August 5, 2020, is a “historic day” for the believers of a particular religion of India. Ram Mandir’s foundation was established in Ayodhya, the temple town of India, by none other than our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a grand ceremony. Modi returned to Ayodhya 29 years after his last visit to attend the ceremony which had to take place even amid a dreadful pandemic with over 50,000 new infections every day. The PM laid the foundation of brick weighing 40kg, totally of silver. As per today’s rates, the price of a 40kg silver brick is over Rs 28 lakh. Perhaps beyond the cost of the brick, For many, this is another attack on the country’s secular identity. However, this is the not the first time BJP’s political agenda is questioned.
Here are the 7 times BJP’s actions are questioned citing religious motivation
1. Educational reforms
Many alleged in the name of reducing the burden of curriculum, certain chapters on Indian nationalism are proposed to be dropped from textbooks. These chapters contain basic lessons about federalism, citizenship, nationalism, secularism, human rights, legal aid and local self-government etc. This is nothing new agenda of the Centre. The RSS-dictated human resource started with “Bhartiykaran” of education by introducing disciplines like astrology and paurahitya when the BJP first came to power in 1998. There was a huge debate in the Rajya Sabha over the saffron party’s alleged attempts to remove Rabindranath Tagore’s thoughts on nationalism or biography of Muslim artist MF Hussain from NCERT books.
2. Revocation of J&K special status
The Modi government was credited for alienating the Kashmiris from the rest of India by revoking two constitutional provisions, Article 370 and Article 35A that give the state a host of special rights.
"If Kashmiris had been treated with respect, would the country be desperately scouring the world for weaponry in the midst of a pandemic or building hospitals and helping its economy?"https://t.co/pKSXSdgt1T
— The Wire (@thewire_in) August 5, 2020
The decision of revoking these two constitutional provisions was announced by the Centre on August 5, 2019. Therefore, some reports suggest that laying the foundation stone of Hindu temple at the site of Babri Masjid on the anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 shows the very mindset of the Centre: Hindutva politics over the welfare of people irrespective of their religious identities.
3. Introduction of the Citizenship Act
The Act was passed by Parliament in December 2019. For many, it was a trick of the Centre so that mainly Hindus could figure in the National Population Registry plan and not others. The Act allows for fast track citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains or Buddhists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh if they came to India before December 31, 2014. The criticizers of the act see how a particular community has been kept outside the Act’s purview.
4. The occurrence of communal violence
The divisive Hindu-first agenda of Modi only accelerated as Modi 2.0 term began. The New York Times once pointed out, “Hindu lynch mobs began to pop up across the landscape, killing Muslims and lower-caste people suspected of slaughtering cows, a sacred animal under Hinduism.
Most often, the mobs have gotten away with it.” As per the NY Times report, majority of Indian activists agree that society now, under Modi’s leadership, has become divided between Hindus and Muslims, upper and lower castes and men and women. We have seen how hate speech began to proliferate and Internet trolls to shut down critics for their opinions.
As we deal with the Corona crisis, a reminder that there is still no accountability and justice for those who lost their lives in the Delhi pogrom. That the ministers who incited the mobs with their hate speech continue to rule us.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 16, 2020
5. Change of Hindu names of sites
Without getting into the debate of name change of .#Allahabad to #Prayagraj, pertinent questions are whether name changing #BJP govts will not promote Gundaraj any more or are trains on time at #DeenDayal station or why has #Gurugram regressed from #Gurgaon rather than progress?
— Ashish Dua (@ashishdua_INC) October 16, 2018
6. Role of RSS in Atmanirbhar plan
Modi announced the Atmanirbhar plan on India’s 49th day of lockdown. The PM said that the very idea of an atmanirbhar Bharat was a product of age-old sanskriti or culture with its roots in Hindu religious scriptures such as the Vedas and Shastras. A report suggests, though the plan was initiated as a campaign to boost local manufacturing, Modi supported his alma mater RSS that had talked up the same self-reliance model just few weeks before his announcement. Many doubted if the plan was actually meant to develop the shattered Indian economy post-Covid or just a means to promote RSS’s ideology. According to another report, on May 6, Dattatreya Hosabale, joint general-secretary, of the RSS, held an interaction with foreign journalists. Hosabale said a “new model” of socio-economic order was the need of the hour and this model should be “based on self-reliance and swadeshi ideas.”
7. Finally, Ram Mandir’s establishment
Establishing Ram Mandir’s foundation is another addition to this list.
Caught a quiet moment by the banks of the Saryu. And thought: I hope this moment in time can also become about #rebuilding faith in the deepest sense of the word. Our ideological polarities cannot define us. #Ayodhya pic.twitter.com/t3A0WKNKb7
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 6, 2020
Demolition Men Do Not Build Nations, They Destroy Them
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) August 5, 2020