Jai Sri Ram and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra

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By Philip Mudartha
Bellevision Media Network

27 Jan 2024:

Ram Mandir rises in Ayodhya: 

Given the political and highly contestable nature of the Ayodhya conflict, the 9th November 2019 unanimous verdict by a five-judge constitution bench expectedly continues to generate contrasting opinions. The bench had ruled that the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya be handed over to a trust to be constituted for the construction of the Ram temple at the site, and five acres allotted at a ’prominent site’ in Ayodhya to build a mosque. Many legal luminaries opposed to the judgment had pointed out that it was “bad in law” but “politically pragmatic”.



The Modi government was pleased with the judgment. It rewarded most of the judges with lucrative post-retirement careers. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi (CJI seen in the centre in the above photo), the architect of the consensus verdict, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha within four months of his retirement. Justice Syed Abdul Nazeer (Shia Muslim from Moodubidri, far right in the above photo), was appointed as governor of Andhra Pradesh within 40 days of his retirement. Opposition parties have alleged that these appointments were rewards for the favourable verdict in the Ayodhya Ram Mandir case.


The Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, formed by the central government as directed by the Supreme Court (SC), took over the construction and management of the temple in Ayodhya in February 2020. The UP government requisitioned an additional 67.703 acre adjoining plot of land to build the sprawling temple complex. Designed and constructed by L&T, the entire project was managed by Tata Consulting Engineers. When the temple made of 600,000 cubic feet of pink sandstone and white marble at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore is fully completed by the end of 2024, it will be the country’s largest Hindu temple. Some have already dubbed the temple town as “Hindu Vatican City”, since millions of devotees are expected to visit.



PM Modi led the Ram Lalla idol consecration ceremony on 22nd January 2024, obviously to benefit electorally from the spiritual fervour it generated. Modi, the ruling BJP and the RSS left no stone unturned, including use, abuse and misuse of the enormous power of state machinery, supportive corporate houses, Bollywood and sports celebrities, Of course, millions of Ram devotees in the country and abroad cheered. They chanted Jai Sri Ram and Modi, Modi, Modi.


The grand ceremony was attended by thousands and broadcast to millions across the nation. “Our Lord Ram has arrived after centuries of wait,” Modi said. VHP, the affiliate of BJP said in a statement that the Ayodhya complex was “our Vatican City, the holiest site for Hindus worldwide”.  “After 500 years of Hindu oppression, Lord Ram will finally be returned to Ayodhya.” 

As the temple’s doors open to the devotees, a path to an economic boost for Ayodhya opens too. The town has undergone a massive makeover with roads being widened, decorative arched gates being erected, and coloured murals depicting incidents in Ram’s life being painted on walls.



A new airport in Ayodhya became operational last month. With a gleaming international airport, Ayodhya will see pilgrims and spiritual tourists jetting in both by chartered and commercial flights. More than a hundred private jets touched down in Ayodhya ahead of the inauguration. For the less fortunate among the devotees, the train station and bus stand have been spruced up too. Lakhs of devotees have descended on the city in order not to miss the historic event.



Retail shops have reported that they have run out of gold and gold-plated statues of Ram. There is great demand for miniature Ram idol statues carved out of wood, religious banners, miniature temple replicas as well as religious use utensils. Business has never been so good. The laddoos are in great demand for use as Prasad.


Property prices in Ayodhya have also skyrocketed as the city is set to become a pilgrimage and tourism hotspot. Even Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has shelled out a whopping Rs 15 crore to acquire a 10,000 square feet plot of land in an upscale real estate project on the Sarayu River near the temple complex.



Ardent Bhakts of Modi claim that the temple would not have been built if he was not the PM. If this claim is true, we have to concede that the SC gave its verdict at the behest of Modi. This argument questions our judiciary’s independence and hence is invalid. The fact is that the Ram Mandir was built following the SC order. It would have been built regardless of who was the PM and which political party or alliance was in government.


As is the habit of Modi, who has the uncanny ability to turn circumstances and events to his political advantage, he precisely put himself at the centre stage on January 22 as the Chief Priest of Hinduism at Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Ram Mandir did not need a Modi to consecrate the idol as much as Modi wanted to do it to further his own core electoral goals. It was not about the deity but about himself, the new Emperor of India. Modi got himself consecrated as the “Hindu Hraday Samrat” and assured himself a third term in office.



Goliath, David and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra:


PM Modi, (seem in the above photo in his customary grand pose) does not believe that the after-glow of grand and carefully choreographed “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony of yet to be completed Ram Mandir will guarantee his re-election in 2024. That is the reason for his “Modi’s Guarantee” ads of welfarism and the slogan of “Viksit Bharat”. After all, the Ram Mandir does not bring in additional votes because it appeals only to those who have been converted already. There is a huge multitude of Bharatiya underclass for whom the most pressing issues are hunger, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to education, health, sanitation and clean drinking water.



At the time when the godi media channels have already declared Narendra Modi the winner of 2024, a young man has embarked on a walkathon from Thoubal, Manipur in the Northeast to Mumbai in the West. The godi media opinion-makers are mocking him: they seem to have absolute clarity about what Rahul Gandhi needs to do and know even better than Rahul Gandhi what Rahul Gandhi should do. They are convinced that the Congress leader is wasting his time doing a second Bharat Jodo Yatra this close to the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. No doubt, in terms of money, muscle and state power, Modi’s BJP is the Goliath of Indian politics. The Congress party particularly lacks money even to mount a credible campaign against the well-oiled election machinery of its opponent.



Modi’s BJP has effectively hijacked all the conventions and institutions that make for a healthy democracy.  Everyone knows the next general elections will be an unequal fight. On one side is the ruling party with big money, big media, and all the investigating agencies at its beck and call. On the other, a beleaguered and fragile opposition alliance under relentless siege by the state. What we are looking at is very much a David vs. Goliath faceoff, the ultimate metaphor for unequal battles. David won because he changed the rules of engagement. And Goliath lost because he quite literally did not understand David.


Rahul Gandhi, the David of Indian politics, is doing exactly what a leader of an opposition party needs to do at this critical juncture in India’s history: bypassing the restrictions of state-controlled media, personally connecting with hundreds of thousands on the ground, and raising five key issues of social justice – justice for the youth, equal representation, justice for women, justice for farmers and justice for labourers.



Comments on this Article
Aboobacker Nettikkara, Kerala Sun, January-28-2024, 9:04
A very clear and well said observation and presentation of Philip Saab as usual. It’s the reflection of peace loving and anti communal masses alike. Unfortunately this will not satisfy the vested interest minded people. There is no doubt at all that the coming election will be crucial to the democratic existence of this great country. Presently we are witnessing the atrocities in Israel-Palestine war in Gaza and the helpless world bodies.. Let us hope and pray for our democracy and peaceful living of the present and future generations
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