India The Awesome Wrath of Rama

Religious nationalism threatens to bring down the government and splinter the country

The god Rama is worshiped by many of India's 696 million Hindus as the embodiment of chivalry and virtue. But it was Shiva, the god of destruction, who showed his face last week as thousands of Rama devotees marched toward a 462-year-old Muslim mosque in Ayodhya, a site holy to both Hindus and Muslims in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Shouting "Break the mosque! Break the mosque!" about 100 stone-throwing crusaders pulled plaster from the walls and planted saffron-colored flags atop the shrine before they were driven off by police and paramilitary troops armed with tear gas, riot sticks and...

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