Name: Ram (also known as Maryada Purushottam)
Son of: Dasharath
Address: Ayodhya (just settled by law)
Date of birth: Ninth day of Chaitra (celebrated across India as Ram Navami)
Phone number: Not known but omnipresent, considering our leaders will have us believe we live in “Ram Rajya”.
Mahant Ram Kumar Das had all the details required for an Aadhaar card but faltered on the biometric details of the Lord. That he shares the name of the Lord also did not help.
Das, the priest of Ram-Janki Virajman Mandir in Khurhand village of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, has claimed a government official had asked him to get an Aadhaar card in the name of Lord Ram when he applied to sell wheat grown on the temple land.
“The 40-bighas land on which we grow wheat and rice is in the name of the temple. Ownership details of agricultural land are required to sell produce to the government. The land technically belongs to Ram and Janki (Sita),” Das told reporters on Friday.
Das, who used to sell the produce from the land to local traders, had this year decided to take the wheat crop to the government’s Mandi Parishad, from where the state buys directly from farmers.
“We use the earnings from the land for the upkeep of the temple,” he said.
“Recently, I had registered online to sell the produce at the government-run booth (Mandi Parishad). However, the registration was cancelled by officials after a few days. When I met the sub-divisional magistrate, he said we needed to submit the Aadhaar number of the God (Ram),” Das said.
“We tried to get an Aadhaar card done in the name of Lord Ram but couldn’t because biometric verification of the God is not possible,” the priest added.
Valmiki’s Ramayana depicts Ram as having long arms whose middle fingers reach beyond the knees (ajanubahu) and Hanuman had described the Lord to Sita as one with “coppery eyes”, but such details are not enough in a technologically driven world that swears by the pinpoint precision of fingerprint and iris scans.
Sameer Shukla, an officer at the local Mandi Parishad, said: “Those who are shareholders of the produce can register to sell the crops. But we cannot accept the wheat of a temple as there is no provision for it. However, I don’t have any idea about this particular case.”
Asked if he had told Mahant Das to get the Aadhaar details of Lord Ram, Atarra sub-divisional magistrate Saurabh Shukla denied the claim.
“The purchase centres of the government are meant for buying grains from farmers. We don’t have any provision to buy the produce of a temple or a trust. And, I never asked him for Lord Ram’s Aadhaar card,” Shukla said.
The land of the 200-year-old Ram-Janki
Virajman Mandir had been donated to the shrine by some locals.
“There was a practice in the past of people buying properties in the name of gods. After the rules changed and it became mandatory to own land in the name of real people, villagers donated land bought in the name of gods to temples instead of applying for change of ownership,” Mahant Das explained.