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Rajasthan: Jats upset with Modi for ignoring their folk deities

Members of a Jat social outfit also objected to the use of ‘khamma ghani’ as salutation by the PM.

jaipur Updated: Jan 18, 2018 22:23 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Jats,Narendra Modi
Prime minister Narendra Modi being presented a turban at a rally in Barmer. (PTI)

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Barmer on January 16, Jats in western Rajasthan are feeling ignored. The community feels the Modi paid too much attention to the Rajputs.

The PM was in Barmer to launch the “project commencement” of the Rs 43,129-crore refinery-cum-petrochemical complex at Pachpadra in Barmer.

Modi, in his speech, mentioned Rawal Mallinath, Saint Tulsaram, Mata Rani Bhatiyani, Nagnechi Mata, Saint Ishwardas and Saint Dharuji Megh. Most of the followers of these deities are Rajputs. The PM missed mentioning Khemababa, Ramdevji, Veer Tejaji, Saint Khetramji, Maa Aashapura and Saint Pabuji —folk deities Jats follow. It was pointed out by BJP MLA from Baytoo, Kailash Choudhary, on his Facebook page.

“Haan main manta hoon ki thodi chook zaroor hui (I concede there was a lapse). He could not mention folk deities such as Ramdevji, Khemababa, Veer Tejaji, Saint Khetramji, Maa Aashapura and Pabuji. But this is a lapse by the bureaucrats… a committee of bureaucrats collect information about local religious places and folk deities…,” the legislator wrote on his Facebook page as he thanked people who had come to the event in large numbers.

Another BJP leader, Priyanka Choudhary, who is Barmer urban improvement trust chairperson, also said the PM’s speech hurt community’s sentiments. However, she did not hold the PM responsible for it. “The local leaders suggested the folk deities’ names to the PM. The PM didn’t intentionally ignore some of them,” she said.

Former Barmer MP and Congress national secretary Harish Choudhary also criticized the PM for misusing the dais. “The PM should mention all folk deities and give equal respect to them,” he said.

Members of the Maharaja Surajmal Charitable Trust, a Jat social outfit, said they have registered the community’s anger before the leaders. “It looks as if the PM’s speech focused on pleasing one community. He should have either not mentioned any folk deities or mentioned all. He hurt our sentiments by ignoring our deities,” said Khetaram Comrade, member of the trust.

He also objected to the use of ‘khamma ghani’ as salutation by the PM. “Khamma ghani is a feudal salutation – the subjects used this to address Rajput kings. A normal Rajasthani uses ‘ram ram sa’ to greet people,” he added.

However, Kailash Choudhary diluted the row over ‘khamma ghani’ by saying that the use of the salutation was a sign of the PM’s greatness. “The word was used by the people to greet their king in the ancient times. The PM, despite being on the highest level of governance, greeted the people with it. This shows his greatness, I salute him for this,” Chouhdary wrote on the FB page.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 22:23 IST