My roots lie in my ancestral village located in South Haryana. In whichever city I reside, a flash of memories of its green fields, canopies of trees, chirping of sparrows, synchronized screams of peacocks, my grandmother feeding and caressing cows and buffalos have always evoked a magically comforting effect on me. Whenever I make phone call or video call to my family members in village, if I hear the scream of peacock in background, I feel elated. On the late evening of 5th Aug when I made a video call to my 17 year old cousin residing in my village, I could see a several glowing Diyas (earthen lamp) in his house. I asked him the reason for lighting the diyas, he innocently replied “Today Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan is there” and every house in the village is lighting at least one diya.” He asked me how many diyas I had lit, one or five?
His innocent question took my attention away from the call and made me ponder. I knew very well about Bhoomi Poojan on 5th August. Here in my flat at Bangalore, I have been watching the News channels debating endlessly about issues such as whether it is appropriate to conduct Bhoomi poojan amid Covid -19, Muharat in Rahu kal, who is there and who should be on invitee list, grandness of the Pujan, colour of clothes of Ram Lalla, secular fabric of country, Whether ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is intimidating to Muslims. I disconnected the call and wondered that in this era of 24 Hours of news channels, live debates, questioning and cross-questioning, we are getting absorbed in unnecessary commotion and distancing ourselves from simplistic and obvious reception of auspicious event like the present event being done in my village.
My mind took me to nostalgic trip down memory lane where I could feel the smell of soil my village. In my childhood, the trend of going on vacation to new cities was totally unheard of. For us summer vacations meant visiting my father’s village or my mother’s village, for which we eagerly awaited whole year. Spending time with my grandmother was the best part of vacations even better then break from studies. Every time I met her, I touched her feet and greeted her with “Ram Ram”, to which she always replied back “Ram Ram Beta”. This is the way everybody greets there.
I remember walking with her in the streets of village and enthusiastically greeting each elderly woman met on the way with “Ram Ram Maa ji” and elderly Man with “Ram Ram Baba”. I remember how she related everything to Ram. She used to tell bedtime stories and when there was some incidence of Miracle in the plot of story, she attributed it to Ram. She thanked Ram for good rains and crop with her folded hands pointing towards the sky and saying “Ram Kripa”(Ram’s blessings). If rains were less, she used to pray “Ram Kripa Karo” (Ram please bless). If any person got appointed in Govt. job in the neighborhood she used to say “Ram ki Kripa hui uss par” (Ram blessed him). She used to take me to the village temple for Pooja where the Poojari of temple chanted “Siya-Ram, Siya-Ram, Jai Jai Ram” and each tile of temple wall had Sita-Ram written on it.
Once on the way back to home from temple she explained to me how in village most parents chose name for their kids with Ram in it like Ram Swarup, Ram Chandra, Daya Ram, Ram Kishan, Ramfal etc. so that they can recite Ram name while calling the kid as excruciating works involving their agricultural fields and cattle cattle would not leave tem much time for Bajan and Kirtan. Every Diwali, she would not leave any corner of house without a lighted up Diya. This is the not story only of my grandmother or only of my village but of every grandmother and every village of that region.
Close relatives of my father and mother resides in various villages of Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Western UP. I visited them on the occasion of various family functions, marriage ceremonies, vacations ; I have never found a single village where “Ram Ram” is not way of greeting and Ram is not engrained in daily life, events of life whether good or bad.
Ram resides in the heart and soul of our country and Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan is indeed a great and auspicious event which needs to be celebrated. Every year whole India celebrates Diwali on Amavsya day of Karthik masa, when Ram returned to Ayodhya after completing Vanvasa of 14 years. But on 5th Aug 2020 Ram Lalla returned to his rightful abode after Vanvasa of more than 500 years that is a special Diwali which is bigger than what all of us celebrate annually.
Ram Mandir has been a hot political issue since decades but should that reduce the glory of this auspicious day? If we speak in political terms, nobody can deny the fact that no govt., whatever may be the reason, could pull out the Ram Mandir out of legal labyrinth in last 70 years. It is correct, Honorable Supreme court gave the judgment in the favor of Ram Mandir but due credit should also go to Modi Led BJP govt. which pursued the case in apex court,with the genuine intent of solving it, till its conclusion and not to keep it hanging like previos governments did.
At this august moment, if grateful citizens of India are rightly thanking Modi for paving the path for Bhoomi Poojan ; the opposition parties, blinded by hatred for Modi, should not demean the importance of Ram in our life by questioning the requirement of Ram Mandir . For those, who are unable to access and admit the contribution of Modi led BJP govt. in making Ram Mandir Bhoomi Poojan possible, I have few questions. Had it been UPA or any govt. other than BJP at centre, would Bhoomi Pujan have been possible even after Honorable Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in favor of Mandir? Had it been Samajwadi govt. in UP, would the Bhoomi Pujan be possible even after Honorable Supreme Court ruling? Were it not for the 4 more years of Modi government’s tenure left, would we have any hope of completion of Ram Mandir construction even after seeing Bhoomi Pujan? I think answer to these questions will be “NO”.
As I was getting lost in the memories of my village with my phone lying near my pillow, a message alert ring on Whatsapp brought me back to my senses. I checked, my cousin had sent me a Picture of a glowing diya placed near the matka (earthen pot) on a rectangular platform in the centre of courtyard of house.
I do not know what guided me at that time, I started searching for the diyas used on last Diwali as I knew my mother, who is currently out of town, would have definitely kept them somewhere in the house. Finally I got diyas stacked between the two flowerpots in the balcony. I took five of them, filled with oil, lighted up at the entrance of my flat. I could not stop myself clicking a picture of diyas and sending it with a smiley and a caption “Ram Ram” under it to my cousin in village.
I wished to tell him to show that photo to grandmother and say “Ram Ram” loudly near to her ear on my behalf as her hearing capacity was reduced. I knew seeing glowing diyas at the entrance of my flat and receiving my “Ram Ram” would have made her extremely happy. But it was a mere wishful thinking; I could not tell him so because suddenly reality dawned on me and tears started rolling down the cheeks. She had passed away in February this after a brief illness. I still regret I could not make it to my village for attending her last rites which involved chanting of “Ram Nam Satya Hai”.