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Ram temple: first step towards a Ram rajya?

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The Bhoomi pujan and foundation stone laying ceremony for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, is scheduled to take place between 12.30 and 2.00 pm today with a colourful ceremony, as informed by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust's General Secretary Champat Rai. Prime minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone, and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, UP Governor Anandiben Patel, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and president of the temple construction trust Mahat Nrityagopal Das will be on the dais of the function which will be telecast live by state-owned Doordarshan.

Although no opposition leader's name is in the invitee list, Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the opposition Indian National Congress – the party that at one time was instrumental in clearing the hurdles for Ram Temple construction – has said that the ground-breaking ceremony should be seen as "a celebration of national unity, fraternity and cultural affinity" of the country. Earlier Congress leaders of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh had also issued statements welcoming the construction of a Ram Temple. Soon after the Supreme Court on 9 November 2019 issued its verdict in the Babri-Ramjanma Bhoomi title case in favour of construction of a Ram mandir, a meeting of the Congress Working Committee presided over by Congress President Sonia Gandhi , had issued a resolution that the party respected the court judgement and it supported the construction of a temple in Ayodhya.

None of the opposition parties, including the left parties, had denounced the court verdict or demanded that the Babri masjid should be rebuilt. For that matter, none of them had raised any serious objections either against delaying the Babri demolition case without a judgement for so long. It is significant that even when the foundation ceremony is being held, the criminal case of mosque demolition, in which leading BJP-RSS figures are accused, is being dragged indefinitely with no imminent end in sight.

Muslim platforms and organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had from the very beginning of the legal battle, taken a stand that the Supreme Court word on the masjid land ownership dispute would be honoured, regardless of it being in favour or against them. They all kept their word and chose a path of peace and restraint. Although eminent jurists did point out the contradictions and inconsistencies in the verdict, no responsible entities from the Muslim side came forward for a review petition. With the entire power machinery under the control of the sangh parivar, Muslim outfits had an inkling that the temple would be built on the very land where the masjid had stood once. When the government offered a compensatory land of five acres for the construction of a mosque, as directed by the court, Muslim collectives were not prepared to accept it. However, it is the Sunni Central Wakf Board and the Shia Wakf Board - bodies cobbled together by the BJP government in UP – who took over the land lying in a village far away from Ayodhya, and have declared that they would take up some projects there.

If one is not averse to calling a spade a spade, one thing is clear: with the consolidation of the Narendra Modi government for a second term with a sizeable majority in the Centre, the Hinduisation of the Indian nation, is in the process of becoming complete. Although the constitution of the country envisions the nation as a secular democratic republic, power at the centre and in most states have now been won by those who have rejected that principle in theory and practice. Even the opposition which rules other states do not challenge the fundamental policies of the Modi government. All they only insist on is the states getting their financial dues.Even when it comes to the question of victimised and underprivileged Muslim minority, currently and mainly in the core issue of citizenship, the Opposition is either scared of or hesitant on adopting taking strong positions.

Meanwhile, the central government, using the favourable circumstances of Covid restrictions, has been busy incarcerating social activists who were involved in anti-citizenship law protests. One may wonder which secular party has come forward to point its finger at such steps? Now it is one year since the crucial midnight when the state of Jammu & Kashmir was stripped of its status of a state and declared a centrally administered territory and all political leaders, except those of BJP were put in jail with even their telephone lines disconnected. And which of the political parties of the country did dare raise its voice against this blatant denial of fundamental rights of Kashmiris? In such a scenario, there is little point in parties - who claim to be secular - wasting their time in laughable wrangling about who let the BJP grow. Such verbal duels are to be seen as nothing but vain exercises to divert attention from their shortfalls and failings. Whatever be be said by any one, the temple construction undertaken at a cost of billions, is set to be completed at record speed. But that will not be a step towards the building of a Ram rajya of Gandhiji's dream as a symbol of unity, amity of all religions and mutual love. Going by the record so far, it is the part of a planned move to put the largest minority of the country in a status of second class citizenship with fear and uncertainty. But if that is not the intent driving the temple construction, the minorities do not have any quarrels about any one building a temple anywhere.

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TAGS:Babari mosquebhumi pujaAyodhyaRam Temple
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