On October 8, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left the millions of Twitter users amused after his video of performing a religious ritual (Puja) before Rafale jet in France circulated on social media.
Indian minister Singh was snapped performing Shashtra Puja reportedly for the protection of Rafale jets and securing it from the evil/bad eye as per Indian traditions. He performed the Shashtra Puja at the Merignac airbase near the city of Bordeaux in France, where he received the first of the French-made Rafale fighter jets.
— ചാത്തൂട്ടി (@chathootti) October 9, 2019
He accepted the handover at the facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation, in the presence of the French Minister of Armed Forces. The members of the top military brass of France, senior officials of Dassault Aviation and the makers of Rafale were also present during the Shastra Puja ceremony. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the Indian Air Force.
— Indian Electronic Army 🚀 (@7rick37) October 9, 2019
People who says it's our tradition, religious practice.. etc….
I would say India is a country where Muslim, Christian, Jain, Sikh, Hindu & many more people paying their Tax to raise the Country.
— Snehalata Singh (@sssnehaaaa) October 9, 2019
Shastra Pooja-known as Ayudha Pooja in South India- in which instruments, tools, and weapons are worshipped, is usually performed in Dussehra.
His religious ritual attracted attention on social media with many praising him for sticking to his religious belief. But memesters on social media had a field day posting their wittiest comments on the home minister’s decision to offer coconut, place lemons under tires and draw the symbol of ‘Om’ on the Rafale jet. A few netizens raised pertinent questions of enforcing Hindu traditions for a state-level activity when India is a secular country.
The minister even shared the pictures on his Twitter account and wrote that worshipping weapons on Vijayadashami has been an Indian tradition.
— Zaman Bajwa (@ZamanBajwaa) October 9, 2019
Taking to Twitter, Mr. Singh said, “Performed Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami. Worshipping weapons on Vijayadashami has been our tradition.”
On the occasion, Rajnath Singh asserted that it is ‘a historic day and shows deepening ties between India and France.’
#RafalePujaPolitics it’s a good sign to do Pooja of new vehicles and it’s completely understandable but, that’s a state property and not personal, as long as I recall the state is a secular state and not a religious one pic.twitter.com/YXXMHlslKk
— Mohammad rabbani (@rabbanimoham) October 9, 2019
“Rafale will add to the strength of IAF. Our focus is to enhance the capability of IAF. We are sure that all timelines would be adhered to, be it jets or weapon systems,” Mr. Singh said.
Mr. Singh also went for a sortie in the aircraft, a process that was also carried out to test the India-specific adaptations made.