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Explained: Hanuman Chalisa and Azaan row in Maharashtra

NEW DELHI: There will be no recital of Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Mumbai house ‘Matoshri.’
Politician couple Ravi and Navneet Rana has dropped their plan for the recital in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the city on Sunday.
But why did the couple plan to stage this unique protest outside CM Uddhav Thackeray’s house?
This is the latest in the chain of events in the controversy over use of loudspeskers at religious places.
How it all began
The Ranas seemed to be taking a leaf out of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s book.
Raj Thackeray’s had served an ‘ultimatum’ to the state government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3. He had threatened to play Hanuman Chalisa outside the mosques if the demand was not met. The BJP supported Raj’s demand.
Rana too had demanded that chief minister Thackeray read Hanuman Chalisa on Hanuman Jayanti “to rid Maharashtra of crises and attain peace for the state,” but Thackeray had “refused” to do so. They also wanted to ‘remind’ him of the ‘Hindutva’ he had allegedly abandoned by allying Shiv Sena with Nationalist Congress Party-Congress.
The political spin
Ex-Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar of the Shiv Sena said those who cannot win elections without the support of the BJP are now trying to foment trouble for Maha Vikas Aghadi government with such ‘nautanki’ (dramatics) to divert attention from the country’s major problems like inflation, fuel price hikes and unemployment.
“Their whole game-plan is to create disturbances in Maharashtra and impose President’s rule and declare Mumbai as a Union Territory ahead of the upcoming civic elections. They have no courage to do this in BJP-ruled states,” Pednekar said.
The Ranas claimed that they were not under any kind of pressure or scared by the Maha Vikas Aghadi or the Shiv Sena.
“This was not an agitation. We just wanted to go to the CM’s home and recite Hanuman Chalisa with full faith to remind him of the forgotten ideals of the late Shiv Sena founder the late Balasaheb Thackeray. We were stopped from going there, we were gheraoed, our Amravati home was attacked. But now we have withdrawn our plans,” Rana added.
The issue snowballs
Some Hindu organisations in Karnataka said they will carry out door-to-door campaigns against ‘Azan’ from Saturday across the state.
The campaign will be kick-started from Shivanahalli Circle in Rajajinagar locality of Bengaluru.
They have given a deadline till May 9 to vacate loudspeakers from mosques, failing which they will play out ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, ‘Shri Rama Jaya Rama mantra’ and ‘Omkar’ prayers from Monday 5 am in all temples across the state through loudspeakers.
A different note
The Sri Krishna Janmasthan Temple in Mathura voluntarily discontinued loudspeakers during recital of ‘shlokas’ and ‘mantras,’ following a direction from Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.
Earlier this week, Adityanath issued directives saying no permission would be given to anyone for installing loudspeakers at any new site.
“Though mikes can be used, make sure that nothing can be heard outside the premises. Other people should not face any problem,” he had stated.
However that did not go down well with some local residents and devotees, who said that putting off loudspeakers would rob the holy city of its character.
(With agency inputs)

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