“To the history of the Indian spirit, these three names (Ram, Krishna and Siva) are the truest and the greatest of the entire procession, so far ahead of and looming so large over the others that these appear false and improbable. Their stories are indelibly engraved on the mind of the people, the same as history is after all delibly recorded on stone or metal”. – Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Ram and Krishna and Siva, Essential Lohia -2, p. 217
The attack on ancient Hindu scriptures and civilisation is not new. These days, claimants of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia’s legacy of Bharatiya socialism, are attacking Goswami Tulsidas and his epic work – Ramcharitmanas. From Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party to Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, all Lohiaites are involved in this tirade. Their ‘secularism’ got exposed during the Ramjanmabhoomi movement with their targeting of Ram devotees for the Muslim votes. This renewed vicious attack on Ram and Ramayan in the name of the most influential epic of recent times is a dangerous design. While celebrating Ram Navami and striving for the objective of Ram-Rajya with the reconstruction of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, one must expose these degenerated Lohiaites.
Denigrating, demonising and misrepresenting the Hindu scriptures and ethos were important instruments of colonising Bharatiya minds. On this backdrop, when the social environment was gloomy, and sects and castes became divisive lines, Bhakti tradition and Saintly figures came forward to revitalise the collective psyche. The contribution of Goswami Tulsidas is remarkable in the same league.
Though Sant Tulsidas came from the Vaishnavite tradition, he recited the Ramcharitmanas at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. His entire narration is of Bhagwan Shiva narrating the whole story of Ramayana to Goddess Parvati. It was a revolutionary bridging of Shaiva and Vaishnav traditions. At the same time, a simple recitation of texts in the local Awadhi language allowed people from all castes and sects to follow the path of Bhakti. In the spiritual and social sense, it was a radical move. It revived the tradition of Bhakti and engendered the will to pursue Shakti (strength) for the protection of Dharma. Because of this mixture of Bhakti and Shakti, Ramcharitmanas remained an inspiration in the fight against Islamic onslaught and a source of strength for indentured labourers shipped to distant places like Fiji and Mauritius by the British. In that sense, Ramcharitmanas symbolised reforms, revival and resistance. Then why are Lohiates hell bent on projecting this text of social reformation from a casteist prism?
In the Independent Bharat, the communists, who dominated the academic and intellectual milieu, continued the colonial tradition of misrepresenting Hindu scriptures and beliefs with the Western liberal scholars who claimed to be Indologists. Fortunately, the philosophical tradition of politicians like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya carried forward the legacy of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi that looked at Swaraj beyond mere political Independence. Both Lohia Ji and Deendaya Ji came from different ideological backgrounds yet still hold Bharat’s cultural and spiritual unity sacrosanct. The seminal essay by Dr Lohia titled Ram and Krishna and Siva is a landmark piece in this regard where he does not just consider Ram, Krishna and Shiva as the representation of the Bharatiya spirit in the truest and greatest form but also prays to Bharat Mata for ‘the mind of Shiva, the heart of Krishna and the world and deed of Ram’. The Ramjanmabhoomi movement aspired to regenerate the same spirit for Ram-Rajya. Consolidation of Hindu society and reconstruction of the Shri Ram temple at the birthplace of Prabhu Shri Ram is becoming a reality. Following the casteist, dynastic and corrupt politics, the degenerated followers of Lohia are now negating his legacy and perpetuating the caste-based fragmentation for electoral gains. Consistent attacks on Shri Ram and Ramayan should be seen in this light. With such theatrics, they might get momentary publicity in the age of hypermedia. Eventually, in the land of Ram, Krishna and Shiva, they would become irrelevant with the degenerated form of Lohiaism.