On the occasion of the 87th Air force Day and the coinciding Dussehra festivities, Indian government decided to induct the first Rafale combat aircraft from Dassault Aviation. This was a moment of glory for India, as it marked the onset of the delivery period of the Rafale jets, which would multiply our country’s defense in the coming years. Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh landed in France for the official handing-over ceremony.
As is Indian tradition, on the occasion of Dussehra, Indians across the country perform ‘Shastra’ or ‘Ayudha’ Puja. This is a tradition followed since ages and dates as back to the times of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Lord Ram is said to have performed Shastra Puja just before attacking Raavan’s Lanka.
Not only ordinary Indians, but the tradition is also followed by the armed forces, who mark the day by performing Shastra Puja of the various weaponry and instruments which keep India’s enemies at bay. Rajnath Singh, soon after the handover, performed the Shastra Puja. On expected lines, this attracted a massive and unwarranted liberal meltdown on social media.
A web portaal on the verge of extinction, called Janta Ka Reporter published a report which comprised of all the anti-Hindu tweets mocking RM Rajnath Singh. The portal also classified the ritual as a ‘superstition’. This article by them was grouped under the ‘entertainment’ category.
— Janta Ka Reporter (@JantaKaReporter) October 9, 2019
The Wire, though did not explicity question the idea of ‘Shastra Puja’, yet they did term the entire exercise to be ‘a show made by the BJP’. They also harped on unverified facts to reinvigorate the old ‘Rafale scam’ rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the BBC Hindi website also covered the entire ceremony and concluded that it was nothing more than a ‘trolling’ of Rajnath Singh.
On Twitter, individuals who are frequent Hindu deriders, took it upon themselves to outrage to the fullest.
Alka Lamba, recently with the AAP, now with the Congress, had this to say:
सोचो अभी तो #फ्रांस निर्मित #Rafale #भारत में पहुँचा भी नहीं और आने से पहले ही हासिल की पहली बड़ी कामयाबी,
करा 2 हरे भरे नींबूओं का सफ़ाया और भारत को दुश्मन की बुरी नजरों से भी बचाया…. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/r1KJiBxdRz
— Alka Lamba – अलका लाम्बा🇮🇳 (@LambaAlka) October 8, 2019
She also remarked: “If former Defence Minister AK Antony would have been the Minister of Defence or former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had this fortune today, what would have happened had taken Bible and Quran as per their religion like Rajnath Singh?”
Former Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit’s son, Sandeep Dixit accused the Narendra Modi government of saffronising the Rafale handover. “This religious context of Vijayadashami and the Rafale aircraft doesn’t match. A festival that all of us celebrate, why should it be linked it with an aircraft?” Another point of contention for the Congress, as stated by Sandeep Dixit was the presence of Rajnath Singh at the ceremony. The Congress leader said the defence forces should have received the Rafale and not the Defence Minister. “This is the whole problem with this government. They dramatise everything without any substantive work.” Mallikarjun Kharge had something similar to say.
We didn't show-off Bofors gun, no need for such 'tamasha': Kharge mocks Rajnath's Shastra puja
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) October 9, 2019
Meanwhile, ‘apolitical’ commentators too outraged to the best of their capabilities on Twitter.
So basically nimbu could have protected us! 😜 https://t.co/opyye8Qloy
— Sakshi Joshi (@sakshijoshii) October 9, 2019
Bigoted Hindu and Brahmin hater, Prashant Kanojia to joined the liberal bandwagon.
देश की सुरक्षा के लिए पहले राफेल खरीदो और राफेल की सुरक्षा के लिए नींबू! pic.twitter.com/oJaUKsSMvx
— Prashant Kanojia (@PJkanojia) October 9, 2019
Yeh Mileage Kitna Deti he? https://t.co/2atdm7DOYp
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) October 8, 2019
In 2010, the Gujarat High Court was to be built at an alternate site. In this context, ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ was performed at the site. Post this event, a PIL was filed by an activist asking for the entire process to be declared ‘unconstitutional’. The Gujarat High Court, however, dismissed the PIL and instead called the practise of ‘Bhoomi Pujan‘ to be secular in nature.
This should serve as a reminder to the Hindu-loathing group of people on Twitter and elsewhere. Rather than looking at these practices from a religious ‘Hindu’ perspective, they must be looked as cultural components of this civilization. Until yesterday, nobody questioned the armed forces for performing Shastra Puja every year. Yet, Rajnath Singh doing the same qualifies as ‘Hindu supremacy’? The ill-informed and intolerant liberal cabal must understand that India has evolved from being a civilized apologetic about its culture, to being an unabashed and proud exhibitor of its culture and heritage, and also it’s essential spiritual practices.