WITH a 40-kg silver brick, a sapling and soil from across the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the Ram temple in Ayodhya Wednesday amid chanting of shlokas, declaring that the Ram Janmabhoomi had been “liberated” from the “centuries-old cycle of destruction and resurrection”. Addressing a select gathering after performing the bhoomi pujan for the temple, Modi put his mark indelibly on what he called a defining moment in the nation’s history — the culmination of a campaign that powered the rise of the BJP and marked its principal promise to its electorate.
Drawing a parallel between the Ram temple movement and India’s struggle for freedom, Modi said that just like August 15, August 5, too, will stand as a powerful symbol for the “sacrifice and commitment” of generations.
“Aaj poora Bharat bhavukh hai… sadiyon ka intezaar aaj samapt ho raha hai (the entire country is emotionally charged today, the wait of centuries is ending today),” the Prime Minister said, adding that “crores cannot believe” what they are witnessing today.
Sharing the dais with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das who heads the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, a Trust constituted by the Centre for the construction and management of the Ram temple, Modi said: “Barson se taat aur tent ke neeche rahe hamare Ramlalla ke liye ab ek bhavya mandir ka nirman hoga (For our Ramlalla, who has lived under a canopy and tent for years, a grand temple is going to be built).”
Several generations, he said, devoted themselves completely during the freedom struggle. “There was not a place in our country where sacrifices were not made for freedom. 15th August is the embodiment of sacrifices of lakhs of people and a deep yearning for independence.”
“Similarly, several generations have made selfless sacrifices for several centuries for the construction of the Ram temple. Today marks the culmination of that centuries-old penance, sacrifice and resolve… on behalf of the 130 crore people of the country, I salute them and bow before them for their sacrifices which have led to the foundation of the Ram temple,” he said.
Thanking the Trust for inviting him to the event, the Prime Minister said, “Ram kaj kinhe binu mohe kahan vishram (how can I rest without accomplishing the work assigned by Ram).”
Modi drew on Ram and the Ramayan to not just highlight their influence across India but also in other countries — from Indonesia to Malaysia, China to Nepal and Bangladesh.
Underlining that the Ram temple will be “a modern symbol” of Indian culture and nationalism, he said that after the construction of the temple, it will not just be the grandeur of Ayodhya, its economy too will serve as a magnet for people from across the world.
“Ram belongs to all and lives in all. I am sure this grand temple being constructed in Ayodhya will be an indicator of the rich heritage of Indian culture… we need to ensure that the message of lord Ram, Ram temple and our tradition of thousands of years reaches the entire world till years to come. It is the responsibility of the present generation and future generations to make the world familiar with our knowledge, our way of life,” he said.
Drawing on examples from the Ramayan, Modi said just like every being, from a squirrel to “vanar” to “kewat” to “vanvasi”, became the medium for the victory of Ram, the temple will be built by the people of the country.
He said Ram and Ramayan belong to all, and has been followed and written in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Kashmiri. “That is why Ram is the link for unity in diversity of India,” he said.
“There is no corner of India which doesn’t reflect lord Ram. Ram is in the faith of India, Ram is in the ideals of India, Ram is in India’s divinity, Rama resides in India’s philosophy,” he said.
“Owing to the situation caused by the corona pandemic, this occasion of bhoomi pujan is being organised with strict decorum. The nation has displayed the decorum that should befit any work concerning lord Ram… we displayed a similar discipline when the Supreme Court pronounced the historic decision,” he said, referring to the ruling on the Ayodhya title suits which went in favour of the Hindus.
“Back then, we witnessed how the entire nation accepted the decision peacefully and graciously, keeping in mind the sensitivities of everyone. Even today, we are experiencing a similar peaceful conduct,” he said.
He ended his speech by underlining the significance of the path of “maryada” (values) of Ram and said the Covid pandemic means “do gaz ki doori, mask zaroori (maintain safe distance of two yards and always wear a mask).”