I proudly assert my inalienable, indivisible, immutable, and inexorable constitutional right to be a practicing Hindu. Yet, seeing the conduct of E Ahmed, Union Minister of State for Railways, at a recent public function organised by the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chennai, I am constrained to raise these questions.
Are we living in Islamic Pakistan? Are we living in Islamic Bangladesh? Or are we living in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan? Let me move from this macrocosm to the microcosm. Are we living in the Muslim-majority Malappuram District of Kerala, rightly described by some journalists as a mini-Pakistan in India?
I am raising these issues because the Union Minister of State for Railways, Ahmed who recently participated at a public seminar on ‘Status of Infrastructure’, organised by the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chennai refused to light the kuthuvilakku as a traditional and well-established part of the inaugural ceremony. The Union Minister caught the other dignitaries and the organisers of the function off guard when he declined to accept the candle offered to him to light the kuthuvilakku on the podium. It is reliably understood that one of the organisers told the Press that the Minister refused to light the lamp because it is an un-Islamic action. It is understood that the Minister told some of the helpless and totally clueless organisers; “The Muslim community does not light lamps. It is against Shariah, the code which governs Islam.”
I understand that some time back, PK Kunhalikutty, a Muslim League leader who was Kerala’s Industries Minister, courted controversy when he refused to light the lamp while inaugurating a State function at Thiruvananthapuram. The famous playback singer K J Yesudas who was also one of the guests at the same function, walked out protesting against it.
The Cheraman Mosque, Kodungallur in Kerala has an ancient oil lamp which always burns and which is believed to be more than a thousand years old.Every day people of all religions bring oil for the lamp as offering. This is one of the few mosques in Kerala which allow entry for people of other religions. In recent years, the mosque has observed vidyarambham, a Hindu initiation ritual marking the beginning of a child’s learning. I am mentioning this so that Union Minister E Ahmed can use his authority for getting a fatwa issued against the managers of this ancient Mosque for violating the tenets of Islam!!
The anti-Hindu ways of Ahmed were very well known in Kerala even before he became the Union Minister of State for Railways. After becoming the Union Minister of State for Railways, he is functioning like a Mughal chieftain. Many organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have already publicly condemned this Hindu-hating Minister for having issued instructions to Railways officers not to do ‘Ganesha Puja’, breaking of coconut, etc before starting of new trains, inauguration of tracks, bridges, etc. He has banned lighting of traditional oil lamps during inaugurations. Likewise, garlanding of trains, anointing them with sandal paste, sindoor, etc. have also been banned. Railway stations have been discouraged against doing puja to electronic panels etc. during ‘Vijayadashami’ and ‘Durga Puja’.
Finally, he has ordered the closure of temples in Railway compounds and is planning their demolition. This anti-Hindu move of Ahmed has caused deep religious resentment and intense anger among the 25 lakh strong railway staff and Hindus at large. I am presenting below the shining symbols of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma which have been deliberately denigrated by Ahmed!!
While crores are being spent on ‘Haj’ even basic amenities are not being provided to the eight crore plus Sabarimala pilgrims, by the Indian Railways. These Hindu pilgrim are treated as stateless persons by the Ministry of Railways! VHP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan has described this anti-Hindu attitude of this despicable anti-Hindu Union Minister as a threat and challenge to Hinduism. He has rightly charged E Ahmed of communalising a national asset like Railways. He called for immediate restoration of the withdrawn ancient Indian customs and traditions, failing which RSS and VHP will launch nationwide massive agitations. I spoke to a very important VHP leader from Kerala to know more about the blatantly anti-Hindu ways of E Ahmed. He said: “What more can be expected from E Ahmed who is allegedly close to a jehadi suspect in the Bengaluru blasts and who is hiding in Gulf, thanks to Ahmed and the UPA Government!”
Seeing the conduct and opposition of this Union Minister to the lighting of kuthuvilakku at a public function in Chennai, I am reminded of the savage manner in which the Talibans of Afghanistan destroyed the two 6th century statues of standing Buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of Central Afghanistan.