If you thought that the contentious Ram temple had ceased to be an issue with the Supreme Court judgment, you were mistaken. It has now come literally to your doorstep. Since last month, right wing cadres have been going from house to house, seeking donations for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Now, there is nothing illegal about raising funds for a religious structure as long as the trust is registered, receipts are given and accounts submitted. Donating for a cause is also an individual choice. However, the manner in which the whole thing is being carried out is disquieting.
To begin with, the Ram Janmabhoomi movement to build a temple to the deity at the Babri masjid site was divisive. So, when the donation pamphlets equate the building of the temple with nation building (‘Mandir nirman se desh nirman’), they are striking at the secular foundation of India.
Neutrality on faith
Contrary to the BJP’s claims, a lot many still believe that the state should be neutral on matters of faith. And the majority echoes Nehru’s view that the temples of modern India are its big infrastructure projects. Why, what is Modi’s promise of inclusive development, ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ all about?
Yet, we are in an era when religion has been weaponised to the extent that even a chief minister is heckled with slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, with the PM watching silently from the dais.
The climate of fear in which dissenters, from students to septuagenarians, are being locked away for years without a trial, also deters non-conformism. All this emboldens the donation seekers to question the religion and patriotism of Hindus who disagree with them when it should be the other way round.
Gated societies, which are so paranoid about access control that they didn’t even let in census enumerators, have no compunctions about ‘Ram sevaks’ entering freely at night and knocking at every door. Would these gated societies have let in volunteers seeking donations for the reconstruction of the Babri masjid? That’s legitimate too but no one would even dare talk about it.
On the other hand, the Ram ‘bhakts’ boast that even Muslims have contributed towards the temple.
Source: Free Press Journal