This year’s ‘Navratri’, which culminates with ‘Ram Navami’, is of special significance for the Yogi Adityanath government in political terms.
The state government has already made ambitious plans to celebrate the festival on a massive scale with Ramayana recitation being done in every district and temples being illuminated and decorated with flowers.
“This Ram Navami is special, because the Ram temple is inching closer to completion and next year, the temple will be complete when Ram Navami is celebrated. Recitation of Ramayana during this period will add to the spiritual fervour and mood,” said a BJP functionary.
It is apparent that the Yogi Adityanath government wants to derive maximum political mileage from the festival this year since the festival next year is likely to come under the purview of the model code of conduct due to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections which will be held at this time of the year.
The Navratri celebrations, incidentally coinciding with the beginning of the month of Ramzan this year, are being taken to higher pitch to remind every Hindu devotee of the fulfilment of the promise to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The ‘Chaitra Navratri’ that is celebrated in March-April every year, marks the beginning of the Hindu calendar while the ninth day of this festival, Ram Navami, celebrates the birthday of Lord Ram, the seventh avatar of the deity Vishnu.
“The BJP had promised the Ram temple and the dream is turning into reality now. The Ram temple, without doubt, will be the focus of the campaign in 2024 and the build-up is beginning now,” the functionary added.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered recitation of Ramayana in every district and this is being seen as a rebuttal to Samajwadi Party’s objections to certain versions of the epic poem.
The state wide recitation of the epic aims at reinforcing people’s unflinching belief in the Ramcharitmanas which will automatically demolish the allegations made by the Samajwadi Party.
It will also help the BJP in consolidating its Hindutva card on issues of Ram temple and Ramcharitmanas, leaving the opposition in a Catch-22 situation on the issue.
A senior SP leader admitted, “We have been caught on the wrong foot on the Ramcharitmanas issue. Hindus will never accept any objection to the epic poem and the BJP now has an advantage which is why it is ensuring the recitation of Ramayana during Navratri.”
Valmiki’s Ramayana is regarded as the original source of Lord Ram’s story. Ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki and consisted of 24,000 verses, which have been divided into seven Kandas (chapters).
Valmiki Ramayana is regarded as one of the greatest literary works of ancient India.
Ramcharitmanas is a reproduction of Valmiki Ramayan, which was written by Indian bhakti poet Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century. It has attained as much popularity as Valmiki’s Ramayan.
It is believed that Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanas as heard from Lord Hanuman directly.