The newly consecrated Ram temple at Ayodhya stands tall, in all its glory on the banks of the Saryu river. Apart from the city getting a makeover, India, that is Bharat, is also imbued with a heightened spiritual fervour. A laser focus on building the temple in the divine memory of Ram Lalla (the child Ram) after the demolition of Babri mosque, stands fulfilled via a judicial verdict.

Buoyed by the love tsunami for Ram Lalla after the recent grand inauguration, there are ripples of euphoria generated by the feelings of a mission accomplished. This could well be called ‘The Temple Effect’, which joins the pantheon of other recognised ‘effects’ like the ‘Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Domino Effect’.

No quibble with this ferment of love as long as it is not matched with an equally virulent storm of hate for the ‘other’. Ram is embedded in the minds of all Hindustanis as an ideal king and a ‘maryada purushottam’ (an ideal human). To display a proprietary attitude towards Ram diminishes our vibrant and always hyphenated north-Indian ‘Ganga-Jamuni’ culture.

‘Ramayana’ and the glory of Ram spread across the oceans in South-east Asia centuries ago via Buddhist monks. Ayutthaya, a sister city in Thailand, is named after Ayodhya and ‘Ramakien’, a national epic, is influenced by Valmiki’s Ramayana. That is the glory of India we must celebrate, with its amazing religious, linguistic , topographic diversity and cultural ‘soft power’.

But if we go from sublime to the ridiculous, then there is reason to worry. An inaugural flight to Ayodhya had the staff dressed up as Ram and Sita. The passengers were greeted with Jai Sree Ram. And to add to this nautanki flavour, the Bengal wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) approached the Calcutta High Court’s Circuit Bench to hear their appeal against the co-housing of a lion named Akbar and a lioness named Sita in the same enclosure at Siliguri’s Safari Park.

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is ‘love jihad’ carried forward to the animal world! We mustn’t forget that Akbar is a name to be celebrated in our lived history for his all-encompassing Deen-e-Ilahi. He also happened to have a Hindu wife, Jodha Bai. Do we now erase or rewrite history and re-name her ‘Zahida Begum’ so that there is no love-jihad case slapped against Akbar in retrospect?

Do people know that Akbar’s mother Hamida Banu kept with her a beautifully illustrated copy of ‘The Ramayana’ translated into Persian from the original Sanskrit. It is kept now in the Museum of Islamic Art, in Doha ( Qatar). Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shahjahan, translated sixty ‘Upanishads’ into Persian along with ‘Bhagwat Gita’ and ‘Atharva Veda’.

Imagine the loss of our cultural richness if Mughal contribution to our arts, literature, architecture and music is expunged from our cultural memory through ‘whitewashing’ of curriculum in school textbooks. History can not be put on a Procrustean bed to drive a certain narrative. It is a frozen past that can not be thawed and served as ‘photo-shopped’ history.

The Temple Effect is seen as a powerful trope in the prelude to the looming general elections. There is a temple-run most parties are flaunting to be seen as the rightful inheritors of true Bharat. It has also started a Domino Effect of renaming in myriad areas. From states, cities, roads, stadiums, airports, railway stations, an endless supply of kosher names is available for the asking.

If we carry this new ‘namkaran’ to extreme lengths then we are on a slippery slope. The iconic film’ Amar Akbar, Antony’, promoting religious harmony, will now be ‘Amar (read backwards the word is Rama), Sita, Lakshman’.

Both the Bhakti and Sufi movements along with the Sikh Gurus will have to be sanitised. Bapu’s favourite bhajan, ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram’, has these uplifting lines: “… Rama Rahim Karima samana/ Hama saba hai/unki santana…” . Do we edit these now?

The ruling dispensation has to sit up and take notice that a bunch of folks in the Opposition have more names resonating with Ram rather than they do. The erstwhile President of Congress, Sitaram Kesari has a double barrelled name (with the right colour in his surname) but he is safely dead.

But they still have the articulate Sitaram Yechuri of the CPI-M and the suave Jairam Ramesh of the Congress party to deal with. With Kamal Nath appropriating the lotus pond, the Bharatiya Janata Party needs to rename (an art they specialise in) some of their leading members or perhaps persuade this pack to cross the floor (another skill honed considerably). Hey Ram! Is all I can utter.

Ushi Kak writes satire. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.