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Thackeray lambastes BJP on price rise, asks to fulfill Ram Temple’s promise

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Newsgram staff writer

Mumbai:  Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday, lashed out at BJP for failing to curb rising food prices and warned that the price hike would trigger a movement that would topple the government.

He also attacked BJP for its unfulfilled promises to construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya, while justifying his party’s action in preventing Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali from performing in Maharashtra.

Addressing the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park here, Thackeray demanded to know why the runaway inflation could not be controlled and why prices of onions and pulses cannot be checked.

“We are not able to face the people because of this inflation,” said Thackeray, whose Shiv Sena is a junior ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra.

“They (BJP) must remember that governments (in the past) have fallen because of price rise of onions. Any more price rise, the government can be in danger,” he warned.

Referring to a TV debate on cows, Thackeray demanded to know why debates were not taking place on inflation.

He also rapped the BJP on the delay in the Ram Temple coming up in Ayodhya and demanded to declare India as a ‘Hindu nation’ and implementing the uniform civil code.

“They say, temple will be made at the same (disputed) venue, but don’t give a deadline for it… we don’t want Hindus only ringing temple bells, we want Hindus who can fight terror,” he said, as the Shiv Sena entered its 49th year of formation.

Thackeray said the Dadri lynching had led the whole country hanging its head in shame and  not the ink attack on veteran journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni by his party activists.

“Why can’t the people yet identify with the government? What is the need to encourage such things? Tomorrow if (mafia don) Dawood Ibrahim writes a book claiming he is not involved in bomb blasts, should we believe him and allow him to release it full security?” he asked.

On the concert cancellation, he reiterated that when Pakistan is killing Indian soldiers on the borders, why should Ghulam Ali be allowed to sing here.

He also pointed out that since Pakistan declined to accept Eid sweets as wishings from India, then where is the question of maintaining cultural ties with them.

“Why do they get upset whenever we target Pakistan? My speech today is being targeted by enemies (like Pakistan) and even friends. But, we are like this only. We cannot change – take it or leave,” Thackeray declared amidst applause.

On the issue of continuing in power and still attacking BJP, Thackeray said questions are raised on this, even by persons like Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, but the Sena would not unnecessarily bring down the Maharashtra government.

“We have known for long to continue in government. Ultimately, we are bound to the people, not to power,” he claimed.

He also trained guns on union minister VK Singh’s whose remarks about a dog’s stoning while reacting to the tragic death of two Dalit children in Haryana created a huge row, asking why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi come to lay the foundation stone for Ambedkar Memorial here last week. “Why should this drama continue?” he asked.

Earlier, Sena MP and party mouthpiece “Saamana’s” executive editor Sanjay Raut said that the party must be brought to power on its own majority and later, the party flag must flutter atop parliament also, while promising to fulfill VD Savarkar’s dream of “Akhand Bharat“.

Top party leaders were present at the rally.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Ayodhya Deepotsav: Yogi Adityanath attends the Grand Celebration on the banks of Saryu River; Chants of “Jai Shri Ram” Echoed

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The small oil clay lamps are lit on this auspicious festival of India
The small oil clay lamps are lit on this auspicious festival of India "DIWALI". Pixabay

Ayodhya, October 18: Chants of “Jai Shri Ram” echoed on the banks of the Saryu river as actors portraying the roles of Lord Rama and Sita arrived here on a chopper decked up to resemble the mythological Pushpak Viman – in a recreation of Lord Rama’s return from 14 years of exile to Ayodhya – as part of a grand ‘Deepotsav’ celebration, attended by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and senior ministers were also in attendance for the event in the flower-bedecked and gaily lighted temple town on Wednesday evening.

Tonnes of flower petals were showered as the actors portraying the characters from the Ramayana arrived at the venue of the Ram Lila.

As part of the Deepotsav, a record 1.73 lakh diyas or earthern lamps will be lighted on the banks of the Saryu.

The event is being hosted by the Tourism Department of the Uttar Pradesh government.

The state government placed full-page advertisements in newspapers and the entire government machinery has been pressed into service to make the event a grand success.

The Chief Minister has said the efforts by his government to “recreate the treta yug Diwali” was aimed to promote Ayodhya as a tourist draw, but opposition parties have alleged the BJP is trying to drum up support for its communal politics.

“This is all being done with an eye on the Gujarat elections and the BJP leaders are trying to deflect the attention from its failure in UP,” a senior BSP leader said.

Talking to IANS, a Samajwadi Party leader said the past governments have been promoting Ayodhya as a tourist destination and the Adityanath government’s mega event was “merely to whitewash its failures”.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has trashed the opposition charges as baseless.

Senior Congress leader Alok Sharma said the event was being held with an eye on the Gujarat elections. “I hope the BJP also finds equal focus for the innocent infants who died in Gorakhpur due to shortage of oxygen,” he said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Deepotsav, that will commence after dusk. (IANS)

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

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Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.

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Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think : 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

An individual who questions principles, assumptions and values is always painted dark. I believe Ravan was one of them.

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Have you ever noticed how we have more in common with Ravana than Lord Ram? Wikimedia

New Delhi, September 30, 2017 : Happy Dussehra or Vijaydashmi – the day we all rejoice the defeat of the evil Lanka Naresh Ravana by Shri Ram. But the essence of the festival is much more than plain revenge. We have been told since times immemorial that the festival symbolizes the triumph of truth over deception and good over evil; the victory of Lord Ram (who we must aspire to be) over the evil Ravana (who should be despised). But is that all there is to devour from the epic?

Lord Ram is held in reverence across the country and is seen as the ultimate role model. Popularly addressed as ‘Maryada Purushottam’, we have all, at a point, aimed to inculcate similar traits in our life.  But do we truly aspire to live a Ram-like life? If your answer to that question is in the affirmation, what are you doing to lead a life defined with such high morale and ideals?

We Have More In Common With Ravana Than Ram

‘Respect your parents’, ‘One must not steal’, ‘Do not lie’, ‘Honesty is the best policy’.

Despite being repeatedly exposed to these virtues, we are still dishonest.

Lord Ram, who we aspire to be, supposedly never lied.

The veneration with which the Raghuvansham looked up to his parents is not only impossible to trace in the present day, but also hard to emulate.

An epitome of ethical demeanor and exemplary disciple, are we as devoted as Ram?

This brings me to a larger question.

Have you ever noticed how we have more in common with Ravana than Lord Ram?

Maybe because it is easy to be a Ravana today, than be the ideal Ram.

So, this Dussehra, as people from all across India burn effigies of Ravana as part of the popular ritual, let us dig a little deeper and introspect what makes the anti-hero, Ravana so special and traits we can learn from his life,

What Can We Learn From Ravana

  1. Undying Faith and Devotion

Ravana performed an extreme repentance (or tapasya) to appease Shiva that lasted for tens of thousands years.

During his atonement, Ravana sacrificed his head for the sake of Shiva and chopped it off 10 different times. Each time he cut his head off, another head emerged, hence empowering him to proceed with his repentance. Finally, satisfied with his severity, Shiva showed up after his tenth beheading and rewarded him a boon of heavenly nectar of eternality.

King Ravana
Ten-headed Ravana. Wikimedia

Ravana additionally requested for supremacy over divine beings, heavenly spirits, different rakshas, and serpents which was granted by Shiva along with his 10 severed heads and an incredible knowledge of heavenly weapons and magic.

  1.  Knowledge

Ravana was the grandson of Brahma, the creator of the universe, the son of sage Vishrava and a sibling of Kubera, the god of riches.

He himself was an exceptional researcher and was learned in Ayurveda, political science and the ways of the Kshatriyas (warriors). His ten heads are known to speak of his insight into the Shastras and the four Vedas A great Veena player, he additionally wrote several books and verses on medicine and composed the Ravana Samhita, a book on Hindu astrology and the Arka Prakasham.

This highlights that despite your ill-deeds, knowledge can win you laurels, even from your staunchest rivals.

  1. Indomitable Leadership

Valmiki recognized Ravana as an exceptionally proficient and just ruler.

Ravana emerged victorious in the battle against the demon king Sumali and assumed control and administration over Lanka, thus gaining the title of ‘Lanka Naresh’. Under his reign, the kingdom came to be known as ‘Sone ki Lanka’ (kingdom of gold) and witnessed the most prosperous and magnanimous period in its history.

Ravana was a minding ruler, who cared for his subjects well. It was only under his rule and guidance that the kingdom, constricted by Vishwakarma, the best of all architects, flourished.

ALSO READ Ramayana : 6 Timeless Management Lessons From the Ancient Hindu Text that You Must Im

  1. Ambition and Belief in Self

After his penance to Lord Shiva, Ravana had wished for supremacy over divine beings, heavenly spirits, different rakshas, and serpents. Maintaining conviction in himself and his abilities, he wanted to emerge victorious and preside over all three worlds. He also fought a series of wars and lost only four times. Ravana also defeated Sumali, the demon king and established control over Lanka.

This tells us that ambition is the key to progress. Without ambition, men would have not discovered wheels, horse carts or chariots, magnificent cities, temples and palaces, or majestic sailing ships. Absence of ambition means an absence of growth.

  1. Staying True to Oneself

Ravana wanted to emerge as the greatest ruler, however, he did not aspire to become ‘God’ or attain moksha.

In response to the great king Mahabali who advised Ravana to shun malice and greed, the Lanka Naresh told him that he would never strive to be a God and shall live like a man and die as one too. Ravana lived exactly as his emotions guided him and did not aim to be a role model for the generations to follow.

This brings forth Ravana’s conviction to live our life to its full and die as a man should, staying true to one’s character and never once aiming to be godly.

Ravana
Ravana’s story is a testament that a single vice in character is sufficient to drag you to your end. Wikimedia

Ram And Ravana Had More In Common Than You Think

Most of us believe Ravana to be an evil rakshas. However, a deeper understanding of the Hindu mythology and its characters reveal that both Ram and Ravana had traits that one must aspire to imbibe.

Throughout the epic, both Ram and Ravana demonstrated outrageous determination in following their convictions, regardless of what they were to face thereafter.  Yet, we only address Ram as the Lord while look at Ravana as an evil force, despite recognizing (however not truly accepting) his traits.

Ram battled with valor against all dangers, until the point he delivered justice for all the wrong that was done to him. Similarly, Ravana remained loyal to his choices (abduction of Sita) and its consequences till his final breath.

In his quest to bring his wife back, Ram fought battles, meandered for miles, and even clashed with the gods of the oceans. Despite all intricacies, what guided Lord Ram to ultimate victory was his determination. Similarly, Ravana (and Shiva) proliferated the best hypothesis of modern humanism “Atma so paramatma” which says there is no more noteworthy power than human fortitude.

Ram touched the hearts of many upon his chance meeting with Shabri and preached lessons of equality and moving beyond barriers of caste upon consumption of her half-consumed berries. In the same manner, the Raksh tribe also proposed faith in nature-worship and universal identity with no predisposition for caste, creed or gender. In fact, Ravan also propagated the ‘Raksh neeti’ which implied equality for all.

ALSO READ Book Review: Was Surpanakha a destructive Demoness from the Ramayana or tormented Woman?

The world largely celebrates Ramayana as a battle the Raghuvansham fought in wife Sita’s esteem. Tales of Lord Ram’s reverence towards his mothers and the female clan in general have been cited across generations that earned him the title of the ‘Maryada Purushottam’.

Ravana
Battle between Ram and Ravana. Wikimedia

In a similar manner, Ravan avenged the disrespect given to his sister Shurpanka by abducting Sita. However, he did not ill-treat her, and instead kept her with dignity in the Ashok Vatika.

These instances draw attention to one of the traits of human sociology – an individual who questions principles, assumptions and values is always painted dark. I believe Ravan was one of them.

Maybe over the years, Ramayana has been over-simplified, and consequently, a little misinterpreted.  I believe a lot can be learnt from both, the hero and the anti-hero of the epic.