Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath completed the foundation-laying ceremony of the guesthouse for pilgrims from his state in Shri Badrinath Dham, Uttarakhand on Tuesday (17 November). Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was present at the ceremony and attended the related rituals.
Adityanath thanked the Rawat-led Uttarakhand government for providing the land for the building of the guesthouse for the yatris from UP. Adityanath described Uttarakhand as his ‘janmabhoomi’.
He hails from Uttarakhand and has spent the early years of his life in the state.
More importantly, he mentioned that Rawat has helped Uttarakhand and UP in settling long-winding disputes — particularly the matter relating to the Alaknanda Hotel in Haridwar, and the building of 'Bagirathi'. It is a guesthouse near the Alaknanda Hotel for the yatris of Uttar Pradesh which will be dedicated to the people of UP before the beginning of the Haridwar Kumbh in 2021.
In Shri Badrinath Dham, Adityanath said that the guesthouse will be dedicated to the people of UP, who will contribute to pilgrimage, traditions and strengthening tourism in Uttarakhand.
In the previous leg of his visit to Uttarakhand, Adityanath visited Shri Kedarnath Dham, to be part of the rituals and ceremonies associated with the closing of the portals for winter.
He said that he is visiting the Kedarnath Dham after a gap of 11 to 12 years. He mentioned that Rawat invited him to visit Sri Kedarnath Dham.
Adityanath and Rawat inspected the ongoing rebuilding efforts under projects initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention.
Adityanath spoke about the importance of the two pilgrimage destinations for Hindus from across India and said that the dhams go on to make Bharat. "Bharat ko Bharat bane mein madat karti hai," he said.
Adityanath doesn't usually talk about his own spiritual practice in his public life as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. However, during his brief media interaction in Kedarnath, he spoke about his own proximity to the abode of Shiva, and said that he used to experience "dham ke darshan" during his spiritual practice.
Rawat, habitually, stays behind visiting colleagues and this time, he literally stayed behind the man in saffron, following him, as the doli of Baba Kedarnath moved amid fresh snowfall, the sound of bagpipers, traditional percussion towards Ukhimath.
Shiva seems the guiding force of their cultural partnership. Shiva can and must continue to become the nurturer of the combined efforts of Adityanath and Rawat in giving the people of the two states, and Hindutva-nourished national integration, a rich and solid cultural legacy.
Aspects that are common could work in their favour in the remaining part of their tenure as chief ministers.
A quick list:
In three years of their leadership in UP and Uttarakhand, Rawat and Adityanath, without doubt, could have achieved much (more) in using the existing cultural and spiritual cusps to enrich the lives of locals and the visiting dharmic/bhakta.
Their combined strengths, ideas, temperament (what a range) and sincerity in binding people and regions have immense power.
This author feels that the two governments led by them could have added a lot more to Indic life built around and thriving in temples and temple life by thinking as one — outside the temples.
Underused cultural partnership — in all.
Let's look at the set of first four cultural interventions that require urgent attention, sharing and partnership.
In Teaching Uttarakhand The Power Of The Delicate Agarbatti
Adityanath encourages the disposal of flowers and leaves offered to Baba Vishwanath. Hours before he departed for Uttarakhand, for his visit to Kedarnath, Adityanath inaugurated agarbattis made from flowers grown at the Baba Gorakhnath mandir.
Last year, he launched a project for recycling the botanical offerings made at the Baba Vishwanath mandir.
Speaking at the second India-Nepal Bilateral Dialogue in Lucknow (jointly organised by India Foundation, Neeti Anusandhan Pratishthan — Nepal, and Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry) he had said that 50 women from a Naxal-affected village in Chandauli (eastern Uttar Pradesh) have been trained in the work of recycling flowers and leaves of dhatura and the bel tree that are offered to Shiva.
In all, two initiatives that have seen him use botanical offerings and flowers at temple ecosystems for the making of agarbattis.
Taking inspiration from this initiative could give Rawat a chance to offer solutions to a big set of problems being faced by the locals of the Kedar Valley — especially women. Making of agarbattis out of flowers grown in Uttarakhand and botanical offerings at Kedarnath mandir could become the turning point for women, who have been the sole earners since the 2013 floods.
Many women living in the villages of the districts, especially those of Devli Bhanigram lost their husbands and dear ones to the floods. Owing to their set of domestic responsibilities, they are cut off from direct involvement in livelihood options related to Shri Kedarnath Dham, and most likely will be, even in the coming years.
An opportunity that keeps them grounded in their village and next to children the entire day, while keeping them symbolically and meaningfully associated with livelihood and activity surrounding the mandir will cut their expectation and dependence on half-hearted non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It will set the beginning of a new change on ground with spurring opportunity, creativity and incomes.
Agarbatti is just one product and one element in a big set that could stir change in local economies that Rawat is already working on.
In Teaching UP That Rawness In Folk Narratives Is The Soul Of Culture
Uttarakhand continues to celebrate several spiritual milestones with local music forms of devotion, wind musical instruments, folk musicians and traditional percussion. Many of these are directly associated with rituals, temple life and local festivals.
During the rituals of the closing of the Shri Kedarnath Dham portals, and ceremonies at Shri Badrinath dham, the bagpipes form the core of local sound and music along with several traditional musical instruments. The rawness and its beauty are intact and preserved during the yatras dedicated to the devis.
Uttar Pradesh has an abundance of local music forms of devotion, wind musical instruments, folk musicians and traditional percussion. Inherent and living diversity seem absent in UP's celebration of historic cultural moments.
For example: days following the bhoomipujan and Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya should have resulted in a non-stop day-and-night sequence of keertan, local devotional music forms, and bhajans tuned to ragas (UP has classical music to call its own) katha vachan, mantrochharan, etc.
'Grand' doesn't mean employing cutting edge laser lights to wow the world — as seen in Ayodhya during the Deepotsava. Grand means character. Grand means glow. Grand means quality, exquisite, art, artistic, aesthetic. Grand means local that has the power to be global. Laser lights are an imported concept that best suit election victories and circuses.
In Building A Civilisational Movement With Ramlila Heritage
The UP government celebrated the Ramlila in Ayodhya this year.
This author appreciates the initiative from the Adityanath government in going for a version of the Ramlila that involved some popular actors from the entertainment industry.
The live telecast of the version beamed from Ayodhya fetched Doordarshan viewership and eyeballs. But eyeballs are a lame criterion for gauging civilisational value. There should be no hesitation in admitting that the version shown to dharmics the world over via a digital medium and television, from Ayodhya was light years away from being a true representation of Ayodhya.
What do Rawat and Adityanath have in their states when it comes to Ramlila? The world-renowned fine performances and living heritages — of Almora, Ayodhya and Ramnagar in Ramlila, and several versions that could take these three as inspiration for improved local versions.
It will not only firm up allied employment opportunities and boost local economies, but also help in deeper queries with Nepali culture.
If they tap the heritage Ramlilas in their remaining tenure to arrive at a cultural movement — just as Adityanath took Kumbh 2019 to the people, they would weave a political legacy worth reciprocation from people.
Haridwar 2021 Partnership For Strengthening Ground For Hindus From Pakistan
A partnership for providing the healing and spiritual fulfilment of Hindu refugees from Pakistan living in India should become the first cultural priority of these two leaders in the Kumbh 2021. Uttarakhand and then UP are the two main destinations for Hindus from Pakistan.
They become the reason for the excruciating, risk-prone travel of Hindus crossing over to Bharat. Kumbh 2021 should mark the beginning for a great partnership in giving the Hindus from Pakistan a tribute and a helping hand. Rawat has made a beginning. Adityanath must pitch in his success-backed mettle for tough tasks.
Temple life and people's life allied to pilgrimage — a stream of which nurtures Hindutva, needs the support of these two capable leaders governing two border states that are home to Ayodhya, the Chaar Dhams, Kashi, Mathura for pan-India cultural catapulting and weightlifting. Denying it would leave the opportunity for tacky event-managing from non-dharmics in power, and worse.
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