Written by Shiv Prakash
Vijayadashami marks the victory of Shri Rama over Ravana, the King of Lanka. This victory is celebrated across the country — the festival symbolises the victory of dharma over adharma and truth over untruth. In contemporary times, effigies of King Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarna are burned in several parts of the country. A theatrical adaptation of Ramlila is performed from the day Sharadiya Navratri begins till Vijayadashami.
Vijayadashami is also associated with the tradition of worshipping weapons, starting new work and undertaking positive initiatives. In Bharatiya culture, the worship of weapons and arms has special significance — to instil courage in society. The significance of weapons in our culture is attested by the fact that all deities carry arms. The world knows the crucial role played by Shri Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra and Lord Ram’s Sharang in establishing dharma. Chanakya, while emphasising the importance of weapons, said that “in a nation protected by weapons, discussion on Shastra can prevail”. Our deficit in weaponry contributed to our defeats to a range of invaders from the Mughals in medieval times to the Chinese in the 1960s.
In 1964, at the Patna session of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal Upadhyaya proposed that India should be a nuclear power. Seeing the hostile behaviour of the country’s neighbours, he stated that “all the deities in India are armed, the founder of Dharma Prabhu Shri Krishna is holding Sudarshan Chakra, then India should also be a nuclear-endowed nation”. After the first nuclear test in 1974 and the second such test in 1998 under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we asserted ourselves as a powerful nation with nuclear capabilities. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is undertaking defence reforms and equipping the country’s security forces with modern military technology. Establishing coordination within the three defence services, purchasing fighter aircraft like Rafale, providing fighter planes like Tejas, manufacturing indigenous defence weapons under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission and becoming an arms exporter – these decisions have instilled confidence in the armed forces.
We have also sent a message to the world about India’s capacity to take tough decisions — these include surgical strikes — to secure its borders. The world now looks at us as a responsible nation. It is also necessary for all citizens to be concerned about their security and defence. Young men and women will be taught self-protection techniques. We have to remain vigilant and continue our efforts to secure ourselves and strengthen the nation’s integrity.
The tradition of worshipping “Adishakti” from nine days before Vijayadashami is a testament to our devotion to feminine valour. The shloka — “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante Ramante Tatra Devata” — captures this ethos. However, a large section of women in the country does not receive their due. Let us pledge to give every woman an equal place in society, the country’s economic life and its polity. Women should also be equal participants in family decisions. They should feel safe anywhere at any time. The central government’s scheme – Pradhan Mantri Sukanya Samridhi — is commendable. The Modi government’s action on triple talaq is another laudable initiative toward women’s empowerment. By creating a sense of respect for the mother in society, the Nav Durga Puja would guide us towards this goal. Efforts also must be made to ensure that our culture is not left behind in the race for progress and modernity.
The tradition of fasting during Navratri is a testament to our belief that “there is power in devotion”. Internal cleanliness is needed for the body to develop the strength that gives us the power to fight enemies, both internal and external.
People’s power is the real power in a democracy. The forest-dweller played a key role in Lord Rama’s victory over Rama. Likewise, it is important to not overlook the awakening of the dormant power of the marginalised, backward sections and poor who live in the urban slums, villages and forests. The forces that divide society must be defeated.
The principle of victory of Dharma over adharma, truth over falsehood, and humanity over the demonic are fundamental to our culture. The mantra of “Satyamev Jayate” inspires us. We must take pride in our culture, while also participating in global welfare. That is the message of Vijayadashami.
The writer is national co-organisation general secretary, BJP