Lord Ram treated all citizens as his children: Justice Katju

Justice Markandey Katju-

Lord Ram is a well-known figure in India, and a massive Ram temple complex is being built in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Some bigoted people try to forcibly compel persons of the minority community in India to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

But do such people really know about Ram?

In Valmiki’s Ramayan (the original Ramayan in Sanskrit, written perhaps 2,500 years ago), it is mentioned that when Ayodhya’s King Dashrath became old, he intended to hand over his throne to his eldest son Ram. Before doing so, he invited Ayodhya’s citizens to weigh in on Ram being fit to be their next king.

The citizens replied:
गुणान् गुणवतो देव देवकल्पस्य धीमतः|
प्रियानानन्ददान् कृत्स्नान् प्रवक्ष्यामोऽद्यतान् शृणु|| २-२-२७
“Oh king! We shall tell you the various virtues of your wise son, listen to them. His qualities are excellent. He is liked by all. He gives happiness to all.”

पौरान् स्वजनवन्नित्यम् कुशलं परिपृच्छति|
पुत्रेष्वग्निषु दारेषु प्रेष्यशिष्यगणेषु च||
निखिलेनानुपूर्व्याच्च पिता पुत्रानिवौरसान्|
“O king, your son Ram is indeed fit to be our next king. He goes to citizens and asks about their well-being as though they were his own kinsmen, like a father does to his sons. He asks about their wives and children, and about their welfare.”

For good measure, they added,
व्यसनेषु मनुष्याणां भृशं भवति दुःखितः ||
उत्सवेषु च सर्वेषु पितेव परितुष्यति |
“He consoles the people in their sorrows, and is delighted when they celebrate festivals”
सत्यवादी महेष्वासो वृद्धसेवी जितेन्द्रियः ||
स्मितपूर्वाभिभाषी च धर्मं सर्वात्मना श्रितः |
“Ram speaks only the truth. He is a great man. He serves elders. He keeps his senses under control. He talks smilingly, and protects righteousness in all ways.”

Thus, far from being an oppressor, Ram was like a father to the people. A good father takes care of all his children. He is not selective. He does not take care of only some while oppressing others.

If Ram had been the king of India today, he would have taken care of not only Hindus, but also Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others, and he would have severely punished those who oppressed or committed atrocities on minorities.

Recently, some bigoted people have forced some members of the minority community to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and often beaten those who do not. These people have defamed Ram, who would never have approved of their actions, and would instead have punished them.

The misfortune is that most of these votaries of Lord Ram have not even read the original Ramayan of Valmiki, and they know little of his great qualities.

Justice Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India

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