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Ayodhya/IBNS-CMEDIA: “Time for Ram to Rashtra consciousness now, time to take pride in tradition and combine it with modernity,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his powerful speech with his trademark style of oration, moments after inaugurating Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.
Invoking Ram with inclusive national consciousness and referring to India’s solar and lunar missions for the youth urging them to combine tradition with modernity, Modi addressed thousands of people, including the country’s top celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Rajinikanth, Sachin Tendulkar, in a grand ceremony which is widely viewed as a slow start to the campaigning for the upcoming General Elections.
Eleven days after beginning fasting for the ceremony, Modi arrived at the grand Ram Temple, where the dignitaries have been flocking in since the morning, at around 12 noon and went on to perform the rituals for the consecration ceremony.
During the entire time of rituals, Modi was flanked by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and very significantly Mohan Bhagwat, who is the head of the ruling BJP’s ideological patron Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Photo courtesy: UNI
In an hour-long speech post consecration, Modi, who will seek a third straight term in power a few months later, said, “Kalchakra (cycles of time) is changing. Our generation has been chosen for this.”
“This is the time. This is the right time. We have to lay the foundation of a thousand year from today,” he said and added, “Time for Ram to Rashtra consciousness now.” “There is no time for despair now. No one is small now. Do not underestimate yourself,” he said.
Envisioning Ram or Rama, a Hindu deity widely prayed in BJP’s stronghold Hindi heartland, Modi referred to the dispute that went on for years as Hindus fought an over seven-decade-long legal battle over the site where a mosque stood till 1992.
“Ram is not fire, he is energy. He is not a conflict but a solution,”Modi, who broke his 11-day fast with Charanamrit (nectar of lord’s feet) after the ‘Pran Prathistha’ ceremony, said, apparently targeting those who predicted nationwide conflict over the temple’s construction.
The Prime Minister, whose BJP is aggressively promoting the “Sanatan Dharma” in recent times, said, “This is also the pran Prathishta of Indian culture.”
The temple site remained an issue of bitter contest between Hindus and Muslims with both the religious factions laying claim to it for nearly seven decades.
In a landmark verdict in 2019, the Supreme Court handed over the land to the Hindu community and ordered a separate plot to Muslims.
Photo courtesy: UNI
Thanking the judiciary, Modi said, “I am grateful to the Indian judiciary which protected the honour of justice.”
“We ask for forgiveness from Lord Ram too. There must have been something lacking in us that we could not do it for such a long time. We hope Lord Ram will forgive us,” he said.
Ayodhya witnessed violence in 1992 when a mob destroyed a 16th-century mosque which stood at the site, which was built over a Hindu temple according to the court’s final verdict.
A majority of Hindus claimed that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram before Muslim Mughals razed a temple at the spot to build the Babri Masjid.
Moving on from the communal clash which has dominated the political rhetoric in the state for decades, Modi gave a message of unity banking on the principles of Lord Ram.
He said, “The creation of Ram Temple is a reflection of peace and patience as showcased by Indian society,” and added, “Ram is a point of solution and not a matter of struggle. Ram belongs to everyone.”
Congress declines to attend ceremony
Country’s key opposition Congress has dubbed the temple opening ceremony as a BJP-RSS event, with its senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Sonia Gandhi declining to attend the event.
Many other opposition leaders have also decided to give the ceremony a miss stating they will visit the Ram temple after January 22 or once the temple construction is complete.
(Photo courtesy: X/@BJP4India and UNI)