PANAJI: Not a single individual belonging to the upper caste helped Lord Ram when he was banished from Ayodhya, as well as in his battle against Ravana for the return of Sita, Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik has said in his first official speech here, adding that only tribals, adivasis and lower caste people supported the Lord during his banishment.
"There are discussions across the country about building a grand temple in Ayodhya. A grand Ram temple will be built. Everyday, I listen to speeches of highly ranked mahants and saints. When they speak about their vision of the temple, they only speak about Ram lalla's statue and the Ram durbar," Malik said in his speech at the 2nd Adivasi Students' Conference held in Ponda town in South Goa district on Thursday, located 35 km from Panaji.
This was Malik's first public speech since he took charge as Goa Governor on November 3.
"No one speaks about an idol of Kewat and Shabari. When Ram's spouse, Mother Sita was kidnapped, Ram's brother was the king of Ayodhya. Not a single soldier, not one person came from Ayodhya came to his (Ram) aid. When he (Ram) walked all the way to Sri Lanka, all along the way there were only adivasis, tribals, only people from lower castes. Can anyone tell me whether anyone from higher caste fought along with him?" he said.
The ex-Governor of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, also said that when a trust would be constituted to plan the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, he would lobby for the installation of idols of Shabari, Kewat in the durbar hall of the temple, alongside the grand idol of Lord Ram.
Kewat refers to a boatman in Ramayana, who helped Ram, Sita and Laxman cross the Ganges river, while Shabari was an old tribal woman who was a devotee of Ram, according to sage Valmiki's epic.
"The day a temple trust is formed, I will write an official letter, saying that while the temple should have Ram's idol below, but in the Ram durbar above, all characters who helped Ramchandraji should be depicted... The tribals were responsible for making him Maryada Purshottam. It is because of your strength," Malik told the congregation of tribal students at the function organised by the Directorate of Tribal Welfare.