By Invitation: Renaissance Day We Waited Decades For

By Invitation: Renaissance Day We Waited Decades For

What does Ayodhya signify? It signifies the return of Bharat to its ancient cultural roots. The renaissance of this civilisation means asserting our scientific temper with a spiritual dharmic base

Ratan ShardaUpdated: Monday, January 22, 2024, 03:09 AM IST
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The atmosphere in Ayodhya is full of devotional fervour. | PTI

In 1958, Mir Baqi, a general of the barbaric, Timurid, Babur destroyed the magnificent mandir of Bhagwan Ram and built a mosque in its place. The said mosque was called Janamsthan mosque for centuries while Hindus struggled to get it back to tell its own story. Supreme Court of Bharat went through scientific and historical data and concluded that there existed a temple below the Babri structure. The only thing that flummoxed the court was “why it was destroyed”. The land was handed over to Hindus based on solid evidence, not on faith as many detractors would like us to believe.

Various accounts of Islamic historians and the Islamic invaders themselves tell us that they considered it their duty to their faith that they must break idols and gain fame as “but-shikans”. The reason why they built mosques from the debris of temples and threw pieces of murtis in the steps of their mosques was to insult their subjects, the kafirs, and show them their place. One can read – ‘Hindu Temples What Happened to Them: The Islam Evidence’ by Sitaram Goel, not some Hindutva folklore.

An entire clan of Suryavanshi Kshatriyas from nearly 100 villages around Ayodhya refused to wear ‘pagri’ and footwear for 500 years till the Ram Mandir was liberated, is living proof of 500 years of Hindu struggle. The last struggle led by RSS, VHP and BJP in which the entire nation got involved began in 1983-84. This has resulted in a magnificent new Ram Mandir in the same place. We must remember it happened through the legal process, with one exception of bringing down the Babri structure by angry ‘karsevaks’ who saw continuous dilly-dallying by the governments for years. The legal battle had begun in 1887.

I am in Ayodhya for last two days. I have seen the transformation of the once decrepit town into a renewed temple town. The atmosphere is full of devotional fervour. The young and old are here to witness the renaissance of Ayodhya. This celebration is not against anyone, it is about snatching back one of the most sacred sites after five centuries of struggle. Somnath Mandir was rebuilt by a government initiative, though with public funds. This Ram Mandir was built by a huge people’s movement. A survey by Muslim Rashtriya Manch shows that despite all the hate-mongering 74% of Indian Muslims are in favour of Ram Mandir. The reason is that 99% of Muslims come from the same forefathers, not from the invaders. They converted for different reasons, the biggest being the force of the sword.

Compare Bharatiya conduct with the conduct of followers of Abrahamic religions. Christians and Muslims fought with so-called Pagans and each other. To prove their supremacy, they destroyed others’ places of worship. Those who won back their kingdoms converted those places of worship. Hagia Sophia was converted from a Church to a museum by secular Kamal Pasha, and then into a mosque by Islamists with a simple government fiat. The strangest such case is in Poland, where Polish people destroyed the magnificent Russian Orthodox Church building as they were Roman Catholic Christians.

What does Ayodhya signify? It signifies the return of Bharat to its ancient cultural roots. The renaissance of this civilisation means asserting our scientific temper with a spiritual dharmic base. We are about to witness the rise of Bharat in a pre-eminent global place in this cyclic nature of Kalchakra or cycle of time. The last ten years have already seen this upswing. We assert that we were not born 75 years ago with the role of the British as the midwife. We are a perennial civilisational that has at least 10,000 years of documented history. Ram Mandir is a sign of this new confident nation.

Many ‘sampradayas’ or sects of Sanatan or Hindu dharma do not treat Ram as Bhagwan; for them, he was Maryada Purushottam, a supreme hero who worked within the dharmic framework. That is, within the bounds of ethics, morality and duties expected of a good human being. Ram Rajya is a dharmic, not religious idea that treats every citizen as equal, gives justice to all, a state that doesn’t exploit its people and listens to its citizens; a state whose head of state is above suspicion. This is what Gandhiji expected when he dreamt of Ram Rajya.

Many people claim that we should worry more about public health and education than mandirs. We recall that Modiji had begun is term as Prime Minister by saying, Pehle shauchalay phir mandir.” This meant basic development is his priority. And we saw millions of toilets and homes being built that gave dignity to millions of marginalised and deprived citizens, especially women. Water by tap to crores of homes, free gas, Jan Dhan bank accounts and many such schemes, digital economy that saw the elimination of corruption – all these are the foundation of Ram Rajya. A large number of hospitals and unprecedented expansion of infrastructure have all come from a supposedly mandir-obsessed government. Let us look at the performance of secular governments wedded to social justice in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – the two states most impacted by the Ram Mandir movement. Nearly two decades of socialist secular governments saw their positions nose-dive to the pits of big states on the economic indices. Just eight years of BJP government saw UP leaping into the top league in nearly all indices, with the most important one being economic indices – number one in attracting investment and number two in GDPS.

Lastly, mandirs are growth engines of the Bharatiya economy. Not just places of worship, but centres of industry, commerce, centres of education, art and culture. They became dull religious places of worship under secular governments whose funds were exploited for secular purposes of government including supporting madrasas and churches. Their lands were usurped. They were not able to support smaller temples. While western industrial cities withered away with changes in technology – coal towns, textile cities, car cities – Manchesters and Detroits went down. None of the temple towns suffered this fate. Renewal of temple towns like Ujjain, Kashi and now Ayodhya has seen humongous growth of religious tourism, bringing unseen jump in the incomes of individuals from hawkers, and craftspeople to businessmen. Tourism is the biggest multiplier of employment opportunities with the lowest per capita investment.

January 22, 2024, thus signifies a new trajectory of growth for Bharat based on dharmic ideals. Let us all celebrate this day with spiritual abandon, discounting the nay-sayers who have failed to feel the pulse of the people who refused to be swayed by Western colonial ideas that should have been abandoned on 15th August 1947. Visit Ayodhya and feel the pulse.

Ratan Sharda is an active RSS member, who is also a commentator and TV panellist

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