New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Around 11.30 a.m on Sunday, every single road leading to the historic Ramlila Maidan in the national capital was jam-packed and the air reverberated with the chants of “Jai Sri Ram” and “Mandir wahi banaenge”.
People were walking in hordes towards the destination — Ramlila Maidan — which many said was their “Ayodhya” for the day.
They were here to take part in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)-organised rally, or “Dharma Sabha”, to demand the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, days ahead of the winter session of Parliament.
It was saffron all around as people, men mostly, of all ages, carried saffron flags, many wearing wristbands with “Ram Mandir” inscribed on them walked around shouting slogans proudly, as if they had already achieved their goal.
“Aaj humara din hai (today belongs to us). We can’t go to Ayodhya, but we want to convey that the people are just a call away. This massive turnout is an indication that we want Ram Mandir, at any cost. It is now or never,” Namit Nagar, 28-year-old businessman who came from Faridabad, told IANS.
The agenda was set by the people at the rally and the message was clear: they do not want to wait any longer. Their voices confirmed their desire to have Ram Mandir before 2019 elections.
“We have gathered here to send a message that if the government fails to build the temple, then we will do it. Ram was born here, it is our land. If Ram temple is not constructed in Ayodhya then where do you think it should be build?” Nagar threw a poser.
Laxmi Narayan Gupta, a 75-year-old businessman who came from a village near Badarpur, said that earlier he visited Ayodhya once in every two years or so, but due to the age factor, he has not been able to go there for the last three years.
Gupta said that he still has hope that the temple will be built before the elections. On being asked the reasons for supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he stated it is the only party that can settle the temple issue.
“Ayodhya has been an emotive issue for the Hindu community… This is the right time to build temple and the BJP is bound to do it. Since people are raise voice for the temple, the government is bound to heed to their demand,” Gupta said emphatically.
The Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land dispute is currently pending before the Supreme Court which adjourned the decision on October 29. In January, the apex body is expected to announce a date for beginning the hearing.
The VHP-RSS activists and supporters, who had assembled for the Sunday’s rally, also voiced their anguish over the delay in the construction of Ram temple due to a delay in start of hearing in the matter. They also expressed their reservations on the apex court giving a verdict in a religious-emotional issue like this.
“We can’t wait for the Supreme Court verdict. If the court doesn’t come up with a judgment in our favour, which is very much likely, this crowd will end up reaching Ayodhya. The court can open at midnight to hear the case of a terrorist but doesn’t have time to resolve this matter,” said Brajendra Gupta from Dhaula Kuan who is also a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist.
But what if BJP does not build the temple prior to 2019 elections?
“We have been waiting patiently for four years now, I gave vote to BJP only because they mentioned about building temple at Ayodhya in their manifesto. It is disappointing that we were given false hopes and assurances. We still have faith that BJP will build it, and if not we won’t support it any more,” Parth Sharma, an accounts professional from Saharanpur, stated.
(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])