‘Ram temple is for ev­ery­one’

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Htspotligh­t - Su­nita Aron ■ su­nita.aron@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Pradesh chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath has been per­son­ally mon­i­tor­ing the ar­range­ments for Wed­nes­day’s cer­e­mony in Ay­o­d­hya. In a tele­phone in­ter­view, Adityanath said the event was a “dream come true.” Edited ex­cerpts

How do you feel on the eve of bhoomi pu­jan?

I am over­joyed, our five-cen­tury-long strug­gle and wait is go­ing to end --all be­cause of the per­se­ver­ance and rev­er­ence of the devo­tees. I am also elated, eu­phoric for to­mor­row’s bhoomi pu­jan by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. It’s a dream come true and an ex­cep­tion­ally emo­tional mo­ment for us.

Did you ever think your dream will be­come a re­al­ity and at that mo­ment you will be at the helm of af­fairs in the state?

From very be­gin­ning we were op­ti­mistic about the con­struc­tion of the temple. The PM will do bhoomi pu­jan at the sanctum sanc­to­rum where the de­ity has been wor­shipped since 1949 . It’s all be­cause of the strug­gle of the saints and Ram bhakts [devo­tees]. But though I was in­volved in the Ram temple move­ment from my early days, I never ever thought I will be at the helm of af­fairs. It is in­deed a mat­ter of pride for me.

This is the first time when Mus­lims have been in­vited. Your com­ment.

This is a be­gin­ning of a new ‘yug’ (epoch) -- Ram Ra­jya -- in which there will be no caste or com­mu­nity, some­thing which the Prime Min­is­ter has dis­played in his func­tion­ing dur­ing the last six years.Whoso­ever has faith in Ram would come and con­trib­ute. I don’t fore­see any ten­sion or dis­tur­bance. The peo­ple were mis­guided, but now with the in­stal­la­tion of BJP {Bharatiya Janata Party} gov­ern­ments at the Cen­tre and in the state, com­mu­nal har­mony pre­vails. This was clearly re­flected at the time of the apex court judge­ment (in Novem­ber 2019 in favour of a Ram temple) . Peace pre­vailed. Even the op­po­si­tion has re­alised that the is­sue was re­solved af­ter years of lit­i­ga­tion. Nonethe­less, law and or­der has been my gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­ity and it will be maintained.

If Mus­lims in­vite you for the con­struc­tion of the mosque, will you or oth­ers in the BJP ac­cept it?

The trust is right now en­gaged in the con­struc­tion of the Ram temple which they want to com­plete within the stip­u­lated time pe­riod. Let me clar­ify. The state gov­ern­ment has not or­gan­ised to­mor­row’s func­tion. It has been or­gan­ised un­der the aegis of the trust. They have sent the in­vites, made ar­range­ments and are ac­cept­ing do­na­tions in a fair and trans­par­ent man­ner. The state is only tak­ing care of se­cu­rity and is en­gaged in de­vel­op­ing the area as a mod­ern and as­pir­ing city while re­tain­ing its an­cient glory and tra­di­tions. The lo­cals know the re­solve of both the Cen­tre and state to trans­form the holy city as a unique pil­grim cen­tre.

Why are [BJP vet­er­ans] LK Ad­vani and MM Joshi not com­ing ?

Be­cause of the pan­demic and their age , they were ad­vised to watch it live on [tele­vi­sion] chan­nels.

Was it nec­es­sary to hold the bhoomi pu­jan now?

Ac­cord­ing to the saints, this was the aus­pi­cious time. But we are abid­ing by the pan­demic pro­to­col from the very be­gin­ning, so­cial dis­tanc­ing will be maintained and it will be fol­lowed in the fu­ture also.

Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party leader Mayawati has de­manded an in­vite for a Dalit saint.

Saints don’t have any caste or com­mu­nity. Once they wear the saf­fron robe, they sac­ri­fice ev­ery­thing. Nonethe­less, all saints ma­haman­dlesh­wars {spir­i­tual lead­ers} par­tic­i­pated. Shri Kam­lesh­war Chau­pal is a mem­ber of the Sri Ram Jan­ma­boomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. He will be present at the event.

What about in­vites to Op­po­si­tion?

It is for the trust to de­cide.

Why is Op­po­si­tion in si­lent mode?

Af­ter con­tin­u­ous and se­vere drub­bing by the peo­ple, the op­po­si­tion has per­haps wo­ken up to the fact that re­main­ing in con­flict with the cause of a Ram temple in Ay­o­d­hya will fur­ther jeop­ar­dise their prospects in fu­ture polls. Hence, they are in a si­lent mode. Any­way, Ram temple is for all.

PM Naren­dra Modi ac­com­pa­nied LK Ad­vani on his “rath ya­tra” {jour­ney by char­iot} in the 1990s. Where were you?

The three gen­er­a­tions of Go­rakhnath mutt have been as­so­ci­ated with or spear­headed the temple move­ment since 1934, start­ing with Ma­hant Digvi­jay­nath ji. The BJP-VHP {Vishwa Hindu Par­ishad} cre­ated an at­mos­phere in favour of lib­er­a­tion of Ram’s birth­place. I was al­ways with my gu­ruji , Ma­hant Avaidyanat­h. I re­mem­ber, in 1989 when Ra­jiv Gandhi was PM and ND Ti­wari chief min­is­ter, my guru had flown to Delhi by a char­tered flight for dis­cus­sions with the Union home min­is­ter and oth­ers. Congress lead­ers said PM will per­form the shi­lanyas. But dis­cus­sions failed as Ma­hant Avaidyanat­h in­sisted that the shi­lanyas of the pro­posed Ram temple will be held at the sanctum sanc­to­rum and not 100 me­tres away. Af­ter all, the en­tire strug­gle was for the birth­place of Ram. Later, saints did shi­lanyas. The first per­son to pick the axe was Ma­hant Kamesh­war Chau­pal. As for the 1990s, I was serv­ing my guru, who was in jail.

Yogi Adityanath

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