India Needs ‘Hey Ram’ Voices to Preserve Idea of Tolerant, Progressive, and Pluralistic India
By Rajendra Dichpally (New Jersey, USA)
The 2024 election will essentially be about two points. One will answer every query with ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and the other will say ‘Hey Ram’ to every concern facing the country and the idea of India.
Mahatma Gandhi was the biggest follower of Lord Ram. He started his morning prayer with a Ram Bhajan. He also died with Lord Ram’s name on his lips even as the assassin’s bullets fell him.
The country needs to move away from religion and religious fanatics who are stunting the country’s progress. The Modi-led BJP Government and RSS have for a long time now encashed the name of Lord Ram for political gains. They have relentlessly projected themselves as the sole defenders of Hinduism. Our great country which was built on the sacrifices of many people of different ethnic backgrounds, various faiths, and numerous beliefs can never afford to be called a nation of one religion. This is not the idea of India that was built and nurtured by our founding fathers.
The economy of today’s India is moving at a moderate 4 percent growth compared to almost 8 percent in 2013. This needs to change if we want India to become a developed country. Jai Shree Ram or continuing to build temples will not help the country and its people.
Unemployment is at a record 7.5 at present and continues to rise. This issue needs immediate attention. The number of unemployed graduates has peaked. This is not good for the society and the country. The nation has to focus on this burning issue. Our country should remember that religious extremism is not going to result in jobs. Fanaticism will only lead to fissures.
The inflation and cost of living are at an all-time high making it very difficult for the middle class and almost impossible for the downtrodden to live a life of dignity. This concern needs to be addressed immediately.
The message of unity, peace, and universal brotherhood has to be conveyed by the top leadership. Unfortunately, this is not happening. The PM has the time to visit all religious places and convey political messages clothed in religious sermons but does not have the inclination or the time to visit Manipur which has been torn asunder by riots. It is clear that for him religion is a mere ruse to gain political advantage while humanity as a value is something he cares two hoots about.
In stark contrast is the example of Rahul Gandhi who has been traversing the length and breadth of the country with his powerful message of Unity and universal brotherhood during his historic Bharat Jodo Yatra. This is what a leader needs to do! He should create a fabric of equality and fraternity by reaching out to the ordinary citizen.
The institutions that were built and nurtured are being trampled and compromised. One voice resonates with Jai Shree Ram when such acts are being perpetuated and the other voice meekly utters ‘Hey Ram’ to this colossal destruction of institutions and the idea of India.
Demonetisation destroyed the rural and unorganized economy and there was no major black money recovered. This is despite the Prime Minister saying that he will be accountable and responsible if a humongous amount of cash is not recovered in 6 months. He and his govt failed on this count and should be held responsible for destroying the unorganized rural sector that has collapsed due to the sudden and unplanned implementation of demonetization.
The farmer’s agitation was another issue that was badly handled by the Modi government. Today, the farmers are in great distress due to the lack of minimum price promised by the Government for their produce. No nation can afford to ill-treat and ignore its farmers who are the backbone of any country, especially a rural-based country like India. Taking Lord Ram’s name will not help alleviate the pain and distress of this section of the people.
The handling of the Kashmir issue is another massive failure of the Modi Government. Removing Article 370 without involving the stakeholders (people of Kashmir) is a colossal fiasco for the government and this is reflected in the atmosphere in the valley which has worsened. The election process in several areas has been stalled due to this issue which shows the incompetence and myopic attitude of the Modi Government in not taking the actual stakeholders into confidence before removing Article 370.
The foreign policy of the country has failed. The Chinese have again occupied huge tracts of land at our borders. Even a BJP MP – Subramanium Swamy acknowledges that this is a fact, yet we never hear the Prime Minister say a word about this or accept the truth. India does not have good relations as we had in earlier times with most of its neighbors. We exist in an ambiance of mistrust and lack of transparency. India’s relations with the USA and other developed countries have only worsened and this is a major issue that will affect the country’s economy and its people. Yet we continue to resonate and hear only ‘Jai Shree Ram? The voice that should be heard louder is ‘Hey Ram’ and should reflect the concern about the state in which our great country has been enmeshed in.
I would like to conclude by saying that it is time for the voice of ‘Hey Ram’ to unite, protect, and preserve the idea and fight for a country that was built on the sacrifices of millions of people belonging to different ideologies and ideas.
I hope the voices of ‘Hey Ram’ will come together and usher in a renaissance. They will create a new awakening and fight to protect and preserve the idea of India.
I belong to one of the voices of ‘Hey Ram’ and will do my best to fight for a just cause in the ensuing elections of 2024. It will be my earnest endeavor to help in recreating an India that is tolerant, progressive, pluralistic, and above all humane.