5th August, 2020

How many of you can recognize this picture? 

For the 0.001% who cannot recognize this “monument”, it is called Mt. Rushmore, the peaks into which four American presidents were immortalized into. According to Wikipedia, this monument was supposed to symbolize “the triumph of modern society and democracy”. What no one talks about is the unsaid part of the sentence. Let me finish it for you “triumph of ………..  over native indigenous populations of non-abrahamic faiths.  

There, I’ve said it. Ever since I heard about the backstory of this place, my hands were itching to write my feelings about it. One might wonder why an expat from the other side of the world was interested in writing about this particular piece of history. As I sit in the pre-dawn hours of 5th August 2020, I am finally able to pen these thoughts. The truth is, this story hit a little too close to home. For once, I could relate with the pain of the “Indians” of the Lakota, Sioux and other tribes that lived here before the caucasians came to their land. 

These particular mountains were known to the “natives” as Six Grandfathers (Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe). According to a blog, these mountains held great spiritual importance to the natives, who believed that place as the connection to the spiritual world, It was also the location were they conducted their spiritual ceremonies. For some unknown reason, the “Six grandfathers” were chosen to be the site to sculpture “Four Presidents” belonging to a different ethnicity, giving the location a very different meaning & effectively destroying the connection to the native history. 

I’m sure you can see where this is going. Imperialist forces forcibly capture native spiritual place and build a monument on top of it in order to erase it’s history and proclaim their victory. Sounds familiar? Well, you can be forgiven if you thought about “Hagia Sophia”, which was known as “Church of Hagia Sophia” but recently got changed to “Grand Mosque of Hagia Sophia”. Sorry but I’m talking about something that happened 500 years ago. 

Ayodhya? Ram Lalla? Anyone? On this day, I can elaborate.

By the time Christopher columbus reached “India”, this story was already repeated multiple (40,000+)  times in the original India, where invading forces razed native temples and raised their monuments on those foundations. Luckily (or unluckily based on how you look at it), the native hindus were too many to be exterminated or converted. They outlasted the oppressive rulers. They persevered through centuries of outsider rule, continuing to fight for their rights, to protect their heritage and history, to ensure that their culture, history and religion doesn’t join the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, and hundreds of other civilizations that exist only in dusty tomes in libraries.  Or the likes of Yazidis, who are slowly being pushed into oblivion right now.

This is one such example of an unknown temple/mosque in my country. Observe the intricate architecture of the foundation and the plain dome on the top. Wonder what happened here?

I am not privy to the thoughts of the Lakota & Sioux on how they want to resolve the issue of “Six Grandfathers”. That is not my choice. My choice lies on the other side of the world. The Hindus, the largest group of “indigenous” & “Pagans” in today’s world, are taking back what was rightfully theirs. The temple that stood marking the birthplace of Prabhu Shri Ram, which was destroyed by the Uzbegi invader Babur, will be remade to reflect the civilization that is known today as Bharat. Prabhu Shri Ram is returning back to his birthplace Ayodhya (which is referred to as Awadh in all my history books – wonder what’s the logic there). The tireless efforts of the various leaders through the “centuries” is starting it’s culmination. 

Credits: https://twitter.com/karanacharya7

One of the earliest proverbs I learnt as a kid goes like this “నిజం నిప్పు లాంటిది”. It means “truth is like fire”. Like fire, concealing any truth will burn down the ones who try to do so. 

|| రఘుపతి రాఘవ రాజారాం, పతీత పావన సీతారామ్,
సుందర విగ్రహ మేఘ శ్యామ, గంగా తులసి షాలగ్రం.
భద్ర గిరిష్వర సీతారాం, భగత జనప్రియ సీతారామ్
జానకి రమణ సీతారామ్, జయ జయ రాఘవ సీతారామ్ ||

|| Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram Patita Pavan Sita-Ram
Sundara Vigraha Megha-Shyam Ganga Tulasi Shalagram
Bhadra Girishwara Sita-Ram Bhagat Janapriya Sita-Ram
Janaki Ramana Sita-Ram Jaya Jaya Raghava Sita-Ram ||

Jai Shri Ram

Vanavaasi Prabhu Shri Ram Credits: https://twitter.com/karanacharya7

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