In India, everyone keeps on repeating the rhetoric of ‘religious freedom’, the freedom to practice your religion, profess it, and to freely worship your deity, but all the secularism and equality of religions goes for a toss when it comes to Hindus, practicing Hinduism, and worshipping Hindu deities. One such case of restricting Hindus from freely worshipping their revered Lord Shiva is being experienced by the Hindus of Kota, Rajasthan for years now.
In the Vigyan Nagar of Rajasthan’s Kota city, there is a Hindu temple of Lord Shiva, the Amaleshwar Mahadev Temple, which was constructed by the local Hindu lime kiln workers 40 years ago. They regularly worshipped their beloved deity and took care of their temple. But with time, the area around the temple got populated by Muslims, and soon, the new settlers started opposing Hindus worshipping in the temple, which resulted into communal tensions in the area.
And as is the custom in this one-way ‘secular’ country, the administration decided to lock the Hindu temple and chain it, following which, for years at a stretch now, the Lord Shiva temple remains chained for 364 days of the year, and with the pressure created by the Bajrang Dal and its help, opens up for only 1 day on Mahashivratri. But even this single day of exception does not come without conditions. The temple opens for the devotees to worship their deity with heavy police deployment, who, rudely ask the Hindus to ‘end their business’ so that the temple can be closed down as soon as possible.
Today, the Mahashivratri rituals in the temple are taking place solely because of the pressure created by the Bajrang Dal on the city administration 4-5 years ago.
While the Bajrang Dal has continuously been asking the administration to free the temple completely and let the Hindu devotees enjoy the freedom to practice their religion in its true sense, the administration remains mum on this issue. On the other hand, as per the Bajrang Dal, originally, the temple premises were spread across a large area of land, but now, the temple covers an extremely small area of 6×6, because all of the remaining temple land was illegally confiscated by the Muslims and houses were built, in which they are still living. And rather than supporting the cause of the Hindus, the local police asks the Hindus to remain ‘silent’ so that ‘tensions’ are not caused.
A classic paradox can be seen right next to the box-like temple where the grand Nuri Mosque stands in all its glory, but nobody dares question the mosque or all the houses built by the Muslims on confiscated land. And while according to the administration and the police, the Hindus who are peacefully and simply asking for their temple to be freed from the chains, are creating ‘tensions’, those Muslims who oppose the Hindus from practicing their religion and worship their deity, should not be ‘irked’.
Despite a Hindu temple being chained because Muslims do not like the Hindus praying there, Muslims throwing stones at Hindu processions simply because they pass from a mosque’s front, Anurag Poddar, an innocent Hindu whose brains blew out because of police firing on a Durga Puja procession, and hundreds of similar cases taking place in the country, just because the Hindu-hatred in this nation has turned obnoxious, the so-called ‘majority’ community has to carry the heavy baggage of one-way secularism, and is expected to stay quiet even if the so-called ‘minority’ communities keep on killing our people. And if the Hindus dare utter a word against the wrongdoings or try to profess their religion proudly, they become the problem.
It becomes highly essential to question the local Kota administration, the Kota police, and the Rajasthan government at this point as to why is it that a Hindu cannot worship their own God in their own temple, and why is it so easy for them to block the ‘Ganga’ with the boulders of secularism, while the ‘Yamuna’ is inundating everything and everyone around it with its flood of religion.