Ayodhya, the land of Lord Ram’s birth is set to retrieve its crown with the construction of the Ram Mandir. The foundation laying ceremony for the temple began on August 5.
After a deep rooted struggle for the possession of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood for many years, The Supreme Court in a historical judgement on November 9, 2019 paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple on the 2.77 acres plot and directed the government to allot 5 acres land to the Sunni Waqf Board to construct a mosque.
In the Moghul period, the invaders removed all the temples and constructed number of mosques in India. The building of mosques was a symbolism of the rule of a religion over the place. One of the mosque was built in Ayodhya- known as lord Ram’s birth place. The mosque was called as the Babri masjid.
Excavation evidence shows that before the construction of the Babri Masjid there was a temple of Lord Ram in the same place. This place holds a great sentimental value for the followers of Hindu religion who wished to re-establish a temple by bringing down the mosque.
The struggle started in 1850s when there was religious violence over a mosque in Hanuman Garhi leading to attempts to demolish the Babri Masjid.
Since then, there have been many attempts to claim the place through unfair practices forcing the police to close the gates of the mosque.
But the religious tensions heightened in 1992 when nearly 150,000 members of right-wing organizations carried out rallies and speeches at the site of the mosque subsequently leading to the mob turning violent which resorted to destructing the mosque through tools and equipments. This entire episode sent shock waves to different parts of the country and as a result large scale riots were seen in Gujarat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Delhi and Hyderabad.
The move was rampantly criticized by political parties stating political and hateful sentiments behind the entire movement also leading to charges against various politicians.
This lead to the Akhil Bhartiya Ramayana Mahasabha(ABRM) and the Sunni Waqf Board approaching the Courts for redressal in the case of the of the disputed property. Various pronouncements were made by the Courts and a due process of mediation was also held between the two blocs.
The issue was brought up in the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP).
Mediation over the issue
To settle the long- pending dispute, the Supreme Court appointed a mediation committee to initiate talks between the parties.
The Court appointed a panel which was headed by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla and comprised of the Humanitarian and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.
This created peaceful talks between the two parties leading to certain agreements.
Keeping in mind the resolution talks, the Supreme Court after a 40 days mediation process declared a historical verdict on 9 November, 2019 bring ease to the long-pending dispute. The Court held that the 1992 demolition of the mosque was in violation of the law.
The decision was lauded by the Hindu and Muslim community members.
After the judgement of the Supreme Court, in February, 2020 the Union Cabinet approved the setting up of Shri Ram Janmabhoobi Tirth Kshetra Trust for the construction of the Ram mandir on the site while Uttar Pradesh’s Sunni Central Waqf Board accepts the five acres allotted to it by the state government for building a mosque in Dhannipur village in Sohawal tehsil of Ayodhya.
A newly established Masjid Trust- Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation was officially handed over the 5 acre property for the construction of the mosque by the Ayodhya DM.
On July 29, 2020, the Sunni Waqf Board announced a nine-member trust that will take up the job of building the mosque, however the Board will include six more trustees later..
On August 5, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the temple’s foundation laying ceremony, which was, organized in grandeur keeping in mind the COVID guidelines.
In his speech, Mr. Modi called it an ‘auspicious day’ and said that “with this day, history is not being made, but is being repeated.” He also lauded the efforts of the workers, various leaders and the Court.
The event saw celebrations across India.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi hoped that the event became a symbol of national unity, fraternity and cultural congregation.
The temple also seeks to become a great attraction for visitors boosting the Tourism industry.