Apr 5, 2017: Ram Navami Udjapon Samiti procession carrying weapons in Birbhum. Unfamiliar sight of sword-brandishing, saffron-clad men, women and children marching down the streets to celebrate Ram Navami, profiteering out of religious festivals and appropriating national symbols for private development. From processions with swords, spears and bows and arrows to bike rallies festooned with saffron flags, the shows of strength ruled the roads in numerous pockets of Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, East and West Midnapore, Darjeeling and Malda.
Sangh outfits took out rallies. shouting Jai Shri Ram and Har Har Mahadev rent the air as the processions wound their way through Bhowanipore, Dunlop, Garia, Kidderpore and New Town. India is a land of 33 crore gods. Someone worships Ram, someone else worships Rahim. Basanti Puja was always celebrated in Bengal. They must not try to appropriate festivals. These greedy and popular bhakts are mostly hybrid hindu with protective saffron masks, as for thousands of years, countless religious organisations have been conducting Ram Navami rallies there without need for such nationalistic grandeur.
Traditionally Ram Navami is known for the reading of Ramcharitmanas over nine days, starting on the first day of shukla Chaitra (the bright half of the lunar month) and ending on this day. There will be a purnaahuti or havan on Thursday at the temple. First time Calcutta is seeing a procession with people in red and gerua (saffron), wielding swords, shouting and on motorbikes. The feeling of bhakti was missing…. It was so different…. It was not something we are used to. It’s simply white-washing goons with ChorBhakt masks.