Reviving the Ram Temple issue

Every time the country nears a general election the Ram Mandir issue is revived, it takes the centre stage. The same thing has happened this time, too. A new dimension has been added. The Shiv Sena is trying to steal the thunder from its friend turned rival BJP. It is demanding that the BJP announce the date of starting the building of the temple. The Shiv Sena knows the BJP cannot announce the date because the whole matter is before the Supreme Court. The BJP knows it, too. But that deters neither the Shiv Sena nor the Sangh Parivar to whip up passion on the eve of the elections. The objective is more exploiting the devotion of the Hindu community to garner votes than to actually building the temple.
The BJP is trying to pass on the blame for delay in building the temple to the Congress because it has taken the matter to the Supreme Court. But there is no explanation why the BJP did not build the temple during the six years that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power. Again, why nothing was done by the Modi Government during the first four and a half years of its existence. The answer is obvious. The ‘pot’ has to be kept boiling. Once the temple is built, the issue is dead. It will cease to bring electoral dividends. Therefore it has to be kept alive. And more emotive issues have to be added.  U.P. Chief Yogi Adityanath has announced he is going to erect a statue of Lord Ram on the banks of the Saryu river, which will be 221 metres high and taller than the Statue of Unity in memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. The spree to build statues has caught on. Now the Congress-JD(S) Government in Karnataka is set to build a 125-foot statue of Mother Cauvery.
Nobody questions the logic of spending enormous amounts of money – taxpayers’ money – on erecting statues or temples. It is difficult to foresee how a Ram Mandir can be built at the site of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya before the next elections, given the legal disputes surrounding the issue. The Shiv Sena’s competitive Ram-bhakti may have been due to the imperative to do better than the BJP in Maharashtra. Last time the BJP had won more seats than the SS. All these are diversionary issues in that they distract the people’s attention from their basic problems of roti, kapda aur makan and every government’s failure to solve them.

Wednesday, 28 November, 2018