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PM Narendra Modi, along with UP governor Anandiben Patel, at the foundation stone laying ritual in Ayodhya on Wednesday. (PTI)
PM Narendra Modi, along with UP governor Anandiben Patel, at the foundation stone laying ritual in Ayodhya on Wednesday. (PTI)

PM lays foundation for Ayodhya temple

  • Modi promises a grand temple in place of the 16th century Babri Masjid that stood on what the faithful believe is the spot where Lord Ram was born
  • The construction of the temple fulfils not only a cherished electoral promise of the BJP but also a demand for a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya that dates back centuries

For millions of Hindus, a long wait ended on Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, marking a historic accomplishment for his party and government.

Watched by hundreds in Ayodhya and millions around the country on television, Modi promised a grand temple in place of the 16th century Babri Masjid that stood on what the faithful believe is the spot where Lord Ram was born.

Indeed, the person of infant Ram—or Ram Lalla, who was a made a litigant in the long fight to build a Ram Janmabhoomi temple—was cited by Modi. Ram Lalla, who had been living in a tent for years, will finally get a temple of his own now, Modi said.

“Breaking and then rising again for centuries, Ram Janmabhoomi is free from that deviation now. Those who sacrificed and struggled, their dream has become a reality today," he said.

The construction of the temple fulfils not only a cherished electoral promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party but also a demand for a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya that dates back centuries.

This demand took the shape of a political campaign in 1984 when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)—an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which is the ideological parent of the BJP—started the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

The demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 marked a turning point in the history of Ayodhya, sparking Hindu-Muslim riots and a long- drawn legal dispute that finally ended in November 2019 with the Supreme Court awarding the land to a trust for building a Ram temple.

The thread of that recent history ran through the congregation of 175 at the ground-breaking ceremony that included Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, and Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust head Nritya Gopal Das, who consecrated the first bricks that will go into building the temple.

Modi said that it was an emotional moment for the entire country, not only for Ayodhya, and that every heart was illuminated today.

“We will have to keep everyone’s sentiments in mind. We have to ensure everyone’s development with the support and trust of all. I believe this grand Ram temple to be built in Ayodhya, like the name of Shri Ram, will reflect the rich heritage of Indian culture. I believe it will inspire the entire humanity till eternity."

“The construction of the temple is not just historic, but history is repeating itself...The way Dalits, deprived, tribals and every section of the country supported Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle; similarly, the entire country is standing united for the construction of the temple," Modi said.

“Ram’s life is the way forward for Gandhiji’s Ram Rajya. When we move forward, the country will move forward. This Ram temple will inspire and guide us for ages," the prime minister added.

gyan.v@livemint.com

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