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Ram Navami or Ravana Navami?

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*Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik

How did we celebrate Ram Navami in India this time? We converted Ram Navami to Ravana Navami. People of one community clashed with another in many cities and villages of the country. Even the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, considered to be the most enlightened and progressive institution in the country attacked each other with sticks and bricks.  According to reports bullets were fired in many cities. Some of the protesters were victims of police excesses. All this happened on the birthday of the soul who was addressed as ‘Imame Hind’ by Allama Iqbal.  Iqbal had in his poem (sheer) said “Hindustan is proud of Ram’s existence. Above everything, I comprehend this land as Imame Hind!! Rama is revered as God and also respected as Maryada Purushottam. But these days what respect we are giving to the Ram? The name of Load Ram is being misused to ignite communal conflagration. The Left, Right, Hindus and Muslims of our country are responsible for inflame communal passion.

It is malodorous, students who religiously observe Ramnavami complaining that meat was cooked and served in the hostel adjoining their pooja pandal. Respecting the sentiments of the devout students, meat dishes should have been cooked somewhere else. If the non-vegetarian students were so particular of eating meat dishes, they could have relished it an hour before or after the worship. But it is obvious; the squabble was neither related to Ram nor to meat!  Petty politics was the prime motive. Among those who favoured non-vegetarian dishes, there were students from Left, Right and Hindu groups.

Non-vegetarian Hindus, to justify themselves,  quotes verses from Bhavabhuti’s ‘Uttarama Charitam’, famous tantrik Matsyendranath, Gorakhnath and from Charvaka’s   stanza “Madya, Manasam, Meenascha, Mudra, Maithumeva cha” and  also from Upanishads. To stress their views, they even dare to misinterpret   the meanings of selected verses from Vedas. It is unfortunate; these misguided lots are never willing to concede any scientific fact or economic reasoning that non-vegetarianism jeopardizes both health and economy.

During the Ramnavami processions in certain cities bombs were hurled, stones were pelted and even bullets were fired in front of temples and mosques. Do you believe true devotees of God or ardent followers of Allah can resort to such nasty, inhuman actions? No way! For a true devotee of God or Allah both are alike and will respect both and will never disrespect or admonish the other. Mode of worship may differ but the truth is unique and universal.

The mode of worship differs according to the place where you live, the time and situation. If everything then there across the globe, then there would not have been so many religions. It is sad; fanatics do not realize this diversity and that is why they transform Ram Navami into Ravana Navami.

A poet has depicted the scenario so well in two lines:

*आए दिन होते हैं, मंदिरों-मस्जिद के झगड़े,*

*दिल में ईंट भरी हैं, लबों पर खुदा होता है।*

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educationalmissions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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