Infostani International: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Ram Mandir temple in Ayodhya represents a pivotal moment in his muscular Hindu nationalist agenda and an unofficial start to his re-election campaign. Built on the site of a demolished mosque, the event underscores the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ongoing drive to align governance with India’s majority Hindu faith, amid echoes of historical tensions and religious strife.
Prime Minister Modi Inaugurates Ram Mandir: A Landmark Moment in India’s Political Landscape
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a temple, symbolizing the triumph of his muscular Hindu nationalist politics and energizing his supporters as an unofficial kickstart to his re-election campaign this year.
Modi, adorned in flowing golden traditional attire, revealed the black stone idol of the deity Ram at the center of the 50-meter temple. This temple was constructed on grounds where a mosque had stood for centuries before being demolished in 1992 by Hindu zealots incited by members of Modi’s party. The demolition led to the deadliest religious riots since independence, claiming the lives of 2,000 people, predominantly Muslims, and challenging India’s officially secular political order.
Communal Disparities in Celebration:
- Thousands of Hindu devotees celebrated the temple inauguration in Ayodhya.
- Limited participation from Ayodhya’s Muslim community.
- Opposition leaders reportedly stayed away from the event.
In the streets of Ayodhya, thousands of chanting and dancing devotees, waving flags, honking horns, and beating drums, created a vibrant atmosphere. Military helicopters showered flower petals from the sky. Notably, few members of Ayodhya’s Muslim community participated in the celebration, and opposition leaders reportedly stayed away.
BJP’s Governance Agenda:
- Inauguration of Ram Mandir marks a pivotal moment for the ruling BJP.
- Represents a decades-long effort to align governance with the majority Hindu faith.
- Modi emphasizes his role as an instrument for representing all of India during the auspicious opening.
For Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the inauguration of the Ram Mandir temple marks a pivotal moment in their decades-long effort to align the country’s governance with its majority faith.
Modi, reflecting on the “auspicious” opening, stated, “The Lord has made me an instrument to represent all the people of India,” as he prayed at the feet of the human-sized statue adorned with flowers and jewels.
Grand Inauguration of Ayodhya Temple: Celebration, Pilgrimage, and Political Significance
Excitement peaked as thousands of Hindu believers danced in packed streets to religious tunes broadcasted through giant loudspeakers. Vijay Kumar, 18, who traveled 600 kilometers on foot and by hitchhiking over four days to reach the town, expressed the desire to witness the temple before leaving.
Around the elaborate temple, built at an estimated cost of $240 million and funded by public donations, 2,500 musicians performed on over 100 stages for the pilgrims. The 140 kilometers between Ayodhya and the state capital Lucknow featured numerous billboards depicting the blue-skinned Ram with a bow and arrow, alongside images of Modi and the saffron-robed Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, the region’s chief minister.
Prem Sharan, 35, a resident of Ayodhya, attributed the developments to Modi, saying, “Some critics say that it is being turned into an election-like atmosphere; so be it. At least they are doing what they promised, and one needs the power to do things for the people.”
The newly built international airport received attendees, including celebrity guests such as Indian tycoons, former national cricket captain Virat Kohli, and Bollywood Titan Amitabh Bachchan.