Jai Shri Ram

Jai Shri Ram (or Jai Shree Ram, Jaya Śrī Rāma) is an expression in Indic languages, translating as "Glory to Lord Rama" or "Victory to Lord Rama".[1] The proclamation has been used as an informal greeting[2] or as a symbol of adhering to Hindu faith[3] or for projection of varied faith-centered emotions, by Hindus in recent past.[4][5][6]

A statue of the Hindu deity Rama

The expression was used by the Indian Hindu nationalist organisations Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their allies, which embraced the slogan in the late 20th century as a tool of increasing the visibility of Hinduism in public spaces and went on to use it as a war cry. The slogan has since then been employed for perpetration of communal violence against people of other faiths.[28]

Antecedents

Religious

Photojournalist Prashant Panjiar wrote about how in the city Ayodhya, female pilgrims always chant "Sita-Ram-Sita-Ram", while the older male pilgrims prefer not to use Rama's name at all. The traditional usage of "Jai" in a slogan was with "Siyavar Ramchandraji ki jai" ("Victory to Sita's husband Rama").[29] A popular greeting invoking Ram is "Jai Ram ji ki" and "Ram-Ram".[1][29]

The phrase "Jai Shri Ram" has been used as a greeting between people, irrespective of religion.[30][dubious ]

Rama symbolism

The worship of Rama increased significantly in the 12th century, following the invasions of Muslim Turks.[27] The Ramayana became widely popular in the 16th century. It is argued that the story of Rama offers a "very powerful imaginative formulation of the divine king as the only being capable of combating evil".[31] The concept of Ramrajya, "the rule of Ram", was used by Gandhi to describe the ideal country free from the British.[27][32]

The most widely known political use of Ram began with Baba Ram Chandra's peasant movement in Awadh in the 1920s. He encouraged the use of "Sita-Ram" as opposed to the then widely used "Salaam" as a greeting, since the latter implied social inferiority. "Sita-Ram" soon became a rallying cry.[33]

Journalist Mrinal Pande states:[27]

The slogans raised... were never about Ram as an individual, let alone a warrior. They were about the duo: Bol Siyavar or Siyapat Ramchandra ki jai [victory to Ram, Sita’s husband]."

Coinage

In the late 1980's, the slogan "Jai Shri Ram" was popularised by Ramanand Sagar's television series Ramayan, where it was used by Hanuman and the monkey army as a war cry when they fought the demon army of Ravan in order to free Sita.[34]

The nationalistic organisation Vishva Hindu Parishad and its Sangh Parivar allies, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, used it in their Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement.[34][35] Volunteers at Ayodhya at the time would write the slogan on their skin, using their own blood as ink to signify their devotion. The organizations also distributed a cassette named as Jai Shri Ram, containing songs like "Ram ji ki sena chali" (transl. the army of Rama is on the move) and "Aya samay jawano jago" (transl. the time has come for the martial youth to arise). All the songs in the cassette were set to the tunes of popular Bollywood songs.[36] Kar sevaks, led by the Sangh Parivar allies, chanted the slogan when laying a foundation east of the Babri Masjid in August 1992.[37]

A 1995 essay published in Manushi, a journal edited by academic Madhu Kishwar, described how the Sangh Parivar's usage of "Jai Shri Ram", as opposed to "Sita-Ram", lies in the fact that their violent ideas had "no use for a non-macho Ram."[27] This also mobilised more people politically, since it was patriarchal. Further, the movement was exclusively associated with Ram's birth, which had occurred many years before his marriage to Sita.[38]

The Hindu nationalist portrayal of Ram is warrior-like, as opposed to the traditional "tender, almost effeminate" Ram that has been in popular perception.[39] Sociologist Jan Breman writes:[40]

It is a 'Blut und Boden' (blood and soil) movement which aims to purify Bharat (the Motherland) from foreign elements.... The damage that the nation sustained is, to a significant extent, the consequence of the gentleness and indulgence that the people showed in the face of the repressive foreigners. The softness and femininity that came to be dominant in Hinduism, a change that was wrought by the cunning machinations of the enemy, now must make place for the original, masculine, powerful Hindu ethos. This explains the warlike, extremely aggressive character of the appeal for a national revival launched by the advocates of Hindutva. An interesting aside here is that the greeting 'Jai Siya Ram' has been transformed into the battle cry 'Jai Shri Ram' ('Long live Lord Ram'). The Hindu supreme god has assumed the form of a macho general. In the original meaning, 'Siya Ram' had been a popular greeting of welcome in the countryside since time immemorial... The Hindu fanatics have now also banished her from the popular greeting by changing Siya to 'Shri' (Lord), thereby suppressing the feminine element in favour of masculine virility and assertiveness.

Usage

Violent incidents

In 1992, during riots and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the same slogan was raised.[41][42] Former BBC Bureau Chief Mark Tully, who was present at the site of the Masjid on 6 December, recalls the usage of the slogan "Jai Shri Rama!" by the Hindu crowds rushing towards the mosque.[43] In June 1998, 300 copies of the New Testament were taken from the students of a Christian school in Rajkot and burned amidst shouts of the slogan. In January 1999, the slogan was heard again when Australian missionary doctor Graham Staines was burned alive with his two children in Manoharpur, Orissa.[16]

In the events leading up to the Godhra train burning of February 2002, supporters of the Gujarat VHP and its affiliated organisations like the Bajrang Dal forced Muslims to chant "Jai Shri Ram" on their journey to Ayodhya,[44][better source needed] and on their return journey, they did the same at "every other station", including at Godhra. Both journeys were taken in the Sabarmati Express for the ceremony at the Ram Janmabhoomi.[45][46] During the 2002 Gujarat riots that followed, the slogan was used in a leaflet distributed by the VHP to encourage Hindus to boycott Muslim businesses.[47] "Jai Shri Ram" was also chanted by the mob that attacked and killed Ehsan Jafri, a former Member of Parliament from Ahmedabad. He was also forced to chant the slogan before he was brutally murdered.[48] The slogan was also heard from the mob during the Naroda Patiya massacre.[49] The slogan then evolved as a means of "survival" for Hindus living amongst Muslims.[50]

The victim in the 2019 Jharkhand mob lynching was forced by the mob to chant "Jai Shree Ram" and "Jai Hanuman".[51] All India Democratic Women's Association, the women's wing of CPI(M), alleged that the perpetrators of the Gargi College molestations were chanting the slogan.[52]

During the 2020 Delhi riots, rioters were reported to have kept chanting "Jai Shri Ram" while beating their victims.[53][54] The police were also found to join in the chant while siding with the Hindu mobs. The Muslims were told Hindustan me rehna hoga, Jai Shri Ram kehna hoga (transl. "If you want to stay in India, you will have to chant Jai Shri Ram").[55] Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, writing in Time, commented that the slogan had become a "racist dog whistle" against Muslims during the riots.[56]

There have been some reports of violent incidents being associated with the slogan, in which the allegations were later found to be false.[62] In June 2019, a group of prominent Indian citizens wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to put a stop "to the name of Ram being defiled" as a war cry. They demanded that strict action be taken against using the slogan for violent purposes.[63]

Politics

In June 2019, the slogan was used to heckle Muslim MPs as they proceeded to take their oath in the 17th Lok Sabha.[64] In July that year, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen stated in a speech that the slogan was "not associated with the Bengali culture",[65] leading to some unknown groups publishing his statement on billboards in Kolkata.[66] The slogan has also been used to heckle West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on multiple occasions, triggering angry reactions from her.[66][67]

Other uses

The slogan is painted on the walls of a mandir[a] in a house in the 1994 film Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!.[68] It is used as a salutation in the 2015 film Bajrangi Bhaijaan.[69] A 2017 Bhojpuri film, Pakistan Me Jai Shri Ram depicts the hero as a devotee of Ram who enters Pakistan and kills terrorists while chanting the slogan.[38] Stickers stating Hello nahin, bolo Jai Sri Rama (transl. "Don't say hello but say Victory to Rama") became popular on the vehicles and telephones of people running small businesses.[36] A 2018 song, "Hindu Blood Hit", features psychedelic repetitions of the slogan and goes on to warn Indian Muslims that their time is up. Another song from 2017, "Jai Shree Ram DJ Vicky Mix", hopes for a time in the future in which "there will continue to be a Kashmir but no Pakistan".[3]

Following the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram Temple, Ayodhya, in August 2020, the slogan was used as a chant in celebrations.[70] The slogan was used by lawyers after the 2019 Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute.[71]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Prayer room in this case.

References

  1. ^ a b "The Hindu chant that became a murder cry". BBC News. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  2. ^ Menon, Kalyani Devaki (6 July 2011). "Notes". Everyday Nationalism: Women of the Hindu Right in India. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 190. doi:10.9783/9780812202793. ISBN 978-0-8122-0279-3. JSTOR j.ctt3fj1wh.
  3. ^ a b Poonam, Snigdha (13 February 2020). "The 3 Most Polarizing Words in India". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  4. ^ Ramachandran, Tanisha (1 March 2014). "A call to multiple arms! protesting the commoditization of hindu imagery in western society". Material Religion. 10 (1): 54–75. doi:10.2752/175183414X13909887177547. ISSN 1743-2200. S2CID 198533567.
  5. ^ "Modi's party will grow stronger in West Bengal". Emerald Expert Briefings. 20 August 2019. doi:10.1108/OXAN-DB245910. ISSN 2633-304X.
  6. ^ Dasgupta, Amlan (2006). Bakhle, Janaki (ed.). "Rhythm and Rivalry". Economic and Political Weekly. 41 (36): 3861–3863. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4418675.
  7. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (July 2003). "Communal Riots in Gujarat: The State at Risk?" (PDF). Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics (17): 3. doi:10.11588/heidok.00004127. ISSN 1617-5069.
  8. ^ Breman, Jan (1993). "Anti-Muslim Pogrom in Surat". Economic and Political Weekly. 28 (16): 737–741. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4399608.
  9. ^ Suresh, Mayur (1 February 2019). "The social life of technicalities: 'Terrorist' lives in Delhi's courts" (PDF). Contributions to Indian Sociology. 53 (1): 72–96. doi:10.1177/0069966718812523. ISSN 0069-9667. S2CID 149871474.
  10. ^ Menon, Nivedita (2002). "Surviving Gujarat 2002". Economic and Political Weekly. 37 (27): 2676–2678. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4412315.
  11. ^ Engineer, Asghar Ali (1992). "Sitamarhi on Fire". Economic and Political Weekly. 27 (46): 2462–2464. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4399118.
  12. ^ Nussbaum, Martha C. (1 November 2008). "The Clash Within: Democracy and the Hindu Right". Journal of Human Development. 9 (3): 357–375. doi:10.1080/14649880802236565. ISSN 1464-9888. S2CID 144724807.
  13. ^ Staples, James (2 November 2019). "Blurring Bovine Boundaries: Cow Politics and the Everyday in South India". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 42 (6): 1125–1140. doi:10.1080/00856401.2019.1669951. ISSN 0085-6401. S2CID 210542995.
  14. ^ Gupta, Charu; Sharma, Mukul (1996). "Communal constructions: media reality vs real reality". Race & Class. 38 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1177/030639689603800101. ISSN 0306-3968. S2CID 143896219.
  15. ^ Austin, Dennis; Lyon, Peter (1993). "The Bharatiya Janata Party of India". Government and Opposition. 28 (1): 36–50. doi:10.1111/j.1477-7053.1993.tb01304.x. ISSN 0017-257X. JSTOR 44484547.
  16. ^ a b Sarkar, Sumit (1999). "Conversions and Politics of Hindu Right". Economic and Political Weekly. 34 (26): 1691–1700. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4408131.
  17. ^ Sarkar, Sumit (1993). "The Fascism of the Sangh Parivar". Economic and Political Weekly. 28 (5): 163–167. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4399339.
  18. ^ Ludden, David; Ludden, Professor of History David (April 1996). Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1585-4.
  19. ^ Rambachan, Anantanand (20 April 2017). "The Coexistence of Violence and Nonviolence in Hinduism". Journal of Ecumenical Studies. 52 (1): 96–104. doi:10.1353/ecu.2017.0001. ISSN 2162-3937. S2CID 151615231.
  20. ^ Gudipaty, Nagamallika (2017), "Television, Political Imagery, and Elections in India", in Ngwainmbi, Emmanuel K. (ed.), Citizenship, Democracies, and Media Engagement among Emerging Economies and Marginalized Communities, Springer International Publishing, pp. 117–145, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-56215-5_6, ISBN 978-3-319-56215-5
  21. ^ Mazumdar, Sucheta (1995). "Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India". Feminist Review (49): 1–28. doi:10.2307/1395323. ISSN 0141-7789. JSTOR 1395323.
  22. ^ Schultz, Kai; Raj, Suhasini (5 January 2020). "Masked Men Attack Students in Rampage at University in New Delhi". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  23. ^ Brosius, Christiane (2005). "Hindutva's Media Phantasmagorias". Empowering visions : the politics of representation in Hindu nationalism. Anthem Press. p. 95. ISBN 1-84331-134-8. OCLC 52566622.
  24. ^ Brosius, Christiane (2007). "The Unwanted Offering. Ubiquity And Success Of Failure In A Ritual Of The Hindu Right". In Hüsken, Ute (ed.). When rituals go wrong mistakes, failure and the dynamics of ritual. Numen. 115. Brill. ISBN 978-90-474-1988-4. OCLC 928981707.
  25. ^ Ghassem-Fachandi, Parvis (1 August 2009). "Bandh in Ahmedabad". Violence: Ethnographic Encounters. Berg. ISBN 978-1-84788-418-3.
  26. ^ Salam, Ziya Us. ""Jai Shri Ram": The new battle cry". Frontline. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  27. ^ a b c d e Daniyal, Shoaib (28 June 2019). "'Jai Shri Ram' might be a new slogan – but the use of Ram as a political symbol is 800 years old". Scroll.in. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  28. ^ [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]
  29. ^ a b Panjiar, Prashant (19 October 2019). "From Jai Siya Ram to Jai Shri Ram: How Ayodhya erased Sita". ThePrint. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  30. ^ Kumar, Raksha (29 March 2020). "Jai Shri Ram: the three words that can get you lynched in India". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  31. ^ Pollock, Sheldon (1993). "Ramayana and Political Imagination in India". The Journal of Asian Studies. 52 (2): 261–297. doi:10.2307/2059648. ISSN 0021-9118. JSTOR 2059648.
  32. ^ Menon, Dilip M. (16 January 2018). "Not just indentured labourers: Why India needs to revisit its pre-1947 history of migration". Scroll.in. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  33. ^ Lutgendorf, Philip (1991). "The Text in a Changing Society". The Life of a Text: Performing the Rāmcaritmānas of Tulsidas. University of California Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-520-06690-8.
  34. ^ a b Dutta, Prabash K. (13 July 2019). "Jai Shri Ram: A slogan that changed political contours of India". India Today.
  35. ^ Naqvi, Saba (30 June 2019). "From Siya Ram to Jai Shri Ram". The Tribune. India. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  36. ^ a b Mazumdar, Sucheta (1995). "Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India". Feminist Review (49): 10, 14, 26. doi:10.2307/1395323. ISSN 0141-7789. JSTOR 1395323.
  37. ^ Ghimire, Yubaraj; Awasthi, Dilip (15 August 1992). "Ayodhya controversy becames [sic] BJP's most effective battering ram during two successive polls". India Today. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  38. ^ a b Menon, Aditya (28 June 2019). "Jai Shri Ram: How a Chant Became A War Cry for Attacking Muslims". TheQuint. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  39. ^ Agrawal, Purushottam (1994). "'Kan Kan Mein Vyape Hein Ram': The Slogan as a Metaphor of Cultural Interrogation". Oxford Literary Review. 16 (1/2): 256. doi:10.3366/olr.1994.010. ISSN 0305-1498. JSTOR 44244508. ...it has been argued that the Ram of the traditional Hindu religiosity is tender, almost effeminate, as opposed to the warrior-like Ram of Hindu nationalist discourse. In fact, Ram, the 'Vibhava Purusha' of popular perception, is 'as tender as a flower' and at the same time, 'as strong and fierce as the Vajra- the ultimate weapon of destruction used by Indra' (this description is rendered by Tulsidas himself), and is perpetuated as such in incessant readings of various forms of the legend and in the annual performances of the Ram Lila.
  40. ^ Breman, Jan (1999), "Ghettoization and Communal Politics: The Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in the Hindutva Landscape", in Guha, Ramachandra; Parry, Jonathan P.; Beteille, Andre (eds.), Institutions and Inequalities: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille, Oxford University Press, p. 270, ISBN 978-0-19-565081-5
  41. ^ Shankar, Ravi (31 December 1992). "Babri Masjid demolition: When men in saffron bandanas struck screaming the name of Ram". India Today.
  42. ^ D'Costa, Jasmine (2017). Matter of Geography. Mosaic Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-77161-247-0. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  43. ^ Tully, Mark (22 November 2017). "The Reinvention of Rama". India In Slow Motion. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 978-93-5118-097-5.
  44. ^ "Janmorcha Report". Crime Against Humanity (PDF) (Report). 1. Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002. p. 253.
  45. ^ Bose, Raja (6 March 2002). "Lord Ram has given me new lease of life". The Times of India. Ahmedabad. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  46. ^ Punwani, Jyoti (2002). "The Carnage at Godhra". In Varadarajan, Siddharth (ed.). Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy. Penguin (India). pp. 46–50. ISBN 978-0-14-302901-4.
  47. ^ "The Hindu call to arms". The Telegraph. 17 June 2002. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  48. ^ Bunsha, Dionne (2006). Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat. Penguin Books India. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-14-400076-0.
  49. ^ Sharma, Radha; Pandey, Sanjay (1 March 2002). "Mob burns to death 65 at Naroda-Patia". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  50. ^ Mukherjee, Amit (17 March 2002). "Shops in Gujarat wear religion on their sleeve". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  51. ^ "The Hindu chant that became a murder cry". BBC News. 10 July 2019.
  52. ^ "'They shouted Jai Shri Slogans': CPI's women's association on thugs involved in Gargi College 'mass molestation' case". Free Press Journal. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  53. ^ Saaliq, Sheikh; Sharma, Ashok (26 February 2020). "Communal Violence Over India's Citizenship Law Leaves 20 Dead Amid Trump's Visit". Time. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  54. ^ "Death Toll Rises to 24 From Delhi Riots During Trump Trip". The New York Times. Associated Press. 25 February 2020. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020.
  55. ^ Shroff, Kaushal (25 February 2020). "Delhi violence: Cops shouted "Jai Shri Ram" with armed Hindu mob, charged at Muslims". The Caravan. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  56. ^ Ayyub, Rana (28 February 2020). "Narendra Modi Looks the Other Way as New Delhi Burns". Time. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  57. ^ "FAKE ALERT: News of Muslim boy set ablaze for not chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' is fake - Times of India". The Times of India. 29 July 2019.
  58. ^ "Was a Nepali man humiliated and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram? Here's the story". Free Press Journal.
  59. ^ Chatterjee, Swasti (4 July 2019). "Was An Ice Cream Seller In UP Thrashed For Not Chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'?". www.boomlive.in.
  60. ^ Chatterjee, Swasti (28 May 2019). "Was Mamata Banerjee Greeted With Jai Shri Ram Chants Outside the West Bengal Assembly?". BOOM.
  61. ^ Kumar, Abhishek (18 July 2019). "Aligarh, Unnao, Kanpur violence was not communal, UP DGP busts lies about Jai Shri Ram attacks". India Today.
  62. ^ [57][58][59][60][61]
  63. ^ Joy, Shemin (24 July 2019). "'Jai Shri Ram' has become a war-cry: Celebs write to PM". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  64. ^ "'Jai Shri Ram' to 'Allahu Akbar': Frenzied slogans in LS as MPs take oath". The Week. Press Trust of India. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  65. ^ Kundu, Indrajit (6 July 2019). "Jai Shri Ram is not associated with Bengali culture: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen". India Today. Kolkata. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  66. ^ a b "Posters With Amartya Sen's Remarks On "Jai Shri Ram" Slogan In Kolkata". NDTV.com. Indo-Asian News Service. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  67. ^ "People chant 'Jai Shri Ram', Mamata calls them criminals". Deccan Chronicle. ANI. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  68. ^ Ghosh, Shohini (2000). "Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!: Pluralizing Pleasures of Viewership". Social Scientist. 28 (3/4): 85. doi:10.2307/3518192. ISSN 0970-0293. JSTOR 3518192. The characters enter and exit the house by first paying respects to the mandir whose walls are inscribed with "Jai Shri Ram"... This is undoubtedly a 'feelgood' scenario for the Sangh Parivar.
  69. ^ Onial, Devyani (6 August 2020). "From assertive 'Jai Shri Ram', a reason to move to gentler 'Jai Siya Ram'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  70. ^ "Bhajans, Jai Shri Ram chants at Times Square to celebrate 'bhoomi poojan' at Ayodhya". Hindustan Times. Asian News International. 6 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  71. ^ "Watch: Supreme Court lawyers chant 'Jai Shri Ram' after Ayodhya verdict". Scroll.in. 9 November 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

External links