kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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In the name of Ram

Posted on by Imran

Jyoti Punwani revisits the dark times during which the Hindu right-wing transformed Ram from the Ideal Man into Ram the Aggressor. `Allah o Akbar’ or ‘God is Great’, is the phrase we hear over the azaan everyday, sometimes sung incredibly melodiously, at other times out of tune and jarring. It is also a traditional war cry of Muslims. `Jai Siya (Sita) Ram’ is a phrase used as a greeting in some parts of India; it is mostly used as a devotional chant, and forms part of many hymns. What is `Jai Sri Ram’? That too is a devotional chant, part of many hymns. But this phrase acquired a totally different colour from the mid-1980s onwards.  It was adopted by the BJP as its war cry, used to rally its followers in its campaign to destroy the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and build a Ram temple in its place, a campaign now dormant, but revived every time there’s an election. When the campaign was at its peak, this phrase was used in many ways, none of them devotional: a rallying call against Muslims who naturally opposed the BJP plan; a victory slogan shouted at intervals when BJP/VHP/RSS leaders  made their incendiary speeches; a message painted on walls to announce the BJP’s presence.  Muslims were forced by BJP supporters – and the police — to say ‘Jai Sri Ram’; it became a password during the many communal riots set off by this … Continue reading

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