Pankajnath Tiwari :-
The story of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is rooted in ancient Hindu mythology and has historical significance. Here’s a summary of the story:
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama is considered the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. He is revered as a righteous and ideal king. The epic Ramayana tells the story of Lord Rama’s life and his divine mission to uphold righteousness.
Ayodhya, located in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India, is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. It was ruled by his father, King Dasharatha, who had three wives. Queen Kaikeyi, one of Dasharatha’s wives, was granted two boons by the king due to her previous favor to him. Years later, influenced by her maid Manthara, Kaikeyi asked Dasharatha to banish Rama to the forest for 14 years and crown her own son, Bharata, as the king.
Reluctantly, Dasharatha agreed to fulfill Kaikeyi’s wishes. Rama, along with his wife Sita and loyal brother Lakshmana, willingly accepted the exile and left Ayodhya. During their time in the forest, Rama encountered various adventures and defeated many demons.
Meanwhile, in Ayodhya, Bharata, upon learning about his father’s death and Rama’s exile, refused to accept the throne. He went to the forest to persuade Rama to return and rule Ayodhya. But Rama, being true to his word, decided to complete his exile.
After the completion of the exile period, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya. The people of Ayodhya rejoiced at the return of their beloved prince. Rama was crowned as the king, and peace was restored in the kingdom.
Centuries later, in the 16th century, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babur, a mosque known as Babri Masjid was constructed on the site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. This led to a long-standing dispute between Hindu and Muslim communities regarding the ownership and control of the site.
The dispute continued for several decades and took a significant turn in 1992 when a large mob of Hindu activists demolished the Babri Masjid, claiming that it was built on the ruins of an ancient Hindu temple marking Lord Rama’s birthplace.
After years of legal battles and intense socio-political discussions, the Supreme Court of India delivered a historic verdict in November 2019. The court ruled in favor of the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site, while also ordering the allocation of an alternate plot of land for the construction of a mosque.
The foundation stone for the Ram Mandir was laid on August 5, 2020, in Ayodhya, and the construction of the temple began. The temple design is based on traditional Hindu architecture and is set to become a significant religious and cultural landmark in India.
The Ayodhya dispute: The Ayodhya dispute over the Babri Masjid site was a complex and highly contentious issue. It involved legal battles, archaeological excavations, and socio-political tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities. The dispute sparked widespread debates about history, religion, and the secular fabric of India.
Archaeological evidence: The Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavations at the disputed site in Ayodhya. In its report, it stated that there were remnants of a large structure resembling a Hindu temple beneath the Babri Masjid. This finding further fueled the demand for the construction of a Ram Mandir at the site.
Movement for the Ram Mandir: The movement for the construction of the Ram Mandir gained significant momentum in the 1980s and 1990s. It was led by various Hindu nationalist organizations, most notably the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The movement attracted massive public support and mobilized millions of Hindus across India.
The Babri Masjid demolition: On December 6, 1992, a large mob of Hindu activists gathered at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya and demolished the structure. This event resulted in widespread communal riots and tensions across India, leading to loss of lives and significant socio-political repercussions.
Legal proceedings: The legal battle over the Ayodhya dispute spanned several decades. Various court cases were filed, and the matter reached the Supreme Court of India. The court’s verdict in 2019 brought a resolution to the long-standing issue and paved the way for the construction of the Ram Mandir.
Communal harmony efforts: Despite the disputes and conflicts surrounding the Ayodhya issue, there have been continuous efforts by individuals and organizations to promote communal harmony and peace. Interfaith dialogues, cultural exchanges, and initiatives to bridge the gap between different religious communities have been undertaken to foster unity and understanding.
Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra: To oversee the construction of the Ram Mandir, the Indian government established the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. The trust is responsible for managing the temple construction, ensuring the utilization of donations, and maintaining the sanctity of the site.
Importance of Ayodhya: Ayodhya is considered one of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama and holds immense religious significance for Hindus. Many devotees visit Ayodhya to seek blessings and participate in religious ceremonies.
Ramayana and its influence: The epic Ramayana, written by sage Valmiki, narrates the life and adventures of Lord Rama. It is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature in Hindu mythology. The story of Rama’s birth, exile, battles, and eventual return to Ayodhya forms the basis of the cultural and religious narrative surrounding the Ram Mandir.
Symbol of national unity: The construction of the Ram Mandir is seen by many as a symbol of national unity and cultural integration in India. It represents the celebration of Hindu heritage while also emphasizing the country’s commitment to secularism and religious harmony.
Art and architecture: The construction of the Ram Mandir showcases exquisite craftsmanship and architectural brilliance. The temple design draws inspiration from traditional Hindu temple architecture, with intricate carvings, elaborate sculptures, and grandeur befitting the worship of Lord Rama.
Global significance: The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya holds significance beyond India, as Lord Rama’s story and teachings have followers worldwide. The temple’s construction has attracted attention from Hindu communities across the globe, fostering a sense of unity and pride among Hindus internationally.
Tourism and economic impact: The completion of the Ram Mandir has led to an increase in tourism to Ayodhya. Pilgrims and tourists visit the city to witness the grandeur of the temple and explore the other revered religious sites associated with Lord Rama. This influx of visitors has had a positive economic impact on the local community, with the development of infrastructure and hospitality facilities.
Rituals and festivals: The Ram Mandir is expected to become a center for religious rituals and festivals associated with Lord Rama. Festivals like Ram Navami, Diwali, and other significant occasions will be celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by devotees from all over.
Legacy and remembrance: The construction of the Ram Mandir aims to establish a lasting legacy of Lord Rama’s teachings, virtues, and ideals. It serves as a reminder of the importance of righteousness, sacrifice, and the pursuit of truth, inspiring individuals to lead a life of morality and integrity.
Symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity: While the Ram Mandir holds immense importance for Hindus, it is also seen as an opportunity to foster Hindu-Muslim unity and promote communal harmony. The Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute emphasized the need for reconciliation and mutual respect between the two communities, encouraging a spirit of inclusiveness.
Role of saints and spiritual leaders: Throughout the Ram Mandir movement, various saints, spiritual leaders, and organizations played a significant role in mobilizing support and promoting the cause. Their guidance and influence helped galvanize millions of devotees and create a sense of collective purpose.
Ramayana in popular culture: The story of Lord Rama and the Ramayana have had a profound impact on Indian society and culture. The epic has been depicted in numerous forms of art, including literature, poetry, music, dance, theater, television shows, and films. The construction of the Ram Mandir has reignited interest and revived discussions around the Ramayana’s cultural legacy.
International reactions: The construction of the Ram Mandir has garnered attention and reactions from around the world. It has been viewed as a reflection of India’s religious diversity and its commitment to preserving and promoting its rich heritage. International leaders and organizations have expressed their thoughts and good wishes on the completion of the temple.
Impact on religious freedom and secularism: The Ayodhya dispute and the construction of the Ram Mandir have sparked debates about religious freedom, secularism, and the role of the state in religious matters. While the construction of the temple represents the aspirations of a significant section of the population, it has also raised concerns about the potential implications on India’s secular fabric and the rights of minority communities.
Social and political ramifications: The Ram Mandir issue has had significant social and political ramifications in India. It has influenced electoral politics, shaped public discourse, and led to shifts in the political landscape. The movement for the temple construction has been a rallying point for some political parties, while others have raised concerns about the impact on pluralism and social cohesion.
Significance for future generations: The completion of the Ram Mandir holds significance for future generations of Hindus, who will have a physical symbol of their faith and a place of worship dedicated to Lord Rama. It is expected to inspire devotion, strengthen cultural identity, and serve as a reminder of the values and ideals embodied by Lord Rama.