Ayodhya and the Economic Growth

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 Karsevak Puram: Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya will boost many
other economic activities in the temple town

 The proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya will attract a large number of tourists and will boost the economic growth of the country

 Sudhansu R Das

The Supreme Court ended the centuries old dispute over Ram Janmabhoomi by recognising Ram Lalla as the legitimate legal heir of the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya. The landmark judgment is expected to boost religious tourism in the country that could bring jobs to millions from both Hindu and Muslim communities.
Over centuries, The Ramayana has deeply influenced many classical painting traditions, culture and literature in entire Asia. The classical Patta Chitra and palm leaf paintings of Odisha, the Chittaras folk paintings of Karnataka, the Pahari paintings of North Indian states, the Garhwal paintings of Garhwal, the Kangra paintings of Himachal Pradesh, the Cheriyal paintings of Telangana, the Tanjore paintings of Tamil Nadu, the Pahad and Rajput paintings of Rajasthan etc., depict interesting episodes from The Ramayana with natural colours extracted from minerals and leaves. The Ramayana has also inspired many a painting traditions in Asian countries. The Lai Thai paintings of Thailand, the Balinese paintings of Indonesia and the Wayang Kulit art of Malaysia etc., relive the episodes from The Ramayana with interesting details.
Today, the paintings with the Ramayana themes are a multi-billion-dollar trade which can earn huge foreign currency for the country. Thousands of Hindu and Muslim artisans across the country earn a living by painting the episodes from the Ramayana on clothes, wood and on wall surface. Many of the Ramayana painting traditions have been transformed into classical forms that have a huge demand in the global market. An interesting episode from the Ramayana made with Odissi style on a 30 sq feet tassar cloth base can fetch 10 to 15 lakh rupees in foreign craft bazaar. The cost varies depending on the quality of the painting. A veteran artist can breath life into the figures of human, animals and plants. Both humans, animals and birds express various finer emotions through classical Odissi dance bhangis (postures). The public representatives should make an attempt to understand the artistry in the Ramayana paintings and save the art forms.
Ramayana is popular under different names in many countries. In Japan, it is called Hobutsushu and Sambo Ekotoba, in Philipines, it is known as Maharadia Lawana, in Indonesia, it is called Kakawin Ramayana, in Laos, it is known as Phra Lak Phra Ram, in Indonesia, it is called Kakawin Ramayana, in Malaysia, it is called Hikayat Seri Rama, in Cambodia it is called the Ramkerti, in Burma, it is called Yamayana, The tales of Ram are popular because Lord Ram’s living style was close to the villagers, forest dwellers, hill tribes, farmers and artisans. He lived in caves and small hamlets eating simple food of the forest dwellers. Lord Ram is shown as the embodiment of good governance in The Ramayana. He spent 14 long years with ordinary people experiencing their day to day problems. His way of living made him a good king. Millions of people take inspiration from the Ramayana. Lord Ram’s life shows the transformation of an innocent prince into a benevolent king. Today, the world community lacks leaders who have experienced pain and sufferings of the common man.
The proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya will attract a large number of tourists who will be interested in buying paintings and religious artefacts.The Apex Court has asked the government to start the construction of the Ram Temple within three months and it has asked the UP Government to give five-acre land to the Muslims in Ayodhya for building a mosque. There is an urgent need for a grand museum which will preserve the artefacts: idols of Jai, Vijai, black Kasauti stone pillars, a stone slab with the inscription, stone carvings of Varah Bhagwan, images of Garuda, neem tree, the Bhandara (kitchen), Ram Chabutra, idols of Panchmukhi Mahadev, Parvati and Nandi, images of Shesh Naag and Hanuman, a remnant of Sitakup etc. Ayodhya also needs a Ramayan research centre to let scholars understand the principles of good governance enshrined in the epic Ramayana. Let Ayodhya be the link between history and description.
(The writer is a Hyderabad-based columnist)