The Congress launched a scathing attack on the RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party said that it was reclaiming Ram Rajya. Further the party also said that there is a difference between Ram Rajya and RSS Rajya.
In a stinging commentary, the Congress wrote," Mahatma Gandhi died with the name of Lord Ram on his lips after he was taken from India only one year into independence by Nathuram Godse, a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
To Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, father of the nation, Lord Ram embodied the triumph of good over evil and Ramrajya the happy human condition under a culture of good governance. It is ironic that his vision for India has been revised by the very organisation which rabidly incited his assassination to propagate a theologically twisted tyranny.
At a time when RSS functionaries are being systematically being placed into key positions right from the Office of President to University Chancelleries, this Dussehra, it becomes imperative to distinguish between Ramrajya and RSS Rajya."
Ramrajya is best remembered as the philosophical origin of Gandhi's Swaraj or self-governance. It wouldn't merely suffice to throw off the yolk of the British as colonial masters, but foster grass root-led governance. Many in the Modi Sarkar consider Lord Ram an icon, but their method of statecraft cannot be further from his Ramrajya. They are in the habit of reducing Lord Ram to a signifier of difference based on who worships Him, rather than adhere to the secular takeaways of his rule during what many of the faithful believe was a temporal kingship. There is a clear departure between the Modi Sarkar as a political phenomenon and his leadership can only be described as being informed by RSS rajya, not the ideal of Ramrajya. Lessons from Ramrajya still reverberate in the musical and deeply egalitarian chaupai or four line quatrains of Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas.
The Uttarkand, or Last Canto of the Ramcharitmanas, describes the human condition under Ramrajya:
Under the rule of Ram, no one suffered from afflictions of any kind, whether of the body, or proceeding from divine or supernatural agencies or that caused by another living being. However, contemporary India under Modi has seen a quantifiable decrease in wellbeing owing to the government's working style. Government hospitals have become deathtraps in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, putting the physical well being of the poorest at stake. As 29,550 new job seekers go home disappointed everyday, we live in an economic pressure cooker.
The government is determined that the heat be faced by minorities, who it uses as a canard even twisting religion to achieve this divisive diversion of blame. This is a complete foil to the amity and close knit social fabric aspired to in Ramrajya:
Ramrajya, as conveyed by the Bhakti poet Tulsidas, is one where civil society retains fellow feeling, a love for one's neighbours and an abiding respect for equality within and between all communities. However, the Modi establishment is giving communal forces like gaurakshaks or cow protectors free rein as they spread communal poison within India's diverse and cohesive social fabric. The politics of hate and division are well-resourced and there is a clear incentive structure to be benefitted from by attacking the diet and livelihood of minorities and formerly lower castes who depend on the trade. Lord Ram had no such pretensions and preoccupations and focused on cultivating love and compassion in the most unconventional ways. He even ate the same fruit which his poor devotee Shabari had tasted in order to ensure they were all sweet enough for him to eat, breaking the dietary taboos of the time.
The point is, under Ramrajya no one is exempt from the people's censure and their conduct ought to be morally defensible. Instead the PM maintains a stiff upper lip about his own conjugal abandonment (which is his private affair) and involvement in Stalkgate (which is of public concern as public resources and manpower were expended to track the movements of a young professional), while hypocritically allowing the RSS to morally police the content of our films and the personal of our young people. Under Ramrajya, the King is not the Law, and is an equal subject before it. The right to expression, which is one of too few tools to keep the powerful accountable, has been all but vanquished by the BJP and RSS' twisted application of defamation laws. It is absurd that in a democracy like us that the letter of the law is interpreted to render truth itself defamatory, unless expressed in the public interest.
The BJP election machine could learn a lot from Lord Ram's own honouring of the terms of his exile during his 14 year banishment into the forest. You will find little of this integrity even where the people's mandate calls upon the BJP as a party to occupy vital space in the Opposition for only 5 years in the elections it stole in Goa, Bihar, Nagaland and Manipur. While leaders of Lord Ram's school of leadership view their promises as election-time as sacred, the BJP makes outlandish promises like returning 15 lakh rupees to every citizen's bank accounts by tackling slippage, and even repackages schemes like the Saubhagya Yojana to push their deliverables from this year to election-time to avoid accountability.
RSS Rajya's blatant disdain for the common man has borne forth in the convoluted form even the GST has taken under Modi's GST council. While the Ramayana calls for taxation according to one's abilities, likening it to the commensurate vaporisation of water by the sun over ocean and pond alike, GST has brought all consumers, particularly the poor who have little alternative when it comes to sourcing goods abroad, under a crippling indirect taxation burden of 10.2% of GDP. The RSS style of governance by this interpretation is top-down and self-interested, unlike the Congress' preference for consensual policymaking and samvaad. In sharp contrast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his majority BJP government have not so much as apologised for sabotaging growth and making it fall to 3.7% this quarter.
India ought to take the BJP/RSS' lip service to Ramrajya with a pinch of salt. Even God is not exempt from the Modi's deceitful PR. The true test of Ramrajya is the secular distinction made by Gandhiji, who wrote, 'By Ramrajya, I do not mean Hindu Raj. For me Ram and Rahim are one and the same deity. I acknowledge no other God but the one God of truth and righteousness. Whether Ram of my imagination ever lived or not on this earth, the ancient ideal of Ramarajya is undoubtedly one of true democracy in which the meanest citizen could be sure of swift justice without an elaborate and costly procedure.' The RSS may have piggybacked into power and ideological prominence. Their legislators continue to propel the politics of hate centrestage, even as they renege on their developmental pledges. Dussehra is a good time for the communal crusaders within the BJP/RSS establishment to introspect and purge their own demons, which bear such close resemblance to the ten heads of Ravana and the political persona of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
Yet Dussehra itself is a covenant of hope for the Congress-led Mahagatbandan. Today we commemorate the shocking triumph of a righteous ragtag group, so remote from power, in their asymmetric opposition to a reign of evil, unbridled hedonism. We do this in the hope of a similar victory in 2019. As true democrats, we do not seek a Modi-mukt Bharat, but to preserve a multi-party democracy which does not make enemies and effigies of peaceful dissenters. We are reclaiming the concept of Ramrajya as Mahatma Gandhi's secular and democratic idea of justice.