Letters to the editor

Readers comments: 'We do need a Ram temple in Ayodhya on that very spot, and we will get one'

Readers respond to a letter to Chetan Bhagat published on Scroll.in, on why he is wrong to assert the need for a Ram temple at the disputed site.

Temple tussle

True, we cannot establish that Lord Ram was born at that very spot (“Dear Chetan Bhagat, here’s why we do not need a new Ram temple in Ayodhya”). But the Allahabad High Court and the ASI have established that there was a Hindu temple at this site prior to the construction of a mosque.

You also argue that it is wrong to build a temple at the site of a destroyed heritage structure. But if you will go back 500 years, you will find out that how blood-soaked that heritage was. The 1993 and 2002 massacre seem negligible in comparison to that. So if you had to choose which heritage is nurtured on the basis of genocide, then mathematically, the Ram temple is the choice.

To clarify, I do not support the 1993 or 2002 massacre. But at the same time, one should not forget what started the 2002 killings. It perplexes me when people forget the event that triggered the 2002 riots. Going by the article, it seems unlikely that the author woud have known about Godhra event, so it hurts that he chose to ignore it.

As for his contention that Ayodhya was a Buddhist site earlier, Ruchir Joshi should know that Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu. You will also find out that Buddha, like Brahama, is a non-worshipping entity. And to creare Buddhism as a religion was a political ploy of kings like Ashoka (although it was a very good manoeuvre).

I concur with you that the BJP and the RSS both are raking up the issue for political gains, but we do need a Ram temple in Ayodhya on that very spot, and we will get one. Jai Shri Ram. – Mayank

***

This is a matter concerning faith and religion, both of which are antithetical to reason and logic.

As this is an issue concerning the birthplace of a religious patriarch, let me draw a few parallels. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is believed to be the place where Jesus Christ was resurrected. There is no concrete historical proof of this, but religion is all about belief. Without that, this ancient building would have crumbled.

Also, the court is not talking about whether Ayodhya is the actual birthplace of Ram. That’s a matter of religion and our courts can’t intervene there. The matter that’s sub-judice is whether the mosque was built by pulling down a temple. With regard to this, there is enough proof. So, the debate over whether that was the birthplace of Ram is futile, because that’s a matter of faith.

I am an atheist, but being an atheist does not mean one can start distorting realities. I’m for reason and I earnestly Lord Ram we know him is fictional but that does not change the reality that over a billion people hold him in reverence. And it would be rather unfair to shove our rationalism down the throats of these people, given that they are not the only people believing in fairy tales – people of all religion believe in fiction. – Rakshit

***

I really think you should evaluate this matter once again, with a broad mind, reflecting beliefs that are a little more than just advertisements for Wahhabism.

You think that Hindutva is nothing more than a propaganda of RSS and Hindu groups, while Hinduism describes the real meaning of the religion. First of all Hindutva goes back many more years than you do and was not created in air by some Hindu radicalist group in 19th century. If you want proof, just read the Vedas or the Gita once and find word Hindutva in many places and also its definition.

As for Hinduism, the word was created by some English businessmen who enslaved our country for about 200 years. Be brave enough to see the reality that people are loving Modi and he is doing a great job as prime minister. – Utkarsh Dubey

***

I completely disagree with Chetan Bhagat. India is a secular country, let it remain one. That Lord Ram was born exactly where the Babri Masjid stands can never be proved. Live and let live. – Kanval Mohan

***

I congratulate the writer’s efforts. However, he says: “If we take into account the layers and layers of history upon which we build our current time, the huge interlacing of different sacred geographies, then it is not reasonable to say, unverifiably, that Ram was born in these exact three square metres, all those thousands of years ago.”

It has been a long journey for Hinduism. So, we cannot be accurate about anything when we talk about events of thousands of years ago.

Everything else you say is alright. I respect your views. – Gaurav Pandey

***

This piece really moved me. I’m a Hindu and this is the real Hinduism that every Hindu should practice.

The extremists practicing Hindutva are no different from Islamic fundamentalists. – Sidharath

***

This article is trash and has no logic. I am sure Muslims will command more respect in India if they voluntarily allow the temple to be constructed. Ayodhya is the Mecca of Hindus, destroyed systematically by Mughals, a process encouraged by the British to keep India divided. Let us construct a Ram temple there and end the dispute. – Pradeep Tewari

***

Why should Chetan Bhagat “call out” this government? Do we not have enough such letter writers who are doing so already?

When barbaric Babur demolished the temple, did he spare a thought for the sensibilities of Hindus? No, he did it to humiliate our civilisation. The time has come to right all the wrongs and injustice done over the centuries.

Building the Ram mandir is a vikas of our swabhimaan. Development is not just limited to jobs and infrastructure, it is very much about cultural and civilisational vikas too. Jai Shri Ram! –Sanjay Tripathi

***

I have no problem with this article. You have the freedom to express this view, but my question is, when Muslims plan to build new mosque in Ayodhya, will anyone write article titled “Why muslims do not need a new masjid in Ayodhya”? – Vibha Sampath

***

That was a delicately yet firm piece that spelled out what each Indian’s conscience whispers .
I am grateful to the writer for courageously responding to Chetan Bhagat. Each secular Indian thanks you. – Hitesh Kumar

***

Though I agree with several points in the article, it comes across as highly opinionated without an analyses of what led to the rise of the Hindu right wing. One significant reason for that was the neglect of the majority community by the so-called secular political parties of India.

The only thing they have done in last 60 years is appease Islamic clerics and Islamofascists to win elections. While they reject the Hindu rightwing they openly embrace the Islamic Right.

Had they been truly secular, people may not have had any problem in voting for them them. But given a choice between Hindutvawadis and Islamofascists, people will surely go with the former. As far as the Ram temple is considered, I agree with most of your analysis. – Sushant Anshu

***

This is a beautiful piece and is like music to my Sikh ears. However, is anybody listening? – Yudhvir

***

First of all, I want to clear that I’m not an RSS or BJP bhakt or a Hindutvawadi. I am just another commoner who works to meet his daily needs and has an opinion.

But the significance of a Ram temple on that site in Ayodhya cannot be compared to that of a Ram temple anywhere else. This is the Ramjanambhumi, which has been proven during two excavations carried out by ASI in 1976 and 2003.

As far as forced demolition is concerned, there are still many mosque sites that are believed to have been built upon ancient temples demolished by Mughal emperors. No so-called Hindutvawadi has sought the restoration of temples on those sties. But Ramjanambhumi has a different significance for Hindus, including me. – Gaurav Kumar Pandey

***

I hope you understand why Shankaracharya gifted India with four temples in four corners. Please put the pseudo-secularism aside and open your eyes.

Do you want India to be the next Syria or Iran? For India to be a balanced state, a strong message needs to be sent out across the country, in the form of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Otherwise, we will be busy organising iftar parties and in meantime, there will be a demand for another partition of India. Are you ready for that? – Karn Singh Fouzdar

***

This is clearly a well-thought-out and well written piece. As public personalities, people like Chetan Bhagat have to mind what they say and do as their repercussions could be damaging. Thank you for writing to him and informing him that he should not encourage interests that have already caused a lot of bloodshed.

As humans, it is our moral responsibility to be emphatic to each other first, irrespective of religion or sectarian divides that have been created by vested interests to gain power and money. – Raquelle

***

How can we be so blind in this era of knowledge and evolution? The moment you engage in such debates, you take away from the time you could have spent doing good or working towards the development of the country. Building another temple or mosque won’t help anyone evolve.

Instead, we should focus on more pressing matters like job creation, resource management and the like. Change is inevitable and the sooner we understand this, the better it is. – Syed Danish Anjum

***

What gives Ruchir Joshi the right to declare, on behalf of millions of Hindus, that no Ram Temple is needed on the sight? Where do people like him hide when Owaisi and the like threaten the majority openly? Please wake up before its too late. And stop spreading incorrect facts. – Yogesh

***

I just could not understand how the author could dismiss the fact that India today need’s a Ram temple. In his so-called letter, you does not mention a single fact or public opinion.

Your so-called explanation of why our country is in a dangerous condition is wrong. First of all, the RSS does not belong to Narendra Modi, nor does he hold an official post there. It is an organisation much older than him, and if you would ask any good political analyst he or she would tell you the same.

Also, the term ”Hindu” or “Hind” was coined somewhere around 326 BCE, when Alexander invaded India and came across “Sindhu” river and tributaries. It is actually a Farsi word.

And yes, people do examine Hindu Dharm, please note that it is not a religion. For proof, refer to the Supreme Court verdict on this matter. Also, please give your readers the names of the Buddhists and Adivasi sites that were supposedly destroyed to build temples here. While your at it, please mention the monasteries destroyed in Tibet by China and temples destroyed by Naxals in India.

In your letter you also say that many people have died because of this issue and cite the 1993 blasts as an example. My humble request to you is: do not provide excuses for the actions of terrorists. It is an an insult to those who died in those blasts.

The 2002 Godhra riots were also a horrific time where more than 50 people died because of what? Because they wanted to visit their holy place. This is intolerance. While you were mentioning these incidents please in the same breath mention the countless holy wars that were fought by Christians and Muslims for Jerusalem.

In conclusion, I would just request the editor of Scroll and Ruchir sir to please fact check your articles first. – Raghvendra Singh Chauhan

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.