By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-25 18:30:27
It is now confirmed that the bhoomi pujan for the Ram Mandir at the site allotted to the Hindus in Ayodhya will take place on August 5. The VHP has confirmed that it has chosen the auspicious date and time after consulting priests all over India and has rubbished the claims of Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati that the date is "inauspicious" by saying that he has never supported any of its initiatives. The Prime Minister, along with several cabinet colleagues, is likely to attend and is likely to place the soil portions procured from several holy places across India at the spot. It remains to be seen whether L K Advani and M M Joshi (they have been invited), accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, will attend. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited Ayodhya today to place the idols of Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan on the new asanas in the Ram Janmabhoomi premises in Ayodhya and take stock of the preparations. He has promised "deepotsava" in houses and temples across UP.
As Ayodhya readies itself for the Big Day, there are several things that the government must ensure. First of all, it must ensure that the ceremony is held with all health protocols in place due to the pandemic. It is being reported that 200 people will attend. Physical distancing norms and all other precautions must be strictly followed. Then, it should be limited to what it actually is - a religious ceremony for enabling the actual construction to start - and must not descend into a show of majoritarian strength. Speeches should be avoided at the ceremony and if allowed, must not be inflammatory. Finally, the government must make it known strictly that celebrations, if any, should be low key all over India and must not target other communities. Both Hindus and Muslims had shown exemplary restraint after the Supreme Court judgment on the issue and they should do the same now.
With the country grappling with the pandemic it does not need any unnecessary communal disturbance now. The building of the Ram Temple has been facilitated by the Supreme Court order. Most Hindus will, and should, celebrate the start of the building of the Temple which has been central to their belief that Lord Ram was born at that spot. But such celebrations should be for the glory of Lord Ram and not denigrate or instigate any other community. The battle was won in court, legally. It should rest at that. Any other way would be an affront to all that Lord Ram stood for.