Opinion: In Varanasi, Priests Of 2 Key Temples Speak Against BJP

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Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Corridor for non-stop television coverage about a month ago, there has been much discussion about how the incident will affect elections in Uttar Pradesh, where voting will begin on February 10. The new site in Varanasi, the prime minister’s constituency, is attracting thousands of visitors, tourists and fans alike, despite the Kovid wave, but it is unclear whether it will overcome the power struggle in the eastern part of the state. For BJP supporters, the huge new structure reinforces the image of the Prime Minister as a powerful politician. Avatar In the city, however, there is debate over whether a mega-event could overcome the economic frustration that has spread to this part of the state.

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Last month, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the first episode of Kashi Bishwanath Dham

The urban area of ​​the Prime Minister’s constituency consists of three assembly constituencies where voting will take place in the last phase of elections on March 7, 2022. These three seats are:

Varanasi South;

North Varanasi;

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And Varanasi Cantonment.

All three voted for the BJP long before the Modi era began.

Varanasi South, where the Kashi Bishwanath Temple is located, has been under BJP occupation since 1989; The runner-up has been the Congress and in 2017, its candidate won 42 per cent of the vote in the state elections whereas the BJP candidate got 53 per cent of the vote. Rajesh Mishra, the 2017 Congress candidate, is not sure if he will run again but said “my 2017 performance without party structure shows that there is a section in Kashi who are interested in the Congress.” Outside of this seat, there is no mention of Congress in Eastern Uttar Pradesh as “Eastern”.

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2017 Varanasi candidate for Congress, Rajesh Mishra

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There are two things that cannot be missed today Great Or the priests of the most influential temples in the city, the Kashi Bishwanath Temple and the Crisis Relief Temple in a time when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Great Himself (Gorakhpur) Mathematics About 215 km from Varanasi). The Great Kashi Bishwanath The temple, Dr. Tewari says he once went to the campaign crying “Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi” But now angry for destroying a few small temples hosting Lord Shiva’s companion deities for the corridor. “Eventually, the Kashi deities will drive them out (BJP),” he said.

He attended the inauguration of a new corridor that connects the iconic Kashi Temple on the Ganges with Lalita Ghat but reveals “I sat in a corner, both humiliated and surprised that many details of worship, rituals and even holy bathing were wrong.” It says, “I am not afraid to die”, and will enter politics after forming “Baba Bishwanath’s party” if necessary. He indicated that various political parties were communicating and claimed that he had recently been telephoned by Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee. “But I will follow Baba Bishwanath,” said the 64-year-old.

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Dr. Kulpati Tiwari, Great Kashi Bishwanath Temple

If Great Feeling disrespectful, a short distance away, DomsThe people of Harishchandra Ghat have been feeling honored ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the question “Dom King” (King of the crematorium) could be a proponent of his candidacy for the Varanasi MP in the last general election. Harishchandra and Manikarnika are the two main ones Ghat Used for cremation in Varanasi. One of the leaders of this community, Pawan Chowdhury, sits in the smoke from the burning cheetah and remembers the second wave when people would drop dead bodies on the wharf. Pictures of covid-wrecked corpses floating below the Ganges have made international headlines and point to the massive mismanagement of this deadly phase of the epidemic. But Pawan Chowdhury said that in Varanasi, every unclaimed body was cremated with full ritual, adding that the miracle was that none of the domes were infected with covid. The Domes have their own deities like Kalu Ram Baba, and Pawan Chowdhury proudly displays a garland made of old human skulls which he calls “priceless”. Life is hard, he says, but “at least the prime minister has given us some respect.” It was a symbolic gesture for the Prime Minister as Dom, a Dalit community, added only a few thousand to Varanasi.

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Dom leader Pawan Chowdhury

According to the 2011 census, 70 per cent of Varanasi’s population is Hindu and 28 per cent Muslim

Varanasi has many hereditary traditions. In contrast, the sudden anti-BJP extremism Great The Kashi Bishwanath temple, the oldest of the old, is a critique of the family that runs the crucial Sankat Mochan temple, a Hanuman temple said to have been founded by the poet-saint Tulsidas. The spectators of all the political parties call to the stream Great, Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, who is a prominent environmentalist and professor at Benares Hindu University. He spoke out against the new “event-based Hindutva propagated by the state” and said that it seeks to destroy the very fabric of society. He criticized the Kashi Corridor and called it a “smart city model” that ignores the basic fact that there is still no sustainable plan to stop sewage flowing into the Ganges. He points to an image Ghat Where the Prime Minister drowned in the river on 13 December and said the very next day, it was surrounded by the ruins of construction that continued even after the inauguration.

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Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, Great Crisis relief temple

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The Of the nobility The family follows a method that is the opposite of the BJP-RSS project. In 2006, Varanasi witnessed a bomb blast at the Crisis Relief Temple and then another bomb blast at the railway station. The death toll was 26; An Islamic terrorist group has been identified as a potential criminal. The family in charge of the temple responded to the terror by embracing the integrated culture of Benares. For 97 years, the Crisis Relief Temple has hosted the most prestigious music festival in Benares; The family is rooted in the classical heritage of the city, with the present Great Playing by itself Pakhawaj, Which is a version of a drum. Until that year, the music festival was not open to Muslim artists because it was held at the temple. But after the 2006 blast, an invitation was sent to Mumtaz Hossain Khan. shehnai Player of Benares, the first Muslim actor in the temple.

Mumtaz Hussain Khan, who died himself, was the nephew of the great Bismillah Khan, the recipient of the country’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, who died in 2006. Old residents still talk about Bismillah Khan’s routine: playing shehnai On Balaji Ghat, Then diving into the Ganges and performing at the Kashi Bishwanath Temple even though he was an observant Muslim. Patriarch Tiwari, Kashi Bishwanath Great, Listening to his grandfather Bismillah Khan and remembering the era of patronage to the musician. “No one came to talk about removing Muslims,” ​​he recalled.

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Shehnai Ustad Late Ustad Bismillah Khan

But such memories can be lost in the fog of hatred. On January 6 this year, the poster was put up at Aussie Wharf, one of the most popular Ghat The city warns non-Hindus to stay away. They are signed by the local Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. I happened to be the same Ghat 7 days; Friends in Varanasi said it was another attempt to pollute the atmosphere but asked me to be careful.

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Muslims cannot be separated from some of the rich traditions of Varanasi. After all, the 15th century devotional poet-philosopher Kabir was born into a family of Muslim weavers in Varanasi, although he was a critic of all organized religions. The weavers of Varanasi, extremely Muslim, are fundamental to the weaving of the city. There is a phrase used to describe the weaving process, “Tana bana”, It could also be a metaphor for the community’s relationship with Varanasi. “Tana” Creating the first layer of fabric by spreading the thread vertically; “Build” The thread is laid horizontally. We all knot and knit together, says sitting in his excellent work which has won national and international awards.

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Ustad Tanti Maqbool Hasan

Despite all the economic problems arising from the coinage, covid and shrinking business, Varanasi has a lot of pride in the fabrics, designs and motifs of the weavers. There is also grief and fear over the systematic exclusion of a community that makes up a large portion of Varanasi’s population. The Muslim vote will inevitably go to the nominees of the Samajwadi Party and some in the south of Varanasi will choose the Congress. They know the city is a stronghold of the BJP, they want their vote so they can go through the charged Atomshire.

Its visited beyond mega-events Ghat Since Varanasi was chosen as the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the city exists on many levels. It’s a really magical city Ghat Which is shrouded in fog on winter mornings, a settlement known for its genre of classical music Riaz (Habit), chants of “Har Har Mahadev” And the buzz of the looms that are weaving in the small alleys and by-lanes of that fine Benaresi silk sari.

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The Kashi Corridor is the city’s latest monument, expected to bring together political gatherings. Hinduism Emotions and the image of the Prime Minister are rising which is going to be a tougher election than the BJP expected a few months ago.

(Saba Naqvi is a journalist and a writer.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The information and opinions contained in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and do not assume any responsibility or liability for NDTV.

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