After tinkering with ‘geography,’ by changing the contours of its political map and usurping Indian land, Nepali Prime Minister is dabbling in ‘history.’ Only this time, he has crossed the line between the sublime and the ludicrous by claiming that the "real" Ayodhya lies in Nepal, not in India, and that Lord Ram was born in Thori in southern Nepal.
Prime Minister Oli, whose recent diatribe had raised hackles in Delhi, has further accused India of appropriating the cultural icons of Nepal by weaving a false narrative that Lord Ram’s birthplace is in Ayodhya.
Speaking at an event on the birth anniversary of Nepalese poet Bhanubhakta in Kathmandu, Oli said that Nepal "has become a victim of cultural trespass and its history has been manipulated."
(Poet Bhanubhakta was born in 1814 in western Nepal and is credited for translating Valmiki's Ramayan into Nepali language. He died in 1868.)
‘‘India has created a 'fake Ayodhya'. Lord Ram's kingdom was not in Uttar Pradesh but in Nepal, near Balmiki Ashram in Thori", asserts Oli. ‘‘We also believe that deity Sita – who was born in Janakpur in Nepal, as mentioned in the Ramayana -- got married to Prince Ram of India,’’ said Oli as he went off the tangent again. ‘‘Actually, Ayodhya is a village that lies west of Birgunj in Nepal," he pointed out, adding that long-distance marriages were not possible at the time as there were no communication links or a rapid transit system.
He added that the Balmiki Ashram in Thori belonged to Panditji Ridi who performed the Putrishti Yajna for Dashratha, Lord Ram's father, to bless him with a son. "That place also belongs to Nepal," he said. He added that a place called Balmiki Nagar is presently in West Champaran district of Bihar, some part of which is also in Nepal.Condemning Oli for his remarks, BJP national spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said that the Left parties had played with people's sentiments in India, and the Communists in Nepal will be rejected by the masses in a similar manner. "Lord Ram is an article of faith for us, and people will not allow anybody, be it prime minister of Nepal or anyone, to play with this sentiment," he said in New Delhi.
The India-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.
Later, Nepal updated the country's political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating three strategically important Indian areas.
India termed as "untenable" the "artificial enlargement" of the territorial claims by Nepal.