Ever since it was announced that Pran Prathishta (installation of the idol of Lord Ram during the consecration ceremony) in Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya would take place on 22nd January 2024, feelings of euphoria and high emotion have been sweeping all over India. Many Indians living abroad have also been looking forward to the event with great excitement.
India witnessed feelings of emotional integration in the year 1962 when China attacked India, and India lost the war. China aggressively occupied thousands of kilometers of Indian territory. At that time, it was emotional integration marked by concern. However, at this present time of emotional integration due to the January 22 event of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya, this is emotional integration of joy, happiness, and hope.
Fair judgment on Ayodhya dispute
It is a fact that the inauguration of Shri Ram temple would be the culmination of over 550 years of dispute between Hindus and Muslims about this location, as to whether it was Ram temple there, where a mosque was constructed later. The Supreme Court of India settled the issue finally by permitting construction of Shri Ram temple at the site and also satisfying the Muslims by allotting land for the construction of a mosque nearby. The construction of the mosque is underway now and would be ready in the coming years.
The fact is that Indian judiciary has done justice to the claims of Hindus and Muslims, largely satisfying the people owing allegiance to both religions.
Secularism a much-abused term:
With the consecration happening in Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya, a few political parties in India and pledged critics of the Modi government have been stating that the Government of India getting involved in organizing the consecration of Shri Ram temple and Prime Minister Modi leading the prayer during the consecration ceremony is an unsecular act.
Secularism is a much-abused hollow concept in India, as those who advocate such so-called secular principles in India think that any political party or government reposing faith in Hindu philosophy is anti-secular. At the same time, these critics do not call those reposing faith in other religions such as Islam or Christianity as anti-secular. In other words, while the advocates of secularism go even out of the way to support practices in religions other than the Hindu religion, they are unduly critical if any government or political party would participate in Hindu religious practices.
Any discerning thinker can understand that the concept of secularism is not anti-religion, as it only refers to the government of the country treating all religions equally with no bias. From this point of view, the Government of India led by Prime Minister Modi is one hundred percent secular.
Temple built with donation:
In the case of the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya, it is reported that around Rs. 1800 crore has been spent for the construction of the temple, which was done from the amount of Rs. 3500 crore received by way of donation from devotees and well-wishers in India and abroad. In other words, the Government of India has not spent any money on the construction of this Shri Ram temple.
Secular approach of Mr. Modi:
Mr. Modi participates in the consecration function since he is a Hindu and has faith in Hindu philosophy. Mr. Modi would certainly be participating in such an event, even if he were not to be the Prime Minister of India. It should not be in anyone’s case that the Prime Minister of India would be deemed to be anti-secular if he would participate in an event of a religion to which he belongs.
One more thing that should not be missed is that Mr. Modi has participated in events relating to other religions as well, whenever he was invited.
Now that a mosque is being constructed near the Shri Ram temple site, Mr. Modi would certainly attend the inauguration of the mosque whenever it would take place, whether as Prime Minister or otherwise, if he were to get the invitation.
Certainly, some motivated groups in India and abroad are trying their level best by voicing critical observations about the Shri Ram temple consecration and also trying to reduce the significance of the event by stating that Mr. Modi has involved himself in the Shri Ram temple event as “a strategy for his vote bank politics.” The fact is that the event related to the Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya is a matter too great with spontaneity and devotion, and it is ridiculous to link it with politics.
Finally, it would not be out of place to mention that several people relating to other religions have also contributed to the construction of the Shri Ram temple. For example, a 21.5 feet long flute made by Muslim artisans has been sent to Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya. This is claimed to be the longest playable flute in the world.
The Ayodhya temple certainly highlights the glory of Indian epics, Hindu philosophy, and way of life, which would benefit the entire world community and people, whatever the regions or religions they belong to.
Hindu philosophy is universal in outlook and it does not in any way negate the philosophy of any other religion.