Ram Temple: The Farce of A ‘Movement’

The Sangh Parivar’s attempt to reignite the Ram Temple movement did not draw much support in Sunday’s (November 25) twin meetings while their leaders were in disarray.

Dharm Sabha Ayodhya
The much-hyped November 25 Dharm Sansad in Ayodhya, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), turned out to be a damp squib, as did the parallel rally in Nagpur which was addressed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat. These rallies were supposed to kick-start the renewed ‘movement’ for building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on the disputed site where the demolished Babri Masjid stood till 1992.

Manufacturing a Movement
According to reports, attendance at the Ayodhya meet was as low as 30,000 while another report put the number at 50,000. The local police reportedly put the figure at 80,000. The VHP had claimed that 2 lakh people would be congregating for the important meet where the building of Ram Temple was to be the agenda. It was claimed that people from 48 districts in Uttar Pradesh were brought to the city in 2000 buses, besides locals and others coming in trains.

The RSS had thrown its full weight behind the programme with Bhaiyyaji Joshi, the general secretary himself, supervising arrangements. Several dozen BJP MLAs and ministers were in attendance. However, two of Ayodhya’s three main akharas had reportedly boycotted the meet.

Despite these full-blown logistical arrangements, the lack-lustre attendance revealed what was being suspected all through – that there is indifference towards the so called ‘movement’. True, most Hindus in UP or surrounding areas would – if asked pointedly – say that they would like a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. But that doesn’t mean that they support the Sangh Parivar’s opportunist attempt to revive the ‘movement’ just when elections are around the corner.

In fact, as reported by many outlets, and shown on live TV coverage, many common people even in Ayodhya were openly saying that all this is being done for electoral purposes. They blamed electoral politics for the delay in building of the temple. Many others clearly indicated that they were told that the construction “would start today itself”.

In Nagpur, a similar VHP event organised in parallel with the Ayodhya meet, saw the RSS supremo make a last-minute appearance. He said that the Supreme Court was not giving the issue due priority.

“Though law is necessary, can society run only on the basis of law? Can any question be raised against matters of faith?” Bhagwat said. This rally too saw a poor turnout with only about 25,000 people attending despite the claim by organisers that one lakh would be turning up.

Leaders in Disarray
Meanwhile, the disarray among the saints and seers, the VHP leaders, the Sangh leadership and the BJP was evident from their divergent and rather absurd statements about the Temple. While some were claiming that a law was in the offing and giving all kinds of prospective deadlines for its promulgation, others were calling for following the Supreme Court’s directions and still others were calling for a society-wide struggle to pressurise the government to act quickly.
Campaigning in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Modi bizarrely alleged that the Congress was responsible for delaying the Court case related to the Ram Temple by forcing the Supreme Court to delay hearings.
His right-hand man and BJP President Amit Shah, campaigning in Madhya Pradesh, said that there was need to wait for the Supreme Court’s hearings to resume in January 2019.

Both were thus perceived as skirting the issue of bringing in an ordinance, as demanded by many VHP and RSS leaders. In fact, Shah’s statement clearly contradicted this demand.

In Nagpur, the RSS supremo set a much bigger target when he said that the whole Hindu society will have to be organised for this movement to pressurise the government.

At the Ayodhya meet, Ram Bhadracharya, a saint from Chitrakoot made the sensational claim that an unnamed Union minister had told him that the matter would be taken up by the PM after December 11. The significance of the date is unclear: it will be the day results of the five Assembly elections will be announced, but the Parliament will also convene that day.

“I am sure Modiji will not cheat us and the ordinance route may be opted for,” he said, adding that once a temple was built, India will become a “ghoshit Hindu raashtra (declared Hindu nation)”, Bhadracharya was reported as announcing.

Mahant Ramji Das of Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi title suit pending in the apex court, said at Ayodhya that the date for construction of Ram temple will be declared at the Kumbh Mela, scheduled for January-February in Prayagraj (Allahabad).
The whole tragi-comic nature of the exhortations issued from the dais at Ayodhya were best captured by the reported speech of Hansdevacharya who said that people should write letters to the Supreme Court seeking an early hearing on the matter. Strangely, he went on to quote the famous lines of Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar “Yaachna nahin, ab rann hoga (no more requests, there will be battle now)” – quite the opposite of what he was proposing!

The VHP has, meanwhile, announced that it would hold two big meetings (also dubbed Dharm Sansads) at Delhi and Bengaluru, followed by 500 meetings in almost all parliamentary constituencies in the country where people will approach their elected Members of Parliament (MP) to expedite the Ram Temple construction.

Whether this will have the desired effect or not is perhaps of low concern to the Sangh Parivar because the operative part is – ‘parliamentary constituencies’. That’s where all these activities are geared towards.

Will the people get taken in by this rather childish and transparently opportunistic strategy to garner votes for BJP? Sounds highly unlikely although its purpose is possibly to cause communal polarisation more than anything else. Even that is uncertain because the people’s anger towards the failed Modi regime is far outweighing these shenanigans. 

Courtesy: Newsclick.in



Related Articles