New Delhi: Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik, who was mostly in news for his J&K stint, will urge the Ayodhya temple trust to place idols of Kevat and Shabri who helped Ram reach Ayodhya.
“The day the trust is made I will write a letter to it urging them to install idols of the people who fought with him, on the side of truth. That is the true India,” Malik said. The Goa Governor said that he was not afraid of any controversy on the topic and said that the temple will neither be “complete nor grand” if the idols of adivasi and lower caste people who helped.
In the various versions of the Ramayana, Shabri has been depicted as a tribal woman who received Ram’s vision as a blessing. When Ram was looking for Sita, he met Shabri who fed him berries grown in her neighbourhood. To check whether the berries were good, she first ate those and then offered to Ram. This pleased Ram and he blessed her with his vision. It was Shabri who told Ram to take help from Sugriva. Since Shabri, as the name suggests (hunter), belonged to a lower caste, the story has its own share of controversies.
Kevat, too, is a name that defines the profession: a boatman who ferried Ram, Lakshman and Sita across the Ganga. As a fare, Ram offered him a ring which Kevat refused saying that people belonging to the same profession don’t charge each other. Then he explained that while he ferried people in the river, Ram ferries people across the ocean of life.