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Chalisa politics: Uttar Pradesh gets Netaji Temple and 'Samajwadi Chalisa'
A few years ago, Bihar had a 'Lalu Chalisa' and this year, it is turn of Uttar Pradesh to have a 'Samajwadi Chalisa' to enhance public support and workers commitment during 2014 elections for the party and its supreme leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. It is the turn of the UP to do a Lalu to Mulayam along with deitifying the latter with a temple which is under construction.

AS WE know that in Hinduism Chalisa means a forty-verse prayer to be sung with devotion for getting boons. As religious and devotional tools, the Chalisa verses praise and plead with surrender one or the other deity as a matter of faith.

As a behaviour and belief shaping tool, Chilsa is recited repeatedly by a devotee or chanted by groups to become a part their collective persona. In Chalisa, the heroic acts and deeds of the deity are recalled as verses sung repeatedly so that the deity comes to the rescue.

'Samajwadi Chalisa' is already out, a Mulayam temple coming up in Uttar Pradesh to deitify the party leader. It was on November 22, Yadav's 74th birthday that the foundation was laid for a temple dedicated to him.

Commenting the new temple-trend in Tamil Nadu and Chalisa-trend in the north, a website post suggests, "Gods of heaven are propitiated by humans for personal gains. Dalits, who feel slighted by certain tenets of Hinduism, have found 'living' deities who may be beneficial to them and seem to have devised ways to propitiate them. After the 'new chalisa', all we need is a 'new Gita'. It could be called the 'Mulayam Gita' - a compilation of his utterances and mutterings."

It seems that our politicians have realized that the Chalisa-Temple mix can work as new political cult and create a stable vote bank. They have come to know the hitherto untapped potential of chalisa which is often chanted with a combination of concentration and devotion of the believers and works as a powerful tool of creating a deep faith. Social psychologists hold that collective recitations of verses develop belief -thinking and blind following, and Indian politicians have become the serious takers of this psycho-social technique.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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