The Bhoomi Pujan for the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on 5th August 2020 marks the end of an era. Over a century of fighting, killing, and demolishing winding-up with a seemingly simple ground-breaking ceremony.
People all across the political spectrum have a different view on the puja which has taken place. Some believe that the rising Ram temple denotes the end of the apparent ‘humiliation’ of the Hindus and the beginning of a new phase of their political supremacy and the other is that it signifies the end of strife that shackled India’s potential for decades and will act as a harbinger of a new dawn of fraternity among religious communities.
Was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence at the event imperative to the process of the puja? He was not only the chief guest but also the master of ceremonies and the official yajmaan (patron of a religious ritual) during the ceremony. Was it an innocuous show of his faith or a triumphant declaration of the ‘Mandir yahin banega’ victory?
The building of a place of worship as a cause for celebration in a secular country seems more than fair. However, when it is done over a piece of land that innocent lives have been lost for, the reason for such festivities only comes across as a show to emphasize the hands wherein the power really lies. It’s a political game to attract the voters, the real mitron.
The issue at hand is not the presence of the Prime Minister at the puja but the treatment of the masses as nothing but a vote bank by not just Modi ji but yet another minister. Every action taken is not for the people but for a seat. Their controversial actions are just a means to manipulate those with strong beliefs into devoting themselves to a party or feeling played, cheated, and lied to by the same.
More importantly, an unspecified amount of money has been spent to clean and deck up Ayodhya for the ceremony, which was attended by many bigwigs even amid the health risks posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The grand ceremony took place even as Indians deal with a number of problematic developments. Many news channels jostled to get minute-by-minute updates from the Ram Mandir ceremony to their viewers, making it their top story. The immense media coverage of the bhoomi pujan has distracted us from issues such as the ever-increasing unemployment rate, the Assam and Bihar floods, and the migrant workers who are still struggling to make ends meet. Is this government propaganda or the work of media houses with a highly misplaced sense of priorities?
Chatterji, R. (2020, August 05). Ayodhya: 5 Things The Ram Mandir Bhumi Pujan Is Distracting You From. Retrieved from Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/ram-mandir-ayodhya-coronavirus-article-370-economy_in_5f295948c5b68fbfc887f8f6
Editorial. (2020, August 07). Groundbreaking: On Ram temple bhoomi pujan. Retrieved from The Hindu: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/groundbreaking-the-hindu-editorial-on-ram-temple-bhoomi-pujan/article32288252.ece
Pradhan, S. (2020, August 07). At Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, Modi Became All-in-One; Proper Rituals Not Followed, Allege Pundits. Retrieved from The Wire: https://thewire.in/politics/ayodhya-bhoomi-pujan-narendra-modi-priests-pundits