Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the grand temple to Lord Ram. The ceremony, known as the ‘Pran Pratishtha,’ involved Vedic rituals and the unveiling of the idol of Ram Lalla, symbolizing the divine presence in the newly constructed temple.
The Ram Mandir occasion saw the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, revered saints, and various guests.
PM Modi drew inspiration from Valmiki’s Ramayan, invoking the characters of Shabri, Nishad King Guh, the squirrel, and Jatayu to address the collective efforts that contribute to the nation’s rise.
Each character held importance in the epic, showing values of faith, friendship, dedication, and the sense of duty.
Shabri, a tribal princess in Ramayan, epitomized faith as she awaited Lord Ram’s arrival. Prime Minister Modi likened Shabri’s faith to that of every Indian, stating, “This faith in every Indian will form the foundation of an able and grand India.”
The connection between devotion and nation-building was expressed, expanding consciousness from the divine to the nation.
The reference to Nishad King Guh showed the importance of friendship and unity. Guh, the king of a tribal kingdom, in aiding Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman during their exile.
PM Modi envisioned, “This feeling of friendship between every Indian will form the foundation of a grand India,” addressing the expansion of consciousness from God to the country.
The symbolism of the squirrel in Ramayan resonated with the idea that every effort, whether big or small, contributes to the larger goal.
The squirrel’s contribution to building the bridge to Lanka showsthe strength in collective efforts. PM Modi said, “It will remove such hesitations and teach us that every effort, big or small, has its own strength,” reinforcing the notion that every citizen’s contribution is crucial for building a grand India.
Jatayu, the giant bird in Ramayan, symbolized dedication and the willingness to face challenges. PM Modi praised Jatayu’s valiant fight against Ravan, addressing the importance of a strong sense of duty in nation-building.
The Prime Minister said citizens to pledge their lives to the cause of nation-building, drawing inspiration from Jatayu’s sacrifice.
The Ram Mandir inauguration ceremony also included the unveiling of a statue of Jatayu in Ayodhya, commemorating the legendary bird’s role in the epic.
The history of the Ram Mandir cannot be overstated. The temple, replacing a 16th-century mosque, has been a promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PM Modi.
The event, however, was not without controversy, as some Hindu seers and opposition leaders boycotted it, alleging political motives ahead of the upcoming elections.
The construction of the temple, costing $217 million and funded through private donations, represents an achievement for the Hindu nationalist movement. The Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling, granting the disputed land to Hindus.
As India saw the grand inauguration, the festive atmosphere in Ayodhya was palpable. Tens of thousands of chanting Hindu devotees filled the streets, celebrating the realization of a decades-long pledge.
The Ram Mandir temple, built in the Nagara style of architecture, stretches across 7.2 acres in a 70-acre complex. A 51-inch statue of Lord Ram, specially commissioned for the temple, was unveiled, and the idol was placed on a marble pedestal in the sanctum sanctorum.
The ceremony, called Pran Pratishtha, involved chanting mantras and performing rituals around a sacred fire, infusing divine life into the idol.
The event was televised live, showcasing PM Modi and priests conducting the religious rituals inside the temple’s sanctum.
For India’s Muslim community, the event evoked fear and painful memories, considering the historical context of the Babri mosque’s demolition in 1992.
The Supreme Court’s decision to allocate land for a mosque outside Ayodhya, without commensurate consequences for the mosque’s demolition, left some Muslims disappointed.
As the Ram Mandir becomes a place for pilgrims and tourists, Ayodhya undergoes a transformation.
New hotels are being constructed, existing ones are refurbished, and essential infrastructure like airports and railway stations are upgraded.
PM Modi’s association with the Ram Mandir temple’s inauguration also intertwines with the politics, as the BJP leverages the long-standing promise to appeal to voters in the upcoming elections.
The Ram Mandir temple’s completion adds to the BJP’s narrative, with their vision for a ‘New India’ based on Hindu nationalist principles.