UP Assembly elections: Mayawati faces off with Yogi Adityanath over Gorakhpur 'math': What the row is all about

A Twitter war broke out on Sunday when BSP chief Mayawati said that Uttar Pradesh chief minister should tell people that the ‘Gorakhpur ‘math’ is no less than a mansion’

FP Staff January 24, 2022 10:33:47 IST
UP Assembly elections: Mayawati faces off with Yogi Adityanath over Gorakhpur 'math': What the row is all about

File image of BSP chief Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

Twitter was abuzz on Sunday night as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati locked horns, exchanging bitter, personal attacks at one another.

The reason for the acerbic exchange: Adityanath’s Gorakhpur 'math'.

Here’s what happened and we attempt to explain the history of Yogi Adityanath’s math.

Sunday’s Twitter war

The exchange began after BSP chief Mayawati tweeted on Sunday that Yogi Adityanath should tell the people of the state that the 'math' where he lives most of the time in his constituency Gorakhpur is "not lesser than a big bungalow".

The tweet was in response to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s jibe at the Opposition, accusing his predecessors of building bungalows for themselves first after coming to power.

Mayawati in a string of tweets added that it would have been better if the chief minister had mentioned the contribution of the BSP-led government in providing housing for the poor and landless.

Her tweets didn’t go unanswered and it quickly devolved into a tweet war when the Twitter handle of the CM’s office responded.

One tweet from the UP CM’s office’s Twitter handle read, “On one hand, Chief Minister Shri @myogiadityanath ji Maharaj dedicated the government aircraft to protect the lives of the people of the state during the Corona period. On the other hand, sandals were ordered using the government plane, misusing state resources for personal splendour. The difference is clear!”

Quickly, another tweet came off the CMO’s handle that invited Mayawati to visit the Gorakhpur 'math'. “Behen ji! The memories of saints and revolutionaries of the freedom movement have been preserved in Shri Gorakshapeeth, the Tapobhoomi of Baba Gorakhnath ji… This centre of social justice is working for the welfare of all. Come sometime, you will find peace.”

Gorakhpur ‘math’

The ‘math’ which became the centre of the row between Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath is the Gorakhnath Math. It traces its origin to the 11th century monk Guru Gorakshnath, a yogi of the Nath Sampradaya — a Shaivite tradition within Hinduism.

Yogi Adityanath, who was earlier known as Ajay Singh Bisht, joined the ‘math’ in 1994. He joined the Nath Sampradaya, a faith named after Guru Gorakh Nath. He shaved his head, got his ears pierced to wear large earrings, donned saffron robes, and took a new name — Yogi Adityanath — at the age of 22.

The followers of the Gorakhnath 'math' are known as Kanphata yogis.

Kanphata Yogis are distinguished by the large earrings they wear in the hollows of their ears (kanphata, “ear split”).

They conduct 'cheera' or cut open the earlobes as a reminder to listen – not to the outside world, but only to their inner voice, or the voice of conscience.

The Gorakhnath Math has been a busy hub of political activities for decades. Mahant Digvijay Nath was a Congress member in 1921. He was arrested for “actively participating“ in the Chauri Chaura incident in which protesters clashed with cops.

After Independence, Digvijay was arrested for incendiary speeches against Gandhi before his assassination. He later led the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of 1949.

With inputs from agencies

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