Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Ram Janam Bhumi And The Notre Dame Cathedral

B L Saraf

The Notre Dame Cathedral , Paris’s iconic religious monument , caught fire , on 15th instant , that claimed its spire and roof but spared the rest of the building. This Cathedral has survived nine hundred years of France’s tumultuous history . On coming to know about the fire , Archbishop of Paris , Michael Aupetit announced on radio “ Notre Dam was destroyed but the soul of France was not .” French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral as , according to him , “ it was the epicenter of our life … it is part of us .”
France’s richest , spontaneously , came forward to build the religious place to its pristine glory . Businessman Francois –Henri Pinault said , “ this tragedy impacts all French people . And everyone wants to restore life as quickly as possible to this jewel of our life .” Another businessman ,Bernard Arnault pledged 200 million Euros to rebuilt the monument .
Long ago , Victor Hugo said about the cathedral
“ When a man understands the art of seeing , he can trace spirit of an age and the features of king even at the knocker at the door .”
France , in fact whole Christian world , is in great grief .
Mention of the Notre Dame Cathedral reminds of our own heritage .It is indeed distasteful to draw analogy in the moment of grief . But there are certain stark realties - necessary fall out of the situation - which stare eyes , so sharply that they can’t bear going unnoticed . No matter the situation has developed quite unintended . In any case reference becomes unavoidable when we in our country are crying to reclaim Ram janambhumi - which undoubtedly is a “ part of us “ - multitude of the faithful living across the globe .
We have noted what unfolded in France – the most liberal and progressive Western country - after the tragic loss suffered by the cathedral . Contrast it what we see in our country which suffers from ‘ over profusion of secularism .’ Here , we have very depressing story when it comes to reclaiming “ epicenters of our life “ and those marks of civilization which define “ our soul .”
Shri Ram having lived on planet earth in blood and flesh is subject matter of proof before the courts . Those who want proof of Presence of Shri Ram must read Victor Hugo carefully and they will get the one . Sages ,who had mastered “ the art of seeing “ have given us ample proof consistently down the ages . They have traced the birth spot of the Maryad Purish after “ seeing features on the knockers at the doors “ of Ayodhya Nagri . The sages have “ understood the art of seeing ” which Hugo wanted disciples to develop if the spiritual value of the Notre Dame cathedral is to be evaluated in mundane terms .
Archeological Survey of India has corroborated the Sages .
Not that everyone wants the proof . It is the vote politics that has put scales on the eyes of the practitioners of sectarian politics . Rajiv Gandhi ordered opening the doors of Janam Bhumi in 1986 for ‘ darshan ‘ of the devotees . His Home Minister Sardar Buta Singh executed the orders . Come 2009 , political expediency overtakes the belief . His political cum blood heirs would deny Shri Rams’s presence and call Him a mythical person .
We revel in demanding ‘proof ‘ of existence of the Prophets which are our ‘ spiritual ‘ epicenters .’ To some , Shri Ram is only a mythical object and are bent upon to destroy the remains of the Ram Setu , down in the south. Political manipulators in Delhi had to sing a different tune to please a regional satrap for their political survival . Congress party would order its whole lot of lawyers to Supreme Court to demand proof of existence of Shri Ram .
It is a tragedy the we demand proof of existence of the Maryada Purish Whom the great poet thinker Iqbal calls ‘ Immam – e – Hind , in Whose existence the country takes a great pride.’
We should ! But could we as a nation dare say what the French Businessman Henri Pinault said on the aftermath of cathedral fire “ the tragedy impacts us all French people .” Can all Indians summon courage to utter the words in favor of reclaiming the Ram janam Bhumi as the French businessman said on fire of the cathedral - that everyone wants “ to restore life as quickly possible to this jewel of our heritage .”
That India - as a nation and the state - is founded on the sound pluralistic values was never in doubt . But the country would certainly settle as true secular country when the “ seculars fundamentalist “ begin to ask question - what is really lacking in understanding the true value of our nation , rather than serving as purveyors of the so called liberal spin . It won’t serve cause of any one in India if people are systematically instigated to hate their heritage and disown one national identity’ - which we have , off course , with due regard for the sub- ethnic sensitivities . A balance has to be maintained .A little bit of tilt here and there will destroy the social equilibrium, to the detriment of all - possibly more for the minorities .
Can we see a silver lining in the Notre Dame tragedy that may help us see restoration o f Ramjanam Bhumi - that “ impacts us all Indians .” ? Hope it will be so !

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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