lord Rama’s name on Jan. 22. Mauni Baba, hailing from Madhya Pradesh, will give up the pledge of not wearing slippers and not speaking as soon as the idol of Ram Lalla is seated in the Temple at Ayodhya. His original name was Mohan Gopal Das and reports said that he was with  kar sevaks in Ayodhya when the structure of Babri Masjid came down. As I write, it is not known if he has been invited for the consecration ceremony.

Yesterday morning, I spoke to Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa, the renowned Kannada novelist and an intellectual on his return to city from a visit to Lucknow and Ayodhya, about which, news had already appeared in Star of Mysore and other newspapers. His first response to my question about law and order in Uttar Pradesh (UP), known for its chaotic and violent social situation in the past, specially before the present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came to power, was surprisingly very positive.

Yes, it was considered a lawless land like Bihar during the days of Lalu Prasad Yadav. According to Dr. Bhyrappa, the law and order situation seemed to be under total control. Senior IAS Officers hailing from Karnataka, with whom Bhyrappa interacted, too endorsed this view with an explanation. The reason was a stern warning given by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to all bureaucrats to work strictly according to the law, rules and regulations and not to make compromises to oblige the MLAs, MLCs and MPs. With this kind of orders and guidance from the Chief Minister himself, the bureaucracy in UP today are working with confidence and without fear of the elected representatives, who often ask the bureaucracy to compromise for reasons of electoral politics. While in the past, it used to be difficult for women and children to move around at night,  it is not so now under Yogi Adityanath, Bhyrappa said.

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When I heard this I was wondering why our Chief Minister here in Karnataka too issue similar instructions to his bureaucrats — not to take instructions from the MLAs, MLCs and MPs and follow the law instead. Just this morning, I read in the Deccan Herald about the most abominable Hangal gang-rape case, where the Chief Minister replying to a query said that ‘he had spoken to Byadgi MLA Shivanna and necessary steps would be taken…’ Well, why speak to MLA? Why not the Health Officer or the Police Officer?

This reminded me of my visit to Patna some years ago after the fall of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi’s rule. My friend and I took a taxi to go to our next destination out of Patna at about 6 pm. While travelling, the taxi driver told us that it was only after the new Government came to power the taxis and cars began to move on that road at night as earlier there used to be a number of mafia operating on highways to waylay and rob passengers. Now in UP, according to Dr. Bhyrappa, “We can call it a heaven.”

Another interesting observation of Dr. Bhyrappa was about newspaper reports. According to him, there is a sharp contrast in the news we read in our newspapers here and the ones he read in Lucknow. Here we find, according to him, news full of reports about rape, molestation, murder etc. in addition to road accidents and robbery. We also read about frequent chain-snatching incidents. He said he rarely saw these kinds of reports in UP papers that he had read. It carried more of positive news and about development.

He said it would be wrong to say newspapers are guilty of canard or tendentious reporting. After all, newspapers are just mirror image of whatever happens in the society. Just as the mirror reflects the images before it, so also, the newspaper reports whatever is happening in the society.

Having heard the intellectual oracle of our city Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa, I thought there is some food for thought for the Congress Government that is ruling Karnataka today.

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