Who is the most controversial Hindu god

Controversial structure in India - a temple divides the country

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A Hindu temple is being built on the ruins of a mosque. This is fueling social tensions in the country.

32 seconds. That was how much time Narendra Modi had to lay 40 kilograms of silver as foundation stones in the ground. Because for exactly 32 seconds the stars were good to start the construction of what is probably the most controversial temple in India.

Destruction of the mosque triggers a wave of violence

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The construction of the Rama Temple is an election promise made by the Indian ruling party BJP. And a long-cherished wish of the Hindu nationalists. Shortly after India gained independence, they made Ayodhya a political issue. A statue of the deity Rama was seen inside the said mosque. This, they interpreted, means that this very place, this mosque, must have been the birthplace of the Hindu god.

That and a good portion of rhetoric were enough for the BJP leaders at the time and tens of thousands of radical Hindus to pull Ayodhya in 1992 and demolish the 16th century mosque. They were convinced that it was built on the foundations of an ancient Rama temple. The consequence was violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims across the country.

But the narrative of the Hindu nationalists can hardly be proven archaeologically, says the historian Romila Thapar. «There were probably pieces of wall under the mosque. But these are too thin that they could have carried the weight of a temple. "

In fact, the archaeological findings would be based on assumptions. "There is no conclusive answer as to whether a Hindu temple was at this point," says Thapar.

Explosive court decision

Temple or mosque? The controversy divided the country for decades and dragged on to the present. Last November the Supreme Court had to decide, and the Hindu nationalists were right. Because the place has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of devout Hindus. That is reason enough to have a temple built there.

A highly political decision, says Thapar: "The temple should serve to unite the Hindus." Because Hinduism is a very flexible and versatile religion, with thousands of deities and hundreds of sects. "What Modi and the BJP are trying to construct a type of Hinduism based on Christian or Muslim models: a monolithic religion with a clear founding myth, a central textbook, a Mecca or Jerusalem."

That is why this temple is important to the Hindu nationalists. Because only a uniform, monolithic religion can be used for political purposes.

If you change your view of the past, you also change your view of the present.
Author: Romila ThaparIndian historian

Ayodhya is to become a central pilgrimage site for all Hindus. That is why the BJP is in the process of constructing a narrative around this Rama temple in order to weld the Hindus together. Nothing helps more than a common enemy: in this case Islam.

Modi does not name the culprits by name, but the symbolism is clear: with the construction of the mosque, the Muslim rulers wanted to suppress Rama in the 16th century and thus the Hindus too. This is an unparalleled distortion of history, says the historian Thapar.

The truth is secondary

The Hindu nationalists tried to change the view of the past: "Whoever does that also changes the view of the present." The temple is just an example. The BJP also rewrite history books according to their ideas. "Although the historical facts contradict them, the BJP politicians, starting with the Prime Minister, say that the Hindus have been oppressed for over 1,000 years."

Now the long-awaited Rama Temple is being built. The ideal symbol of a shared history and late satisfaction after the injustice that had befallen the Hindus. With a narrative like this, you can form opinions and get people behind you. Obviously, it doesn't matter whether this story is true.

Echo of the time from 08/05/2020

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  • Comment from Ernst U. Haensler (ErnstU)
    Religion - only ridiculous and socially destructive.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Christophe Bühler ((Bühli))
    History proves that sometimes some are in the majority, sometimes others. Even in Switzerland, many Christian churches were built on pagan temples.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Commentary by Peter König (Vignareale)
    Two or more faiths are highly explosive for a people in this country. Let the Indians and other peoples do it. It doesn't need our interference.
    Agree agree to the comment

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