In Maharashtra and Karnataka, the controversy over playing Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques during Azan seems to be spreading in another form in the rest of the country as well. Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited, a company that provides electricity in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, has issued an order to the engineers of all 10 districts to ensure round-the-clock power supply in Muslim-dominated areas during Ramzan, but when the political ruckus broke out on Tuesday. It was withdrawn in a hurry.
Similarly, the Delhi Jal Board, run by the Aam Aadmi Party, ordered Muslim employees to allow leave for two hours before the end of their duty hours during Ramzan from April 3 to May 2, but withdrew it on Tuesday after a ruckus. took. The mayor of the BJP-ruled corporation in South Delhi has called for a ban on the sale of meat and chicken during Navratri and Ram Navami till April 10.
Now I will talk about these issues one by one. In an order issued by the Assistant Managing Director of Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam on April 1, all the superintending engineers have been asked to ensure 24-hour power supply in Muslim-dominated areas in their respective districts during Ramzan. It read: ‘The month of Ramadan is starting from 4th April. Do not shut down during this time and ensure uninterrupted power supply in Muslim dominated areas so that fasting people do not face any kind of problem.
The order was probably issued at the behest of Rajasthan’s Minister of State Zahida Khan, who in a letter to Energy Minister Bhanwar Singh Bhati had sought round-the-clock power supply in Muslim-dominated areas during Ramzan. BJP leader and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said that Hindus also observe fast during Navratri, but the state government is indulging in the politics of appeasement.
Vasundhara Raje asked, ‘Why is the state government only concerned about those who celebrate Ramzan? Why not the rest? If this is not appeasement and vote politics then what is? The state government should rise above religion and work for the welfare of all Rajasthanis, irrespective of religion, caste or community.
Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Managing Director Pramod Tak said that similar orders are issued during every festival like Holi, Diwali. “Since it is scorching summer this year during Ramzan, we had issued this order on humanitarian grounds,” he said. After the controversy on social media, the corporation withdrew its order.
No one has any objection to making arrangements to ensure that Muslims do not face any kind of problem during Ramzan, but issuing orders for round-the-clock power supply only in Muslim-dominated areas is clearly religious discrimination.
So far this has been the case that during Ramzan, electricity was supplied round the clock, on Bakrid there was full supply of water and ministers and leaders used to host ‘Iftar’ from the exchequer. If someone says that why the government does not issue such orders on Hindu festivals, then he is declared anti-Muslim. Due to these actions, distances increase in the society, because people see and feel themselves being discriminated on the basis of religion. On the one hand, Congress is ordering round-the-clock power supply to Muslim areas in Rajasthan during Ramzan, while on the other the same party is calling the South Delhi Mayor’s call to close meat shops during Navratri as anti-Muslim.
A different kind of religious controversy is going on in Maharashtra and the neighboring state of Karnataka. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray is trying to prove himself as the only political successor of Balasaheb Thackeray. Raj Thackeray has instructed his workers to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques during azan.
In our prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night, we showed pictures of Hanuman Chalisa being played loudly over a loudspeaker outside a mosque in Kalyan near Mumbai. There was no Hanuman temple nearby, but MNS workers were playing Hanuman Chalisa over loudspeakers.
Similar incidents happened outside mosques in Mumbai and Thane. Police in Mumbai’s Kurla foiled an attempt by MNS workers to play Hanuman Chalisa over loudspeakers and arrested them. Shiv Sena leaders allege that BJP in Maharashtra is giving silent support to MNS on the issue of loudspeakers. Raj Thackeray, on the other hand, is referring to the orders of the Supreme Court and the High Court, according to which the playing of religious hymns on loudspeakers is prohibited.
The Supreme Court in its July 2005 order banned the use of loudspeakers and music systems in public places, except in emergency, from 10 pm to 6 am, citing the serious impact of noise pollution on people living in residential areas. Had given. However, in October 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that loudspeakers could be allowed to play till midnight for 15 days in a year only on the occasions of Teej-festivals. The apex court’s decision said that the state governments would not be empowered to relax the restriction on other officials for the use of loudspeakers.
In August 2016, the Bombay High Court had clearly held that the use of loudspeakers by religious places cannot be said to be a fundamental right. The court had said that no religion or sect can claim that use of loudspeakers or public address system is a fundamental right. Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees every citizen of India the fundamental right to be a follower of any religion, to propagate his religion and to practice his religion. The High Court said that no religious place can be allowed to use loudspeakers without permission.
In September 2018, the Karnataka High Court had banned the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm and directed that the Supreme Court’s guidelines should be followed in the matter to ensure that there is no noise beyond the prescribed level. Similarly, in July 2019, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the use of loudspeakers by religious places without prior permission. In May 2020, the Allahabad High Court ruled that ‘Azaan’ can only be recited by the ‘muazzin’ in his voice from the minaret of the mosque without using any public address system.
With BMC elections fast approaching, Raj Thackeray has made playing ‘Azaan’ on loudspeakers an issue. He has asked his workers to counter this by reciting Hanuman Chalisa on the PA system. Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi asked his supporters to give sharbat and water to MNS workers who played Hanuman Chalisa.
Neither Abu Azmi is a doodh ke dhule nor Raj Thackeray’s intention is clear. Those who read Hanuman Chalisa are also not Hanuman Bhakts, and there are no humane priests who offer sharbat to MNS workers who read Hanuman Chalisa. Everyone has their own game, their own math. When Shiv Sena was with BJP, it used to call itself a bigger Hindutva party than BJP. Now that he is in government with Congress and NCP, Shiv Sena is trying to prove itself more secular than both of them.
The controversy over ‘azaan’ has also spread to the neighboring state of Karnataka where Hindu organizations have demanded a ban on ‘azaan’ from loudspeakers. Supporters of these organizations have started playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ and ‘Bajrang Baan’ on loudspeakers. Organizations like Shri Ram Sena, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and the head of the Kalikamba temple have sought permission from the government to play Hanuman Chalisa over loudspeakers.
Since assembly elections are due in Karnataka in May next year, political parties have become active now. Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, except BJP, nobody has any problem with loudspeakers playing in mosques. “We oppose steps that divide the society,” he said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the ban on loudspeakers by the High Court and Supreme Court is not just for mosques but for all religious places. “We will talk to all the parties so that the court order is implemented,” he said. It is not a matter of pressure, but an act of persuasion. Court’s order is not only for ‘Azaan’ but for all religious activities…. They (Congress leaders) are very hypocrites. First he raised the issue of ‘hijab’ and then opposed the people who opposed ‘hijab’. Why did he violate the court order? Why were they silent at that time? Actually it is the vote bank politics of Congress which has created all the controversy.
Bommai is right that people should be persuaded and persuaded to remove loudspeakers from mosques. But in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has assumed a different form. Former Chief Minister and presently Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath has sent a letter to the party chiefs of all the districts to organize ‘Ram Katha’ on the occasion of Ram Navami on April 10 and recite Hanuman Chalisa and Sundar Kand on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti on April 16. asked for. Congress MLA Arif Masood said the party “should not copy the BJP”. If the party is planning to worship on Ramnavmi and Hanuman Jayanti, then similar events should be held on Ramzan as well.
There are two types of thinking in Congress these days. Many leaders feel that Congress should talk about Hindus and avoid Muslim appeasement. Thinking this, Kamal Nath probably talked about Hanuman Chalisa and Sunderkand. Kamal Nath himself is also a great Hanuman devotee. He has built a huge Hanuman temple in his constituency.
But the thinking of many people in this Congress is that the party should not compromise on its secular image, and should try to win the hearts of Muslim society whenever it gets the chance. But Congress leaders sometimes go a long way in the pursuit of Muslim appeasement, as I have mentioned in the beginning of this blog, how orders were issued for 24-hour power supply in the Muslim-dominated areas of Jodhpur.
In Rajasthan a Muslim leader of the rank of Minister of State cannot be influential enough to issue such an order. It is obvious that some big Congress leader must have told him so and the MD of the discom company issued the order. Jodhpur is the constituency of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
BJP MP from Jodhpur Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is the Union Minister for Jal Shakti, targeted Gehlot in his tweet on Tuesday. Shekhawat said: ‘The hatred of Congress thinking increases by reading the order given at the behest of the Gehlot government. Tughlaqi decree of no power cut during Ramzan in Jodhpur region has been given due to vote bank politics. Such tactics lead to social disharmony. Gehlot ji the power is yours. You cannot select one and negate the other in the name of harmony. You have done your game in Karauli! Requested with folded hands, please keep my Jodhpur away from your communal conspiracy. Gehlot ji, I wish I had worried a little about Navratri too!’
This year both Navratri and Ramzan have come together. Both are holy festivals, both give the message of mutual brotherhood and living in love. But whatever is happening in the name of Navratri and Ramzan, it is completely opposite.
If the government has to give leave for worship, then how can there be a difference between a Hindu and a Muslim? If electricity is to be given then how can there be discrimination between Ramzan and Navratri? If there is a problem with the sound of loudspeaker for azaan, then how can it be cured by reading Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeaker?
Coercion can’t do anyone any good. The only way out can be found through dialogue. Similarly, there is no justification for demanding closure of all meat shops. I have heard of many Hindu shopkeepers who say that they too are devotees of the Goddess, celebrate Navratri, but they will suffer a lot due to the sudden ban on selling meat.
It is a bitter truth that politics is being done in the name of Navratri and Ramzan. Politicians are here and there too, and unless these people want to, the atmosphere cannot change. (Rajat Sharma)
Watch: Full Episode of ‘Aaj Ki Baat With Rajat Sharma’ on April 05, 2022