Rajat Sharma

Modi, INDIA alliance and Sanatana Dharma

AKB30 In a hard-hitting attack on the INDIA opposition bloc on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged that the only aim of the alliance was to divide and destroy the several thousand years old Sanatan Dharma. Addressing a public meeting in Bina, Madhya Pradesh, after inaugurating plus laying the foundation of Rs 50,000 crore worth projects, including a petrochemical complex, Modi described INDIA alliance as a ‘ghamandia’ (arrogant) alliance. He said, this alliance has no leader, no policies, nor any issues. It has a hidden agenda, to destroy our ancient Sanatan culture. He said, it’s the call of time to save our Sanatan culture by mobilizing ourselves otherwise, he cautioned, that India could go back to its 1000-years-old past of slavery under foreign rulers. He alleged that opposition leaders, who met in Mumbai recently, have ” only one aim – to attack, defame, divide and destroy our Sanatan culture.” Modi’s attack was triggered by recent remarks made against Sanatan Dharma by DMK ministers, including Chief Minister M K Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi. These remarks have not been strongly criticized by other INDIA alliance parties. Nor did any of the top opposition leaders asked DMK ministers to keep their mouth shut. These attacks on Sanatan Dharma have been made during the last two weeks. Modi was keeping note of all these remarks, and, on Thursday, he hit out. Modi described how social leaders from Ahilyabai Holkar, to Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi considered Sanatana Dharma as the fountain source of their movements against social evils and foreign rule. “We will not tolerate those who are out to uproot Sanatan Dharma. There will be resistance and response”, he said. DMK and other INDIA alliance leaders have been explaining that their fight was against social evils prevalent in Sanatana Dharma, and against casteism and caste based exploitation of Dalits and Adivasis. Modi replied to their remarks by mentioning how Maharshi Valmiki, Mata Shabri and Sant Ravidas fought against social evils. Mata Shabri was a tribal living in forest, and it was Lord Ram who went to her hut and ate the leftover fruit. Modi said, Maharshi Valmiki who wrote the epic Ramayana was a Dalit and an ardent devotee of Lord Ram. Sant Ravidas was a Dalit saint and he is worshipped in temples. Reacting to Modi’s remarks, opposition leaders softened their stand. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s MLA son Priyank Kharge said, Sanatan Dharma does not need a Prime Minister to protect itself, it can protect the faith on its own. Shiv Sena(UBT) leader Arvind Sawant said, it does not behove the Prime Minister to make a big issue about some remarks made by one or two leaders of a party and spoil the atmosphere. Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said, his party opposes the remarks of DMK leaders, but in the same vein, he said, Modi and BJP have no right to speak about Sanatan Dharma, because they have caused harm to the religion. I think, opposition leaders have realized that it will be politically harmful if Sanatan Dharma is made a target, but they took time in realizing their mistake. After Modi’s counter-attack, INDIA alliance leaders have now started to obfuscate issues. It’s a political compulsion for all INDIA alliance parties to remain united, and DMK is the second biggest party in the alliance. They cannot afford to alienate DMK. At the INDIA coordination committee meet on Wednesday in Delhi, a way out was found. The alliance parties sought clarification from DMK leader T R Balu, who was present. Balu told them that Chief Minister M K Stalin has directed all his party leaders not to make any controversial remark about Sanatan Dharma in public. The other alliance parties accepted Balu’s version and the matter was kept at rest. But M K Stalin is yet to issue a formal press statement on this issue. On Thursday itself, another DMK leader Dindigul Leoni questioned the existence of Lord Rama. Leoni asked, “who says Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya? A Ram temple is being built after destroying Babri mosque. This is a big deception on part of pro-Sanatan forces.” In Maharashtra, NCP leader Jitendra Ahwad said, “I was a Hindu, I am a Hindu and I will die a Hindu. But I am not a Sanatani. Who says, Lord Ram was Sanatani?” UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath hit back saying, “it is unfortunate that even today many people living in Bharat are insulting Sanatan Dharma. They are attacking Indian values, ideals and principles. Sanatan is the Rashtra Dharma (national religion) of India. Even the demon king Ravana tried to question the existence of God, and what was the result? Ravana was destroyed by his own ego.” Even a child in India knows that during UPA rule, the Congress had told the Supreme Court that Lord Rama is a mythical character in stories. The Congress had to face severe electoral reverses. Congress leaders in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are now trying their best to tow the Hindutva line. But in their zest to defeat Modi, most of the opposition leaders have now been derailed. They are confused. Rahul Gandhi says, he is a Sanatani, Hinduism is not any religion, nor is there anything called Hindutva. On the other hand, Jitendra Ahwad is saying he is a Hindu, but not a Sanatani. DMK leaders are saying they want to “uproot Sanatan Dharma”. And now, opposition leaders are openly saying that Sanatan Dharma is perennial and immortal. Nobody can finish it off. In this context, I had earlier said that Udhayanidhi Stalin, by abusing Sanatana, has given a weapon in the hands of Narendra Modi. Both Modi and Yogi, in their strong counter-attacks, have brought the opposition on the defensive. The great poet and saint Tulsidas wrote in Ramcharitamanas: जाको प्रभु दारुण दुख देही, ताकी मति पहले हर लेही.. (When the time comes for God to pile up woes on anybody, He first takes away the person’s intelligence). The noted Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar wrote in ‘Rashmi Rathi’, जब नाश मनुज पर छाता है, पहले विवेक मर जाता है, (Whom the god wish to destroy, He first makes him mad). But DMK leaders appear to be reciting that Urdu couplet, हम तो डूबेंगे सनम, पर तुम्हें ले कर डूबेंगे… (I will sink, and I’ll also make you sink with me).

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