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BJP Supporters are Cursing Hindus of Ayodhya Because They Have Resisted Hindutva

The Hindus of Ayodhya have been living with Ram well before the consecration of the Ram temple on 22 January.

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Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are cursing the people of Ayodhya. In the 18th Lok Sabha elections, the people of Ayodhya refused to accept the BJP as their representative in Parliament. The Hindus who are not residents of Ayodhya are shocked by this rejection.

The people of Ayodhya, to whom the BJP gave such a grand Ram temple, built an airport there, and turned it into a modern tourist destination, have proved to be "ungrateful" by denying the BJP this seat.

The hatemongers of the BJP are not just condemning the people of Ayodhya; they are cursing them, especially the Hindus. They are saying India is in such a pathetic condition because of such Hindus who do not realise their duty and that they are traitors of the highest order.

We are also being told that the Hindus of Ayodhya have always been like this. Don't you remember that they forced poor Ram to exile his wife Sita? Today again, by giving five years of exile to the BJP, they have shown that they have not changed at all. They are true descendants of their ancestors who lived in the times of Ram, as pathetic as they were!

It is the hate factory of the RSS and the BJP that is generating this toxicity against non-BJP Hindus. It wants to fill the sky with the smoke of hatred to create the impression that all Hindus are exhaling hatred. This is not true. A huge chunk of Hindus across India have refused a clear mandate from the BJP.

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The hate campaign against the people of Ayodhya and anti-BJP Hindus after the defeat of the BJP in the Faizabad constituency has made the difference between Hindutva and Hinduness very stark. What has also become very clear is that the BJP will not let any Hindu who refuses to follow its diktat live with dignity. Just as the Hindus of Ayodhya have refused to be Hindutvawadis, crores of Hindus have rejected Hindutva by rejecting the BJP.

But before talking about this, let us remember that Ayodhya is only one part of the Faizabad constituency. The name of the Lok Sabha constituency is still Faizabad, although in 2018 the name of Faizabad district was changed to Ayodhya.

Before that, Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj. All this is part of a campaign to purify Hindustan and turn it into the sacred Bharat. But, like the people of Ayodhya, the people of Prayagraj also betrayed the BJP. There, too, the BJP was defeated. Should we then understand that Hindus are just not capable of appreciating the "good" that the BJP is trying to do for them?

The people of the BJP are blaming the Hindus of Ayodhya for their defeat. They forget, however, that it is not just the Hindu voters who live in Ayodhya. All the voters in India have the right to decide which political party is good for them and which is not.

But it is also true that the BJP would not have lost had the Hindus not withdrawn their support from it. It was the decision of the Hindus to deprive it of a majority. It is very difficult for the BJP and the RSS to digest this mandate of the Hindus.

And why is it unbelievable for them?

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Hindus in Ayodhya Have Been Living With Ram Well Before 22 January

In the last ten years, the clamour of Jai Shri Ram filled the atmosphere. However, this was generated by the RSS cohort, which had set up a noise factory, an illusion that this noise is, in fact, the voice of all Hindus. Even those who were silent were led to believe that it was only they who were not part of the chorus.

At the time of the elections, all those who had kept silent amidst this noise spoke through their votes. This silent collective Hindu voice of rejection of the BJP has made the ruling party numb. It was impossible to hear the silence of this majority in all the screaming and shouting.

The people of Ayodhya have reminded Modi's party that Hindus have been living in Ayodhya well before the birth of the BJP or even the RSS, its parent organisation. They had been living with Ram well before the consecration of the Ram temple on 22 January.

There were not one but many Ram temples in Ayodhya, and all of them were important for them. Dethroning all those temples from their position of importance and making them insignificant by building a huge Ram temple seemed insulting to ordinary Hindus. The BJP's claim that Modi has brought Ram sounded arrogant to them.

It was clear to the people of Ayodhya, not to those outside Ayodhya, that this temple was not built out of religious faith but out of political and worldly greed. They also saw that they were being asked to sacrifice themselves for this Hindutva. Just as hundreds of years old temples and houses were demolished to build the Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Banaras, similarly, in Ayodhya too, houses, temples, and mosques were demolished to pave the way for the new Ram temple.

Thousands of Hindus lost their dwellings, their livelihood, and their age-old neighbourhood.

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The people of Ayodhya saw that the BJP invokes ancient culture but does not respect antiquity. It is producing a new and fake antiquity. To establish it, the existing antiquity has to be destroyed. That is why Allahabad will have to be renamed Prayagraj, and a new Ram temple will have to be established in Ayodhya by demolishing the old temples.

All this is symbolic. If Hindutva has to be established, it will have to destroy traditional Hinduism. All traditional Hindu practices will have to be replaced with those crafted by the RSS.

Hindus have different traditions in different states. Ram Navami is not important in Bengal. Similarly, we learnt that in Mithila and Bengal, the BJP and the RSS made attempts to stop the sale of meat and fish on Tuesdays and during Navaratri. The Bengalis and the Maithils did not accept it. They had to step back. But we should not ignore the fact that they did try to change the traditional food habits of Maithilis and Bengalis, along with their sense of sacredness.

The BJP is bent on making Ram Navami the main festival of Bengal. In Kerala, Hindus celebrate the annual return of the generous, people-loving Bali at Onam. Turning this tradition on its head, the BJP started celebrating Onam as the birth anniversary of Vamana, who had treacherously taken away Bali's kingdom. Only when the people of Kerala reacted strongly did the BJP back out. A Bengali friend in Jabalpur told me that a Bengali RSS pracharak addressed a gathering of Bengalis in Hindi. He told everyone that they should call themselves Hindus, not Bengalis.

This is an attempt by Hindutva to change Hindu traditions. During the campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid, Jai Shri Ram was promoted as the Hindu greeting instead of Jai Siyaram or Ram Ram. The picture of an aggressive Ram was used in place of the loving image of Ram and Sita, and the picture of an angry Hanuman was promoted in place of the joyous Hanuman. All this is an attempt to cleverly replace all Hindu expressions with the vocabulary of Hindutva.

Is the one who did not send bricks in the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign a Hindu or not? Is the one who did not celebrate the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 a Hindu or not? Is the one who does not chant Jai Shri Ram a Hindu or not? Is the one who does not sing a song insulting Muslims in a religious procession a Hindu or not? Is the one who does not hate Muslims a Hindu or not? Is the one who does not vote for the BJP a Hindu or not?

Not just the Hindus of Ayodhya, but Hindus from all over India have told the BJP that they are Hindus but not Hindutvawadis by not voting for it this time. The BJP cannot believe this, but it is the truth.

(The writer teaches at Delhi University. He tweets @Apoorvanand__. This is an opinion article and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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