Dear Priyanka ji,
The Ram Mandir is finally becoming a reality. We are now in the final countdown. More than a billion Indians consider themselves lucky to witness the amicable and legal settlement of a struggle to rebuild the temple that stands at the birthplace of Lord Ram, going on for almost 500 years. For your information, on the 5th of August, the 'Ram Mandir Punar Nirman Prarambh Samaroh' will begin with the placing of Shri Ram Shila - a 40-kilogram silver slab - in the sanctum sanctorum, following which, the construction of the Ram Temple will formally begin. The entire nation is coming together to celebrate what will be considered the most auspicious day for Hindus, nothing less than a grand Diwali!
I feel happy and proud to tell you that whether in power or not, since the beginning, BJP has had a single, crystal clear stand on the Ram janmabhoomi - मंदिर वहीं बनाएंगे!!
The Ram Mandir issue has always featured in every Lok Sabha manifesto of the BJP. From our tallest leaders to our grass-root karyakartas, everyone was extremely clear about the BJP's stand on the Ram Mandir. In contrast, the Congress has had various stands on various occasions. Their support towards the settlement of the Ram janmabhoomi dispute has only been the means to an end. It was an issue that they wanted to use over and over again. No wonder that just before the verdict of the 500-year-old dispute was to be announced by the Honourable Supreme Court, as a desperate attempt to sabotage the humongous efforts of countless Hindus, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal tried to create disruptions by linking Lord Ram to the upcoming elections. Why was he not pulled up then?
Let us begin with your great-grandfather, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whose idea of secularism was heavily inclined towards anti-Hinduism. Yes, the same Jawaharlal Nehru who in 1949 had locked up the shrine at Ram janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, disallowing worship at the site. He could have chosen to intervene and settle the matter amicably back then itself, but he chose not to.
It is a well-known fact that as Prime Minister, he also opposed the reconstruction of the ancient Somnath temple on grounds that it was embarrassing for a modern, secular nation. Why Priyanka ji, did Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru get embarrassed by the idea of restoring the Somnath Mandir? Why did he try to prevent the then President, Rajendra Prasad from inaugurating it?
In the year 1986, your father, the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi enacted a law in Parliament to overturn the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano triple talaq case. This blatant appeasement not only violated the sanctity of the country's highest court but was also discriminatory to Muslim women and non-Muslim men. This brazenness was received with a lot of resistance. Even his strongest supporters started questioning his intentions. The Shah Bano controversy had sparked off a nationwide uproar. But he remained adamant.
In 1989, the entire country was witness to the Ram temple wave. This put political pressure on the then Congress government. General elections were round the corner. In that situation, your father, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi grabbed the opportunity to shed his anti-Hindu image after the Shah Bano catastrophe and tried to lure Hindus with the promise of 'Ram Rajya'.
Forty years after the Ram janmabhoomi was locked down by his own grandfather, he reluctantly gave permission to Hindu organisations to lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple near the disputed site. I deliberately used the word 'reluctantly' because your father calculatedly chose not to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony. Why Priyanka ji, in spite of giving permission for the foundation stone to be laid at Lord Ram's birth place, did your father choose to stay away from the ceremony? Was it because he was only monkey balancing and trying to undo the damage that the immoral decision of overturning the Shah Bano judgement in the Parliament had caused to his image?
It didn't end there.
Your family continued to play with Hindu sentiments. Shockingly, just few years ago, in 2007, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the UPA government, filed an affidavit in court saying that Ram was a "mythical character" and that the Ramayana had no historical basis. The UPA government also refused to acknowledge the existence of the 'Ram Setu', which was built by Lord Ram, his warriors and an army of monkeys to cross over to Lanka to rescue Sita. The Ram Setu had been embroiled in controversy since 2005 after the then Congress-led government proposed cutting through it to make way for the Sethusamudram project.
Isn't it most unfortunate, Priyanka ji, that the party which has ruled our nation for decades, so easily tramples on the emotions of the 80% Hindu population in India by questioning the fundamental existence of Lord Ram and insisting that there is no scientific or historical evidence to prove His existence?
And today, when I saw your tweet showering heaps of praises on Lord Ram, I was astonished.
The flip-flop attitude of the Congress is amusing more than annoying. I was told that you actually brain-stormed with your team for several days before taking the decision on whether or not you should acknowledge Lord Ram and his birthplace.
Does faith have to be capitalized, Priyanka ji?
Does our belief in the divine have to be so calculated?
While so many questions about your true belief continue to remain unanswered, the grand Ram Temple will be a reality in just a few hours from now. With you, without you, despite you. And on the eve of what is going to be the most memorable day for every Hindu, very humbly I have just this to say to you - Jai Shree Ram!
An Honest Ram Bhakt
Priti Gandhi is the National in-charge of BJP Mahila Morcha’s social media.
All views expressed in this article are the author's own.