With just hours to go for the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Monday, January 22, celebrities from the Malayalam film industry have taken to sharing images of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution on their social media handles. The move is a reminder — on the day the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seen to have fulfilled one of its most strident Hindutva promises — of the secular, socialist, and democratic values enshrined in the Constitution.
Several well-known Malayalam film personalities including actors Parvathy Thiruvothu, Rima Kallingal, Divya Prabha, Rajesh Madhavan, Kani Kusruti, directors Jeo Baby, Aashiq Abu, Kamal KM, Kunjila Mascillamani, and singer Sooraj Santhosh shared photos of the Constitution’s Preamble that says:
“We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India a into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all;
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
in our Constituent Assembly, this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949 do Hereby Adopt, Enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.”
Actor Parvathy Thiruvothu posted the preamble on Instagram with the caption "Our India," while Rima Kallingal reiterated the constitutional values of "justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity."
Director Kamal KM wrote, "WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens."
Filmmaker Aashiq Abu also highlighted the words "sovereign," "socialist", "secular", "democratic", and "republic" in the Constitution.
Even as thousands of people liked and shared the posts, appreciating the celebs' courage to speak up for the country's secular values, many right-wingers also abused the celebrities and accused them of being 'anti-Hindu'. Many also alleged that the initial version of the Preamble did not contain the term "secular," and that it was included later by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Last week, renowned Malayalam singer KS Chithra had received backlash on social media after she encouraged followers to light five-wick lamps at home and recite the Ram mantra in a video message. The incident led to visible political polarisation in Kerala, with those in secular circles criticising her for endorsing a temple built on the ruins of the Babri Masjid mosque. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, alleged that the criticism towards Chithra was part of an organised attack on the Hindu faith.
The consecration of the Ram temple or the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ is scheduled to begin at 12.20 pm on January 22 and is expected to end by 1 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a gathering of more than 8,000 people, including seers and prominent personalities, at the venue. Over 13,000 security personnel have reportedly been deployed. Bollywood stars including Vicky Kaushal, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Rajkumar Hirani, Mahaveer Jain, and Rohit Shetty are also among those attending the Ram Temple’s inauguration.
The inauguration today is seen as the culmination of the BJP and Sangh Parivar’s Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, which saw the demolition of the 16th century mosque Babri Masjid — built in 1528 by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur — by kar sevaks belonging to Hindu majoritarian outfits on December 6, 1992. The demolition, which happened as a result of a concerted Hindutva movement, resulted in communal riots over months, which led to over 2,000 deaths. The Babri Masjid has been a contested site since 1885 as religious leaders and Hindutva outfits considered it Ram Janmabhoomi or the birthplace of Lord Ram.
A legal fight ensued in 1950 when Gopal Visharad Sharma approached the Faizabad district court for the right to worship idols of Ram Lalla, which were placed there in 1949. On September 30, 2010, the High Court, in a 2:1 majority, ruled a three-way division of the disputed area between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla.
Nine years later, the Supreme Court granted the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land to deity Ram Lalla and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to allot five acres of land to Muslims for building a mosque. Though the Supreme Court referred to the mosque’s demolition as “an egregious violation of the rule of law”, the verdict was criticised for accepting the logic of “faith over fact” and granting legal possession of land to those responsible for the demolition.
Also read: In a series, TNM travelled back to the turbulent 1990s to see what impact the Ram Janmabhoomi movement had on south India. We found that Karnataka was as enthusiastic then as it is now about militant Hindutva. But the other states in the region weren’t entirely immune to the flames of hate.