Ram Mandir : How A Temple shaped Indian Political Discourse over the Past Few Decades
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Ram mandir, Ayodhya was one of the most discussed topics for the last three decades in Indian Politics and among the people of India. It reached a milestone on 5th August when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat and many others was present on the Ground Breaking or Bhoomi pujan on that site where Ram Temple will be built. In an Well discussed Verdict by the Supreme Court that was delivered on 9th November 2019 the top court of the country ordered the central government to acquire the disputed land and give it to a trust that will be set up to built the Temple. Court ordered alternative plot should be given to build a mosque. Following that decision Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust was formed on 5th February,2020. The Temple construction to be start by 10th June and it would be built by 2023.
But there are many Temples, Mosques in India and many will be built in future then why is this kind of hype surrounding the Ram Temple in Ayodhya? To answer this question we have to go into the Hindu Mythology. Ram considered as an Incarnation of God Vishnu. According to ancient Indian epic Ramayana Rama was born in Ayodhya.
During the reign of the first Mughal Emperor Babur on 1528 a Mosque was built in Ayodhya, Known as Babri Masjid. Many Hindu believed that the Masjid was built after demolishing Temple. And Lord Rama was born on that Place. But there was no proof about these claims.
It was first claimed more than 230 years later. During the British Rule in India Nirmohi’s a Hindu sect claimed a Hindu Temple had been destroyed to built that Mosque. Six years later British administration erected a fence to divide the site into two parts. The Muslims were allowed to pray inside and outer court was for Hindus.
Almost one century later on 1949 idols were placed inside the Mosque. After this incident the government at that time locked the gates. They declared that the area is ‘Disputed’. But the then District Magistrate KK Nayar did not remove the idols. He said it will worsen the Law and order situation. On 1961 a case was filed against the placing of idols.
On 1984 When The country’s attention was at Operation Blue star-Killing Of Indira Gandhi-Sikh Riots. Vishwa Hindu Parishad started movement to build a temple at the Disputed site. Two years later Ayodhya district Judge opened the gates of the Mosque and allowed the Hindus to pray inside the structure. Muslims protested and Formed Babri Masjid Action Committee in protest. Following the Court order the Rajiv Gandhi government ordered the locks of the Babri Masjid to be removed.
On 1989 VHP laid the foundation of a Ram Temple on the land Next to Babri Masjid. Next Year Bharatiya Janata Party for the first time got involved in this issue. LK Advani led BJP organised a Ratha Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. The Yatra involved thousands of Kar sevaks. On 23rd October Lalu Prasad Yadav then CM of Bihar arrested LK Advani. Communal Riots intensified following the arrest of Advani.
In Anand Patwardhan’s documentary ‘Ram ke Naam’ Baba Lal das court appointed priest said that he oppose the Rath yatra and Politicisation of religion will not improve the life of ordinary Indian. But few years later on 1993 he was found shot dead. On 6th of December marked the day when Babri Masjid was demolished by the Kar sevaks this demolition started wide spread Communal violence that killed at least 2000 people.
The Archaeological Survey of India conducted a survey on 2003 on the disputed site and the findings said that there was large pre existing structure there that dates back to twelfth century. Muslims said that findings was disputed. On 2010 Allahabad high court ruled that disputed land to be divided into three parts. And given one third to Ram Lala represented by Hindu Mahasabha, one third to Sunni Waqf Board , and remaining to the Nirmohi Akhara. All three sides approached Supreme Court on 2011.
And Finally the Land Mark decision of Supreme Court came on 9th November 2019. Five Judges of Supreme Court passed the order headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Later Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to Rajya sabha. Political opponents of BJP opposed his nomination to the upper house.
The whole incident can be said to be Victory for the Hindu claim. And Ram Temple Movement became electorally beneficial for BJP. A temple which has shaped Indian political discourse will be constructed in the coming years.