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Voice of Unheard

Surat; Devotees start to play Hanuman Chalisa twice a day, a pushback begins

Oct 19, 2021

It has been 8 months since the first recital of Hanuman Chalisa took place on loud speakers in temple in Surat. It all started in Soni Faliya in Surat where Desai ni Pol is situated. Shri Sainath Yuvak Mandal, a youth organisation, decided to recite the Hanuman Chalisa twice a day, in the morning and in evening on loudspeaker. This has created a pious, religious atmosphere in the region

It is not necessary that the loudspeakers are kept on temples only. Some residents have also provided space for facilitating the recital of Hanuman Chalisa. Timers are set and in morning and in evening, during the time of Aarti, the Hanuman Chalisa is played.

Here are the visuals from Surat’s Aazad Nagar area where recital was held. In the video below, one can hear recital of Hanuman Ashtak

Local residents of Surat say that people of other religion use loudspeakers for their call of prayer and any objection to the same is scoffed at and looked down upon. Whereas Hindus these days hardly wear their religious identity on their sleeves because inIndia we are made to hide it to keep up the show of so-called secularism. “Hindus have restrictions while others can announce their religion on loudspeaker,” said Yagnesh Patel, a Surat resident and Bajrang Dal sanyojak, while speaking to OpIndia.

People of certain community gather every Friday and even take up public spaces to assert their religious identity. In Surat, we have weekly Satsangs at 15 locations as of now where they come and recite Hanuman Chalisa. This way, we are trying to create awareness about our Dharm and spread positivity in the atmosphere. This is our only aim,” Patel said.

We do not block roads and cause inconvenience to people. We sit on the space outside the temple and carry out Satsang every Saturday for some time. This makes everyone feel closer to the religion,” Patel added.

Over time, people have started appreciating the efforts and more and more people have started taking part in the prayers and satsang. This is not limited just to Surat, but even other parts of Gujarat have embraced Hanuman Chalisa recital. Other than the local Hindutva groups like Shri Sainath Yuvak Mandal, women’s group of Durga Vahini and Matru Shakti also join in the satsang.

The Hindu Pushback

Across India, the azaan, Islamic call for prayer, is blared on loudspeaker five times a day, the first one being played way before sunrise between 5-6 AM. Even Islamic countries discourage the use of loudspeaker for azaan for Fajr (morning) namaaz, or use only internal speakers for the same. In India, however, any such comments on use of loudspeakers for azaan is referred to as ‘bigotry’ and ‘Islamophobia’ – many times by the ones who refer to themselves as liberals and seculars.

No court or government in India has dared to go against this so as to preserve the so-called secular fabric of India. Police, often end up taking action against those who complaint about usage of loudspeakers instead. When those who are tasked with maintaining law and order situation and protecting interests of all individuals equally end up showing such soft stand only towards people from particular community so as to not to ‘offend’ them, it does not go unnoticed. People cannot just ignore or pretend not to notice the tectonic shifts in definition of ‘secularism.

When the Hindus have started reciting Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers, it is more of a symbolic pushback. That they are not taking law into their own hands and cutting off electricity of mosques or removing the loudspeakers forcibly. The Hindus are just bringing a semblance of justice and equality that needs to be maintained. Similar symbolic protest was seen in Gurugram recently where residents decided to sit on streets to recite bhajans against illegal occupation of community ground for ‘namaaz offering’.

What is good for Paul should be good for Parvez and what is good for Parvez should be good for Prafull.

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