Worldwide attention to the opening of the Ram temple, a division in India itself

Worldwide attention to the opening of the Ram temple, a division in India itself

The temple is decorated for tomorrow’s ceremony

NOS news

The opening of the temple of god Ram in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya tomorrow is causing a sensation in India. For some it is a historic event that Hindus around the world have been waiting for for 500 years, for others it is a sign of oppression of minorities and, above all, a sign of the start of the re-election campaign of Prime Minister Modi. In the festival surrounding the new temple, he combines more than before the position of the prime minister with that of a religious leader and even declares himself to be the ‘chosen one’.

The new Ram temple, located at the place where many Hindus believe the god was born, has a controversial history. A 16th century mosque once stood on the site of the temple. It was badly damaged in 1992 by thousands of Hindu nationalists.

Then riots broke out across the country. In Ayodhya alone, several Muslims were killed. It is estimated that at least a thousand people died across India.

The fact that the Ram Temple can now be built was a decision of the Supreme Court in 2019, but it is seen as a success for Modi. His party, the Hindu nationalist BJP, was instrumental in the movement that led to the destruction of the mosque in 1992 and the temple pledge has been a regular part of the party’s manifesto ever since.

The construction is not yet complete, but the so-called Ram Lalla, a statue of Ram as a child, was installed on Thursday in garbha griha: the inner, sacred part of the temple on the first floor. Tomorrow’s ceremony serves as the consecration of the idol, making it divine according to Hinduism. Then the temple opens to visitors.

An emotional scene

For many Hindus, the opening of this temple is an emotional event. Aries is a popular god and the belief that he was born in that area is strong.

For Hindu nationalists it is more than that. They see it as a victory against Muslims, in a struggle that has been going on since the rule of Muslim kings in the past centuries.

World attention, 11,000 visitors

Tomorrow there will be events and live streams around the world. There are also Hindu temples in Holland party to watch. In many areas, Hindu nationalist organizations associated with the BJP are leading the way.

In Ayodhya itself, 11,000 visitors are expected, including religious leaders, politicians and celebrities such as cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. About a hundred international guests are also in attendance, such as leaders of national Hindu organizations in other countries, and politicians such as Norwegian Hindu MP Himanshu Gulati of the right-wing FrP party.

The fact that the desire for a temple is supported by many is evident from the fact that it was built entirely from private donations from millions of individuals. The government has invested heavily in the infrastructure of Ayodhya, where, among other things, the airport has opened in anticipation of millions of pilgrims.

The temple is still under construction (photo from December 29)

But Modi’s overall role raises important questions. Because why is the temple opened so quickly, when the construction is not yet complete? Several religious leaders have said that this is not possible at all according to the scriptures. There is little doubt that there is a non-religious reason for keeping the time: elections are held in April and May.

Modi will participate fully in the ceremony tomorrow. In preparation, he followed an 11-day ritual that included intense fasting. He said on social media that God chose him to represent all citizens during the celebrations. The move towards representation of God’s chosen people in elections has been made quickly.

The head of the foundation in charge of the temple went one step further: he called Modi an incarnation of the god Vishnu, of whom Ram is an avatar.

‘The last photo of the election’

The statue of Modi in the temple is the main image of the election, writes political analyst Apoorvanand on the news website The Wire. The image will portray Modi as a “Hindu Chief” and give proof of “India’s rise as a Hindu state.”

According to him, religion is misused for political interests. He talks about BJP’s “deceptive and violent campaign to confuse Hindus and portray itself as Ram’s protector and guardian”. So the party would act as if the interests of the Hindus “can only be served by humiliating and treating the Muslims with violence.” For Muslims, he writes, the temple is a permanent reminder of the atrocities against them.

Leaders of many other major parties, such as the Congress Party, have said they will not attend because they see the ceremony as a political event for the BJP. But according to Apoorvanand, all Hindus should ask themselves if the temple is sacred. “Can a Stolen Landlord be Godly?”