A Trip Back in Time: How People Talked About Rahul Easwar Before 2021
Rahul Easwar is an Indian right-wing activist, philosophy author and orator from Kerala. He is an executive member of Munnokka Samudaya Samrakshana Munnani. He is also the secretary of the Hindu Parliament.
Easwar is the son of Easwaran Namboothiri and Mallika, and grandson of Kandararu Maheshwararu, senior supreme priest of Sabarimala. He was the winner of Malayalee House, an adaptation of the reality television competition Big Brother. He has given talks at TEDx IIM, TEDx SRM and TEDx NMIMS.
Easwar belongs to the Thazhamon family of Sabarimala tantris (priests) and was among those who spearheaded the protests in Sabarimala. As the president of the ‘ Ayyappa Dharma Sena’, Easwar had said they had a contingency plan to force the closure of the temple by spilling blood on its premises by some devotees in case any woman in the ‘barred’ age group managed to reach it.
An alumnus of the London School of Economics, Easwar has appeared often on TV debates as a panellist, most recently to defend the ban on women between the age of 10-50 on entering the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala.
On social media, he describes himself as “Gandhian, Centre-Right, Pro-Hindu, Pro-Christian, Pro-Muslim; Pro-INDIA, Proud Hindu”. He has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support his campaign to “Save Sabarimala” and “Save Hindus” and has extended his gratitude to the BJP, RSS and Amit Shah for their support in the protests against the apex court verdict.
A right-wing activist, Easwar has been in news before too, when he shared pictures of himself with Hadiya and released controversial ‘love jihad tapes’ where she is seen arguing with her mother over her rights to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim. ‘Love Jihad’ is a term coined by right-wing outfits to describe marriages of Hindu women with Muslim men, alleging forced conversions of women to Islam.
In March 2017, the Kerala High Court had annulled the marriage of Hadiya, born Akhila Shokan, to Shafin Jahan, after her father had alleged his daughter was forced to convert. The Supreme Court, in March this year, overturned the order.
Easwar had then supported Hadiya and her decision to marry out of her own choice, inviting much ire from her father who filed a complaint against him for releasing the video and breaching his trust. Knowing that he belongs to the family of the Sabarimala tantri, Hadiya’s father had permitted him to speak to her. He later accused Easwar of being a tool of “terrorist organisations” to convince the world that Hadiya continues to live as Muslim, reported The News Minute.
In 2015, Easwar’s car was damaged and his path blocked by some students after he refused to lend support to a ‘beef festival’ being organised in various colleges in Kerala to protest against the Dadri lynching incident. On the basis of a complaint lodged by Easwar, police registered a case against 25 students of the Milad E Sherif Memorial College in Kayamkulam.
When Kerala Government decided to give the Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram award to artist M. F. Husain in 2007, Easwar initiated a campaign against him for alleged anti-Hindu sentiments resulting in the retraction of the award. Easwar has conducted campaigns for tribal rights in Kerala and was arrested along with a thousand members of the Malayaraya Tribal Community.
Easwar protested against Travancore Devaswom Board, in favour of letting members of the Malayaraya Scheduled Tribe (ST) community light the makaravilakku light at Sabarimala. He was detained by the police for planning the protest.
Easwar defended Mata Amritanandamayi over the controversies related to allegations made by Gail Tredwell. He also congratulated the Travancore Royal Family for victory in the Padmanabha Swamy Temple issue[clarification needed] and wishes to free all temples from government control. Easwar articulated the difference between Makara Jyothi and Makara Vilakku, bringing closure to a long-standing controversy. He and MLA P.C George were engaged in the legal battle for the rights of the Malayaraya Tribals who were involved in the 'Makaravilakku' in Sabarimala. In July 2016, during an interview about the mistreatment of temple elephants, Easwar pointed that temples have financial incentives to entertain crowds, which often results in the use of elephants for the spectacle. The root cause of the mistreatment, he believes, is a lack of spiritual education. "Our temples have become carnival spaces and tourist places, devoid of spiritual meaning and content."
Easwar recommended as a reform, one-hour Saturday spiritual education for Hindus, similar to Friday for Muslims and Sunday for Christians. He supports the cultivation of "Secular Hindu unity" in Kerala. He went to court against the hate speech by Hindu leader Sadhvi Prachi against the Muslim community.
He proposed that "Hindu majority consolidation should not be anti-minority and it should be inclusive. He also quoted DGP Siby Mathews, that more than 80% of suicides are among Hindus, as opposed to just 8% Muslims, saying that a well organised religious majority would come to the rescue of these individuals".
Easwar was selected as Flag Ambassador of Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation which aims at National integration. He was attacked by a group of left-wing students from Milad E Sherif Memorial College for his anti-beef festival & cow protection stance.
They attacked and vandalized his car. Easwar received many death threats when he was a guest for Jamat-e-Islami religious harmony function in Kochi. NIA investigation held that ISIS was targeting some Hindu leaders and Muslim organisations in the state, who had condemned the terrorist outfit.
Easwar received threats for visiting Hadiya and Madani. A complaint was filed by KM Ashokan, whose daughter's marriage was annulled by the High Court over the controversy of forcible religious conversion. Easwar released the video of Hadiya saying that her life is in danger and the Supreme Court took note of it when it was raised and it later secured her release from captivity.
Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice also expunged the allegations against Easwar. Easwar welcomed the entry of all believers to the Sabarimala temple irrespective of religion. He also supported the priesthood for all beyond caste. Easwar and Tushar Vellappaly, son of Vellapally Natesan demanded an anti forced conversion law in Kerala.
Females of age 10 to 50 are prohibited from entering the Sabarimala temple because the resident deity, Lord Ayyappā is practising celibacy (Naiṣṭika Brahmacārya) and childbearing women may sway him away from his vow. In September 2018, after a 20-year legal challenge, the Supreme Court lifted the ban, against the will of most female Ayyappā devotees.
Easwar and his group Ayyappa Dharma Sena (ADS) protested the decision and threatened to have Ayyappa Dharma Sena members cut themselves to spill blood on the temple floor, which would have forced its closure.
Easwar was arrested for inciting violence and rioting near the temple complex during the protests. He was initially denied bail over concerns that he would return to Sabarimala to continue the protest. Later, he was given bail but re-arrested for defying bail conditions.
A link to his Twitter Handle @RahulEaswar , and His Bio From His Twitter handle " Philosophy Author & #Hindu Activist. Alumnus - London School of Economics, IIM(A); featured in BBC, CNN, New York Times, Sputnik Russia.. Guinness Winner & TEDx"
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