“Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.
— Mark Twain
Such was the perception of the man about Varanasi, who is also considered the ‘Father of American Literature’. But today we have the people critiquing the most recent intervention of the MP of Kashi/Varanasi as a threat to secularism. Same are the people who are taking inspiration from American ethos to talk about ideas like liberalism, secularism, feminism, etc., but they refuse to learn from the ‘Father of American Literature.’ What an irony?
Does it affect the Secularism of Bharat?
Many have claimed that although the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor is not much of a problem, why should it come at the cost of tax-payers’ money and why should the PM of the Republic of India be part of the inaugural ceremony so grandly. Well, then one needs to first look into the fact that which country those tax-payers belong to and whose PM Narendra Modi is? The answer comes only from Article-1 of the Constitution. It states: India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. The territory of India shall consist of: The territories of the States, the Union territories, and any territory that may be acquired in the future.
What else is this Bharat if not the civilisational ethos of Hindu civilisation? And what else can represent Bharat, the Rig Vaidik tribe, than Kashi? Divodāsa was the Bharata King whose son Sudas had defeated the tribes in “Battle of Ten Kings” who migrated to North-West (Persia) after defeat, later forming Zoroastrianism (The works of Shrikant Talegeri can be referred to for more details).
He was the grandson of Bhagwan Dhanvantari. We also have records that state that there was a Raja of Kashi surnamed Dhanvantari as per Rig Veda 10.179.2.
Indirectly the Root of Article-1 comes from Kashi
Since Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India as defined by the Constitution of India then certainly it was the duty of the Prime Minister to attend the event as grandly as he could.
Now, the people who whine about “Secularism”, perhaps seem to have no clarity about “Secularism.” Secularism can be broadly classified into three forms as below:
- “True Secularism”, which is a primitive concept and comes from the Protestant Movement of Martin Luther King who saw the separation of “Church” and “State” based on the biblical concept of “Two Kingdoms.” But while he asked for separation of state he stated as below:
- God has therefore ordained two regiment(s): the spiritual which by the Holy Spirit produces Christians and pious folk under Christ, and the secular which restrains un-Christian and evil folks so that they are obliged to keep outward peace, albeit by no merit of their own.
- The form of secularism in which “Religion” is completely away and perhaps only in private.
- The third form of secularism is where “all religions are required to be treated equally.”
In that case, people who keep yelling “True Secularism” need to be enforced, are grossly mistaken because, by Martin Luther’s logic, the State is supposed to control un-Hindu folks. The people who want a merger of the second and third ideas of secularism need to go back to Savarkar, and Hindu Mahasabha. Not many would know about the Constitution drafted by them for “Free Hindustan” which was clear of “no discrimination” based on religion, unlike our current Constitution. This would surprise most but then they certainly need to just type “Free Hindustan Constitution” in Google and then read the document.
The current Constitution is highly discriminatory, as though the Article-25 gives you the “right to propagate your religion,” it can’t go well with Hindus and for them, proselytisation has never been the way. The “Anti-Conversion Law” promises to bring balance but again this appears like a thorn in the throat of those who keep singing the song of “secularism” day in and day out.
When KT Shah wanted the addition of the word “secular”, Dr Ambedkar had rejected it mentioning it is an inherent part of the “culture.” What that “culture” was if not the one of the Hindu civilisation whose pivot lies in Kashi.
Did it not destroy the Heritage?
There have also been claims that this project of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor has destroyed the heritage-based character of the place. This argument is highly baseless. If one speaks to the inhabitants of the city they will know how jubilant and liberated they feel after the project. My memory of going to Kashi only takes me to the stinking fifteen feet wide corridors gloomy, devoid of the reach of Surya Devta. In Hindu civilisation, Vastu Shastra has always emphasised the importance of Sun rays. Those ghettos which led one to the Mandir had nothing spiritual or dharmic in them.
An urban designer or an architect would tell you that a fifteen feet wide corridor can only take the load of five hundred people for two hours in case of an emergency exit. The place was vulnerable and lacked the vector of leading to a Dharma Kshetra.
The most amazing part of the design is the link between the Ganga and the Mandir. This was the most crucial aspect of the place which had got lost due to the years of construction on encroachments. Now the corridor enables a bhakt to reach the entrance of the “Mandir Parisar” from any of Varanasi’s ghats.
The architect of the project, who has virtually been a Guru for me in the profession once quoted PM. In his words, the PM had said, “The corridor should be a link between the Ganga and the temple.”
In my opinion, this project (Kashi Vishwanath Corridor) shall have three names embedded in golden letters forever in Bharatiya history and they are architect Bimal Patel, PM Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Certainly, this project would be a thorn in the throat of some as this has been one of the most fantabulous jobs done by any PM of India, that is Bharat.