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PM Modi emphasizes pluralistic and secular ethos of lord Ram’s legacy

As the country witnessed an emotionally charged and historical moment with the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of the upcoming Ram Lala temple at Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded the whole country of the pluralistic and secular ethos of lord Ram.

Giving a befitting reply to the so called custodians of secularism who view the building of Ram temple in Ayodhya as a set back to the secular ethos of the Constitution, PM Modi highlighted how lord Ram and Ramayana have always been a part of the country’s diverse linguistic traditions.

He talked about many versions of Ramayana in various regional languages of India such as Kamb Ramayan in Tamil, Raghunath and Ranganath Ramayana in Telugu, Kumdendu Ramayana in Kannada, Ramcharitam in Malayalam, Ramavatar Charit in Kashmir, Krittvas Ramayana in Bangla, etc.

Prime Minister Modi emphasized that manifestations of lord Ram might vary in different versions of Ramayana but the universal legacy of lord Ram, the universal principles which he embodies connects all these through a single binding thread. Lord Ram then becomes a metaphor for the pluralistic ethos of India itself. He sets an example both for the private lives of citizens of India as well as for the progress of the Indian nation state at a public level.

He also spoke of the different versions of Ramayana across the world, for example the strong tradition of Ramayana in nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Even in countries like Iran and China, one can find some kinds of references to lord Ram’s story from Ramayana. Then, Prime Minister referred to the strong tradition of Ramayana in neighboring countries of Sri Lanka and Nepal.

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Concluding his speech, the PM emphasized that just as the legacy of lord Ram still lives in different parts of the world, he hopes that the soon to be build Ram temple would become a symbol of India’s culture and value system to the whole world.

The left liberal brigade would probably be a bit disappointed after listening to PM’s speech on the occasion. Because, they didn’t quite get any excuse, they couldn’t find any loophole in Prime Minister’s speech which they can hold onto and criticize the PM and the government of being intolerant, communal, etc.

The Prime Minister, on the contrary, has made lord Ram an international icon. His wonderful speech dwelling at length on the legacy of Ramayana across different states and the world leaves no scope for the left liberals to launch a critique of the upcoming Ram temple on grounds of orthodoxy and parochialism.

Rather, the interesting insight that Prime Minister Modi has given in the international aspect of Ramayana opens up new and exciting possibilities for further research into the subject. A lot of scholarship on Ramayana that has come from the left liberal side has been motivated in a certain direction. It has been a priori biased against the epic , not really analyzing the epic as a whole but picking up incidents here and there to lash out at it, such as the way Sita’s Agnipariksha episode is repeatedly picked up to claim that Ramayana is misogynistic.

So, it is important to encourage research on Ramayana from different angles such as the exciting traditions of the epic in different countries across the world. Only then can the barrage of motivated literature against the Ramayana be given a befitting reply.

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Rati Agnihotri

Rati Agnihotri

रति अंग्रेज़ी और हिंदी दोनों में कवितायें लिखती हैं. इनका अंग्रेज़ी का पहला कविता संग्रह ‘ द सनसेट सोनाटा’साहित्य अकादमी से प्रकाशित हुआ है. रति की हिंदी कवितायें पाखी, संवदिया, परिकथा, रेतपथ, युद्धरत आम आदमी, हमारा भारत आदि साहित्यिक पत्रिकाओं में प्रकाशित हो चुकी हैं. रति दिल्ली में ‘ मूनवीवर्स – चांद के जुलाहे’ के नाम से एक पोएट्री ग्रुप चलाती हैं जहां कविता को संगीत, चित्रकला आदि विभिन्न विधाओं से जोड़ा जाता है और कविता से जुड़े विभिन्न पहलुओं पर विचार भी होता है. रति चीन के शिनुआ न्यूज़ एजेंसी के नई दिल्ली ब्यूरो में बतौर टी वी न्यूज़ रिपोर्टर कार्य कर चुकी हैं. रति आजकल स्वतंत्र पत्रकार के रूप में कार्यरत हैं. रति ने दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के मिरांडा हाउस कांलेज से अंग्रेज़ी विशेष में बी ए आनर्स किया है और इंग्लैंड के लीड्स विश्वविद्यालय से अंतराष्ट्रीय पत्रकारिता में एम ए किया है.

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