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'Lord Ram Will Protect The Constitution'

February 08, 2024 16:29 IST
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'Rama is Lord God of maryada. Today's maryada is the Constitution.'

IMAGE: A glimpse of the Ram Lalla idol at the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Photograph: ANI Photo

"The Congress is in a crucial, challenging, moment. If we negotiate this challenge deftly, we will regain the glory of old. If we don't, we will endure a little longer. Like an out of form batsman, we have to work on our basics. Like Rahulji, we all have to connect with the masses, find solutions to their problems and bring more people into the fold," says former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.

"We believe in the common sese of the Indian people," he tells's Archana Masih in the concluding part of the interview in Dehradun.


The Ram temple in Ayodhya and now passage of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in your state will be important issues in the Lok Sabha election, how do you think the Congress and INDIA alliance will counter Mr Modi?

Cultural nationalism is a worldwide phenomenon. Donald Trump propagated it in America; similarly, Russia, China, Turkey, Italy have seen right of centre governments in power based on monoplositic ideas. Modi-ism is the Indian extension of such ideas. USA and Britain came out of this and rejected Trump and Boris Johnson.

By making Rishi Sunak, a person of Indian origin prime minister, Britain gave the message that the UK is for everyone. There was a close fight in Turkey which is indicative that people want to return to the original value system.

India will also return to its old values, its old value system.

There is a difference between Sanatan Dharma and Hindutva. Sanatan Dharma is generous and inclusive, believes in Sarv Dharm Sambhav and Vasudeva Kutumbakam. Hindus believe in Sanatan Dharma, but there is a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva.

Today cultural nationalism is being crafted around a sort of Hindutva which is against pluralism when India is a pluralistic society. It is the coming together of different cultures, for example Dravidian, various cultures of the North East and many states that have different cultural strains.

I believe originality will prevail. Sanatan Dharma is originality. A culturally pluralistic India is a reality. The day cultural pluralism prevails, Modi's hold will decline.

I hope that this situation comes soon. If India's luck is good, then this day will come soon, and if India has to face these dark times for a longer time -- then the same situation will be extended a little longer.

IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi resumes his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from Simdega, Odisha, February 6, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Hasn't the Ram temple cemented the prime minister's position and will bring him back to power?

Rama is Lord God of maryada -- correctness and propriety. Today's maryada is the Constitution. Rama will protect the Constitution. He sacrificed everything for maryada and that is why he is called Maryada Purshottam.

I am not questioning their faith in Ram, we too have faith in Ram. Ram is the symbol of everyone's faith. But people's understanding of Ram is different -- they [the BJP] want to use Ram for politics and to divide people.

On the other hand, we are the Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram Patit Pavan Sita Ram, Hey Ram and Sita Ram saying people. They say Jai Shri Ram, we say Maryada Purshottam Shri Ramchandra ki jai.

They have made Ram a convenience and we have made him our faith. There is a difference in our understanding of Ram and we are trying to bring our understanding of Ram before the people, while they are presenting theirs. Our hope is that truth will prevail.

The Congress is doing the right interpretation and appreciation of Ram while they are using Ram for selfish gains.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at the pran pratishtha ceremony in Ayodhya, January 22, 2024. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

What impact is the inauguration of the Ram temple going to have on the election?

Ati sarvata varjayet -- excess of anything is bad. The elections are upon us and Shri Narendra Modi is not only PM, but lead campaigner of the BJP and he was carrying out the duties of the leading priest at the pran pratishtha. Mohan Bhagwat (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak) was next to him.

In doing so, they did the BJP-fication of the pran pratishtha, whereas it could have been done by the honourable President, Modiji, Yogiji (Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath) could have represented the ruling party. The Opposition could be represented by the Congress or Akhilesh Yadav [the Samajwadi Party president].

Wasn't having all five members from the Sangh at the pran pratishtha an extreme? They created a situation and ensured that the Opposition doesn't attend.

We are followers of Ram and the day the Ram-like population understands this, they will shoot their electoral arrow to bring down the BJP government.

IMAGE: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami greets people as they shower flower petals on him and burst crackers in Dehradun, February 7, 2024, after the state assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024 Bill. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

What do you see as the future of secularism?

There is no religion as secular as Sanatan Dharma. It assimilated, adopted the good and kept moving forward.

Sarv Dharm Sambhav and Vasudeva Iutumbakam -- there is no other religion that has given such principles to the world.

IMAGE: Harish Rawat. Photograph: Seema Pant for

As a senior Congress leader who has spent nearly five decades with the party, do you feel this is the Congress' worst moment?

It is a crucial, challenging, moment. I won't call it a difficult moment. If we negotiate this challenge deftly, we will regain the Congress glory of old. If we don't, we will endure a little longer.

We believe in the common sense of the Indian people. Like an out of form batsman, we have to work on our basics. Like Rahulji, we all have to connect with the people, find solutions to their problems and bring more people into the fold.

Not a day goes by when I am not at a public function. All Congress members have to do this in order to negotiate this challenge.

In 2024 our alliance will come to power.

If Modi returns in 2024 as he is expected to?

Why will he return? Even he does return, we will fulfil the dharma of the Opposition.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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