The AYODHYA of India Months before he stands for an unprecedented third term in the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a religious spectacle as a gigantic temple honouring the Hindu god Lord Ram opened on Monday at a location in India that millions of people believe to be his birthplace.
Building the temple, a 35-year-old party core promise, is a contentious political issue that has helped push Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to prominence and power. Hindu organisations are portraying the inauguration ceremony in the northern city of Ayodhya as the apex of the Hindu awakening, following centuries of subjugation by Muslim and colonial powers.
Prior to the elections, Modi dedicates the Ayodhya Ram Temple.
It is also seen as the official beginning of the very religious leader Modi’s campaign for reelection in the general elections that are expected to take place by May. The temple site became a violent hotspot and was bitterly contested by both Muslims and Hindus for decades when a Hindu mob in 1992 destroyed a 16th-century mosque.
The spot was sacred to the majority-Hindu population of India long before the Muslim Mughals destroyed a temple there and built the Babri Masjid, or mosque, there in 1528. The Hindu population of India believes that this is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The Supreme Court awarded the territory to the Hindus in 2019, and the Muslims were allocated a different location.
The historic opening of the Lord Ram Temple enhances Modi’s reputation.
On Monday, thousands of religious leaders, BJP members and affiliates, and devotees from across the nation are expected to gather in Ayodhya for the temple’s opening, where Modi will take part in the closing rites.
Several of India’s most well-known actresses, athletes, and businesspeople have also been invited to the consecration, according to the organisers. Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights that usually falls in October or November. Modi has invited Indians to celebrate by lighting lamps in their homes and local temples on Monday night, referring to it as a “historic moment” when Lord Ram will take his place in his big temple.
The contentious Ram Temple opening marks Modi’s election debut.
The consecration of the temple, according to political analyst Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, who teaches at Krea University in southern India, “feels more like the beginning of the general election campaign than a religious ceremony.” He stated, “The prime minister seems to be acting as an emperor performing a significant ceremonial sacrifice.”
Within a complex of 70 acres (28.33 hectares), only the first phase of the temple, which occupies 2.67 acres (1.08 hectares), is finished. The second and final phase is expected to be completed by December 2025. The project, which is expected to cost 15 billion rupees ($181 million), is entirely funded by donations from within the country.
Ayodhya’s Ram Temple: An Important Development for Modi’s Political Plan
Hindus in India have been extremely emotional in the lead-up to the consecration. They have set up special prayers, flown sacred flags in residential colonies and markets, and planned to watch the event live on big screens on Monday.Prominent opposition factions, including the Congress, have rejected down invitations to the inauguration, arguing that it has evolved into a political function for Modi. A political scandal has resulted from this as well.
Muslim organisations stated that while they are not happy with the 2019 court ruling that gave Hindus ownership of the monument, they will accept it “with humility.” They declared themselves to have moved on after nearly five years. The Supreme Court’s order is much appreciated, which is why the temple’s construction is moving on. In Ayodhya, around 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the temple, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation is building a new mosque. Zufar Ahmad Faruqi, the foundation’s leader, says, “I don’t think there’s any feeling of ill-will in the Muslim community.”
Ayodhya’s Ram Temple’s unveiling sparks political conflict
Thirty years after Hindu demonstrators destroyed a historic mosque, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the consecration of a massive Hindu temple at the same spot on Monday in a political manoeuvre to bolster his party ahead of a crucial national poll.Experts predict that the temple dedicated to Hinduism’s most beloved deity, Lord Ram, would cemented Modi’s standing as one of India’s most significant leaders who has strived to transform the nation from a secular democracy into an unabashedly Hindu one. Although contentious, Modi’s legacy is anticipated to linger for a long time.
The Ram Temple’s Opening: Modi’s shrewd political move
Modi was driven by a desire to make his mark on history right away. Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, an author of books on Modi and a Hindu nationalist, claims that he has ensured this with the Ram Temple.Many people think that Modi’s election campaign officially began with the temple’s opening. As a fervent nationalist, Modi has come under fire for allegedly encouraging Hindu supremacy in India, a legally secular nation. It is expected that Modi’s Hindu nationalist party will once again utilise religion as a political tool in the upcoming national elections in April or May in an attempt to capture power for a third consecutive term.