[If the story of Ganesh is taken on its face value, the BJP will have a great difficulty in explaining whether they really respect the values of lord Ganesh.]
Shortly after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) extended greetings to the nation on Ganesh Chaturthi, violence started by the followers of a controversial god man convicted for rape left more than 30 people dead.
The arson took place in BJP ruled state of Haryana where a court had convicted the head of a sect Dera Sacha Sauda Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape in 1997. While his devotees began the violence, a number of BJP leaders openly sided with the self styled god man. So much so, one BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj - who is a seer himself stated that a court cannot be above the belief of thousands of devotees.
The BJP which is known for its right wing ideology has a desire to turn India into Hindu theocracy.
To harbour an ambition to establish Hindu state is one thing and to be an honest Hindu is something else. If their response to the violence of Singh’s followers is any indication their passion for Hindu religion is full of hypocrisy and contradictions.
If the story of Ganesh is taken on its face value, the BJP will have a great difficulty in explaining whether they really respect the values of lord Ganesh.
Ganesh was the sole creation of his mother Parvati who wanted someone to be her true protector all the time. She did not even want her husband Lord Shiv to walk into her bathroom without her permission and had deployed Ganesh outside the bathhouse.
On one occasion Ganesh tried to stop Shiv from forcibly entering the bathhouse while she was taking the shower. An agitated Shiv chopped his head. Parvati had to fight with her husband to bring back Ganesh to life after which Shiv gave him the head of an elephant. Since time immemorial Hindus continue to worship Ganesh or the elephant god.
On Ganesh Chaturthi a huge idol of Ganesh is made and immersed in the river as part of a grand ritual. Going by the fable, .Ganesh represents the power of the women and matriarchy.
If the BJP really cares for Ganesh then it has to prove it through meaningful actions.
This is not the first time that the BJP leaders have let down women. Only recently, the son of a BJP leader from Haryana was caught for stalking a woman in Chandigarh. In the past BJP supporters were involved in inciting Hindu mobs to rape Muslim women during sectarian violence.
Then there are BJP leaders who believe that women must stay in the confines of their homes and should rather dress appropriately to avoid sexual violence.
The BJP has no moral right to appropriate Ganesh who stood in defence of the honour of Paravati and to protect the freedom of women.
It is for the practicing Hindus to see whether the BJP is really a defender of Hindu religion or is only trying to use it as a tool to maintain political power.
Hopefully, the violence in Haryana and BJP’s response to it will enable Hindu dominated India to see this duplicity more clearly.
[Gurpreet Singh is a Canada- based journalist who publishes Radical Desi- a monthly magazine that covers alternative politics. First published by countercurrents.org.]