In the recently debated no-confidence motion what captured my imagination was not the hug of Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister but the utterance of “Jai Shri Ram” in the temple of democracy. Some members of ruling party were prodding Rahul Gandhi to say “Jai Shri Ram” whereas Rahul Gandhi gave no response to that call.The issue that disturbed me was not whether it was right for ruling party  members to call for such recital or what should have been Rahul Gandhi’s response.The uneasiness came from the fact that Lord Rama is much more than simply being name of a Hindu god.The beauty of Lord Rama lies in his character not in his name.

Lord Rama can be simply described as a man who displays perfect moral as well as social behaviour. Lord Rama, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, is “the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband and above all, the ideal king”. He is a symbol of the victory of right over the evil. Lord Rama characterizes how a man should fulfill his moral commitments and should strictly follow his limits so that social order can be maintained.It is precisely due to this fact , he is known as “Marayada Puroshattam” or “The man of limits”.

Our society realizes the strong value system that revolves around Lord Rama. It is precisely the reason that in a typical Hindu household, Ramayana is favoured for recitation as compared to Mahabharata or for that matter any other Hindu epic.Family members are socialized to be selfless, honest , courageous and maintain highest standards of integrity.Each recital of Ramayana is intended to make family members , especially the children, aware of the importance of inculcating virtues in life.However, this value system gets diminished when the same children enter the public discourse.

Indeed, there is a discontinuity in what household teaches the children in the name of Lord Rama and what adults are doing in the name of Lord Rama. Our society is today facing huge moral crisis. The menace of corruption, dishonesty, violence and deceit are new normal in our public discourse. The incidents of rape are increasing, corruption is entrenched at all the levels and violence is becoming acceptable in our society. It is here where we need Lord  Ram again with us to tell us that it is his character that we need to debate today and not his name.

Lord Ram is not about “Hindu identity” but about “Hindu values”. If he wanted to spread Hinduism, he could have converted all the Rakshasas into his own clan after killing Ravana. But he preferred not to do so. The fight was over principles and not over identity of the two parties involved in the war. They are the same principles on which we need to fight today rather than fighting over identity. The principles of truthfulness, integrity and honesty need to be rejuvenated in our society and obsession with the identity needs to be reduced.

Corruption is not a Hindu value then how can land of Lord Rama bear with corruption to such a great level. Why are we not bringing Lord Rama to debate of  corruption. Lord Rama was a selfless king who thought of his people before thinking about himself. In today’s world this philosophy has been turned on its head. Follow your self interest and leave the rest. The countries like Japan have followed the Hindu Values of commitment in a much better fashion than the Hindu land has done. The result is clear Japan is able to move much more swiftly to achieve its social and economic goals than India is able to do so. In real terms, Japan is able to have a social order more near to “Ram Rajya” than India has.

Ram was a one-woman man with great love for his wife Sita. He resisted any temptation that could come in the way of his love for his wife. How can a society that worships such a man be a witness to increasing crime rate against women. Is not rape contrary to Hindu values? Yes, it is. Then why is it increasing? Because people today remember only the name of Lord Rama and not his “Dharma”. The “Maryada” which Lord Rama had set is being violated regularly. Can those who flout this “ maryada” be called Hindu? Being Hindu means utmost respect for women who play the crucial role of holding the society together. Sadly, her rights are being violated again and again in this land of Lord Rama.

India desperately needs to reinvigorate its Hindu values and leave aside the identity issues. The land of Bharata needs to work on the basics of its foundation rather than get involved in superficial arguments. We need a social order that is honest , committed and shows highest standards of integrity. While it needs change both at systemic and individual level, it is the individual level that can be the initiator for the larger change. India needs to create high moral standards and that is where we need to fight hard. If Indians are able to embrace the core Hindu values, many of our problems will get banished. I just hope that coming Diwali, Indians will take values of Lord Rama more seriously than his name.

Jai Shri Ram!