A major factor behind PM Modi’s appeal in the run-up to general elections 2014 was his proud Hindutva stance. Unlike the leaders of the past who towed the line of Nehruvian secularism and almost felt ashamed of their Hindu identity lest the minorities get offended, PM Modi showed pride in his religion and that connected with the voters grown tired of pseudo-secularism and marginalization of Hindu identity. Naturally, in the last year of Modi government’s first term, many people raise the question of what this dispensation has done to assert and reinvigorate the Hindu identity. Let us take a look at a short list of steps taken by the government towards the cause of Hindu religion. Interestingly, Indian Railways has taken an active lead in this quest to revive, restore and remind about the legacy of Hinduism. More specifically, these are the steps taken by the Indian Railways to cater to the needs of the Hindus and to help them connect with their identity.
Renaming of Deendayal Upadhyaya station
Honoring the great Hindutva ideologue, CM Yogi led UP government changed the name of erstwhile ‘Mughalsarai’ station to Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Junction. The government notification which came on 4th June put the final stamp on the name change. It is a great move by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh which wanted to honour its leader Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayaya who had died under mysterious circumstances at the same junction in 1986. The proposal by the Yogi Adityanath government had been backed by Ministry of Railways as well.
Mural removal at Kerala
The Railways took a firm stand and prevented the distortion of history by removing a painting depicting the 1921 wagon tragedy mural at the Tirur station in Kerala. It was argued that the painting was highly objectionable and would hurt Hindu sentiments. The Mapilla riots actually symbolise some of the most indescribable excesses that were committed upon the Hindus by the Muslim rioters. Many of the Hindus were killed mercilessly and countless rapes were committed upon Hindu women. Citing the reason for removal, The BJP Tirur Mandal committee president K P Pradeep had said, “Pictures of certain persons have been put up, who have been widely considered controversial. Such persons had been involved in massacre of Hindus during the Mapilla riot. It is highly objectionable and outrages the sentiments of Hindus. If such paintings are allowed, it would shatter the secular fabric of the region. Hence, we complained to railway authorities.”
Ramayana Express Train
14 नवंबर, 2018 से शुरू होने वाली 'श्री रामायण एक्सप्रेस' जिसमें भगवान श्री राम से सम्बंधित तीर्थस्थलो जैसे अयोध्या, चित्रकूट, हम्पी, रामेश्वरम और श्रीलंका की यात्रा शामिल है, रेलवे द्वारा कराई जा रही है। इस अद्भुत यात्रा की बुकिंग के लिए क्लिक करेंhttps://t.co/SgH8bVZ5si pic.twitter.com/Uh8SkHwUQs
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) July 16, 2018
In order to connect the sites associated with Bhagwan Ram’s journey during Vanvaas, Indian Railways is set to launch the ‘Ramayana Express’. The first such train would be launched on November 14. The train will leave from Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama and the journey will end at Rameshwaram, along the route Lord Rama took towards Lanka. The great response to the first Ramayana Express has given fillip to launch more such trains on Ramayana tourist circuit. The average occupancy for normal tourist trains is 50-60 percent but the seats for the inaugural ride of the Ramayana Express on November 14, were sold within 15 days after the ride was announced on July 7.
During the auspicious occasion of Navratri, the Indian Railways took special care of the fasting passengers. The Railways introduced ‘Vrat ki Thali’ which the passengers could avail from the Railways catering website. The gesture from Indian Railways proved that it cares for millions of Hindus fasting during the Navratra and took special care to address their needs.
भारतीय रेल नवरात्रि के इस पावन अवसर पर शुद्ध एवं सात्विक 'व्रत का खाना' उपलब्ध करवा रहा है, जिसमें स्वच्छता व गुणवत्ता का पूरा ध्यान रखा गया है। 'व्रत का खाना' आप IRCTC की कैटरिंग वेबसाइट https://t.co/SO8DbvGWJL और 'Food-on-Track' एप https://t.co/YCdS0khgp3 से ऑर्डर कर सकते है। pic.twitter.com/VPZ6Na2osL
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) October 11, 2018
Agartala-Deoghar weekly train
Railways mission to connect Hindu pilgrim sites with major towns in order to make these places more accessible to the devotees resulted in the launch of weekly train between Agartala and Deoghar. the new train would help thousands of devotees visit Anukulchandra’s shrine. The train is proposed to be named Satsang Express.
Kumbh Mela special coaches
Kumbh Mela is set to be organized in Prayagraj in the beginning of next year. Again, showing its sensitivity towards the devotees the Indian Railways is set to go to the extra mile to accommodate the pilgrims visiting the Kumbh Mela. According to Minister Piyush Goyal, the Indian Railways has introduced new Kumbh special coaches which will be designed to emphasize the cultural, historical and religious importance of the Kumbh Mela.
'मानवता की अमूर्त सांस्कृतिक धरोहर' कुंभ की महत्वता ध्यान में रखते हुए रेलवे ने कुम्भ स्पेशल कोच तैयार किए हैं, यह कोच प्रयागराज एक्सप्रेस से संगम नगरी जाने वाले श्रद्धालुओं को एक सम्पूर्ण सांस्कृतिक अनुभव देंगे, आइए देखें इसकी ख़ूबियाँ: pic.twitter.com/cMoPvIW2AJ
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) October 8, 2018
As is evident, the Indian Railways has shown a steadfast resolve and has made it a mission to preserve, protect and conserve the associated places and pilgrimages of Hindu religion. Not only that, in its resolve to uphold the Hindu Dharma, the Indian Railways has righted several wrongs which were earlier offensive to Hindu sentiments. For recognizing the distinct Hindu identity and taking steps to ensure that the Railways becomes a ‘connector’, Minister Piyush Goyal deserves credit.