Analysis

Yogi Adityanath to attend Ram-Sita wedding fest in Nepal next month; its opposition parties, however, cry foul

Madhur Sharma

Yogi-adityanath

It has been reportedly confirmed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will travel next month to Nepal’s Janakpur to take part in Vivah Panchami, a festival that celebrates Ram and Sita’s wedding.

They would be part of an age-old tradition in which saints and pilgrims travel each year from Ram’s Ayodhya to Sita’s Janakpur as baratis to take part in the wedding celebrations of Ram and Sita.

Yogi Adityanath and Rajnath Singh would be accorded a traditional welcome by the provincial chief minister Mohammad Lalbabu Raut Gaddi, who would present them with traditional kurta, dhoti, gamcha, and Mithila Paag, Mithila region’s traditional headgear, as per various reports.

However, not everyone has taken to the development well. Bimalendra Nidhi, vice-president of Opposition Nepali Congress and a former deputy prime minister, called a sudden press conference this week and raised his objections. Nidhi criticised Adityanath’s participation, who he said was an advocate of the restoration of Hindu monarchy in Nepal.

‘If the federal government has invited Adityanath, this is a matter of national shame,’ The Kathmandu Post quoted him as saying. The paper further quoted Nidhi as saying, “Adityanath has been lobbying for the restoration of the Hindu state and bringing back monarchy in Nepal, and, therefore, his visit to Janakpur has the potential for stoking political instability.”

Sachchidanand Mishra, publisher of Himalini, a Hindi monthly published from Kathmandu, told Swarajya that the senior Congress leader was not particularly against Yogi Adityanath taking part in Vivah Panchami, but to speculations that he might be inaugurating Janakpur-Jaynagar Railway Corridor, which was earlier slated to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It is something that the senior Central ministers from the two sides should be doing. But if a provincial chief minister of India does that, that will be a serious breach of protocol and amounts to undermining Nepal’s sovereignty,’The Indian Express quoted Nidhi as saying.

Mishra told Swarajya that the inauguration may now be postponed because of protests concerning Adityanath, and Modi’s unavailability.

It is interesting to note that Yogi Adityanath shares an important connection with Nepal and his elevation as the UP Chief Minister roused great interest in Nepal. Adityanath is the head of Gorakhnath Mutt, whose presiding deity Gorakhnath is widely revered across Nepal. The mutt remains a compulsory pilgrimage for many in Nepal, including the erstwhile royal family that traces its origin to Gorakhnath, as per traditions. Both Kings Birendra and Gyanendra (the last king) were devoted to the mutt. King Birendra had himself driven to the mutt from Kathmandu in 1992.

Originally published on swarajyamag.com on 24 November 2018

Published on Lokantar on 25 November 2018

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