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This week in India: Ram Mandir and Sankranti fever

Updated: May 17

Sankranti/Lohri/Bhogi festival: On Bhogi, people discard old and ruined things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn, people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The ‘cleansing’ includes a cleansing of one of old habits, vices, and attachment to material things, which are symbolically sacrificed in the sacrificial fire. It is also meant to ward off the evil eye.

Ram Mandir -- the fever rises!

Even as many parts of the Western Hemisphere are seeing a deep freeze of sorts, the fever in India shows no signs of abating. All eyes are on the inauguration date of the Ram Mandir, the Much Promised monument, on the 22nd of January. Invites seem to have gone out from none other than the Chief Ministers and the PM, to various political leaders, putting some of them in a major quandary. 

The major opposition parties were in a fix -- should they attend the ceremony and show some sort of allegiance to the Hindu people, or stay away from the ceremony completely, in a show of allegiance to the other communities in India, on who they depend for their vote bank?

Well well... it seems so dubious. Is the vote bank merely based on the fact that you are pitying one community against the other? Why does it need to be? 

Even though the Ram mandir has been contentious for ages, as it is purported to have been demolished by Babur, a Mughal King who invaded India long ago and destroyed many temples, isn’t it about time that people buried the hatchet and came together in a show of solidarity and peace?

Isn’t it the modern 21st century, where science and technology are at the forefront, not the age old enmities based on religion? So, why not join and celebrate together, live in harmony here on? 

The Ram Mandir can be an occasion for all people to celebrate. Just as we see in the movie, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, Hindus, Muslims and Christians come together and defeat the villains, i.e killers, we can see the emergence of India as a major superpower, further strengthened when all communities come together.

On the same note, this week was Sankranti in India. The day of the summer solstice, when many communities celebrate the end of winter and the onset of spring. They may celebrate in different ways: through Pongal, Sankranti, and Lohri with cattle decorations, Gubbamma rangoli, kite flying, til sweets, dance, weight lifting competitions, and exchange of sweets .

And why not, for seasons don’t differentiate between people, and neither does nature. So why not, we mark the inauguration of the Temple as a joyful celebration of the spring that is to come in India, as a cultural monument -- putting differences aside, and live joyfully together?

Kite flying- On the occasion of Sankranti /Uttarayan in Gujarat

Decorating cattle and worshipping them - From Maharashtra

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