Hindu dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find. In Hindu religion, God is known by various names. ...I have accepted all the names and forms attributed to God as symbols connoting one formless, omnipresent Rama. To me, therefore, Rama described as the Lord of Sita, son of Dasharatha, is the all-powerful essence whose name inscribed in the heart removes all suffering —mental, moral and physical” – Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, June 2, 1946
Through the extraordinary Gazette notification dated February 5, 2020, the Government of Bharat paved the way for the reconstruction of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in a magnificent form, as per the direction of the Honourable Supreme Court. The creation of Sri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust is a historic step not just for the ‘management and development’ of the proposed temple but an action in direction of reviving the civilisational Bharat that aspire to guide the world about managing contradictions in a peaceful and democratic way.
The four hundred and ninety two years old struggle to liberate the Ram Janmabhoomi from the shackles of aggression was completed on November 9, 2019 with the unanimous Supreme Court decision. As per the orders, a trust was supposed to be created to which the entire area of 67.7 acre land was to be handed over within the period of three months. This was the land that was acquired by the Union Government under the Ayodhya Act, 1993. At the same time, the Sunni Wakf Board was to be given a land of five acre for construction of a mosque. Both these things were amicably achieved through a consultative decision. The way Government and entire society, barring some murmuring about the review petitions which were rejected by the Supreme Court, responded to the judgement is not just a symbol of democratic maturity but also a manifestation of the civilisational wisdom of our society.
The composition of the trust with a mandatory member from the Scheduled Caste community is another apparently symbolic but a vital decision. Sri Ram and his character, name and civilisational memories invoke a sense of belongingness for everyone connected with this ancient civilisation, irrespective of caste, way of worship and even the national identity. ‘Jai Sri Ram’ has been the chant that has always inspired us to stand up for the civlisational cause in a unifying manner. We cannot forget the fact that it was Shri Kameshwar Chaupal, a common Ram Bhakt from a Scheduled Caste, laid the foundation stone of the temple in 1986. A permanent representative from the Scheduled Caste community as a trustee in the Teerth Kshetra board is another resolve to defeat the divisive forces who wants to see Bharatiya society fragmented on various binaries.
Ayodhya and Sri Ram temple was never a struggle on religious lines; it was always about the national symbol and external aggression. It was always about reconnecting with the civlisational symbol of Sri Ram irrespective of way of worship. It is not just a matter of faith but the conviction about our national purpose – providing a sense of history, guidance for the present and objectives for the future. The ‘Teerth Kshtra’ – pilgrimage as it is rightly called does not mean for just the religious purpose but also for the national resolve to attain the condition of Ram Rajya as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi. When the annexing temples and diverting temple funds donated by the devotees for the other purposes is the growing norm, the Government has decided to keep the trust apolitical and the real devotees and practising Hindus are going to manage it is even more heartening fact. Maintaining the dignity and
heritage of the pilgrimage site will now be the collective responsibility of all the devotees.
While dedicating the Somnath Temple to the nation, the first President of Bharat Dr Rajendra Prasad remarked, “it is essential for us to understand this significant element of religion to understand further that there are many paths which can take one to the Almighty. Unfortunately, this aspect of faith was not correctly recognised in many castes, cultures and communities which led to massive destructions and wars in the name of religion”. The revival of Ram Temple is meant to resurrect this civlisational message of diverse paths to the same Almighty and all those paths being true and respectable. When the exclusionary and violent ideologies are trying to vitiate the atmosphere in some or the other pretext, let the Sri Ram Temple be a symbol of this civilisational message of Bharat. We should join the process and strengthen it in whichever way possible and take this ciivlisational message of inherent unity manifested in diversity forward.