5 July 2009
Ayodhya belongs to us all, like Ram. Having made the nation wait for 17 long years, the Liberhan Commission report hasnâ€™t made even an iota of difference. The only course left for the government now is to approach the Guinness Book of Records to get an award for the longest procrastination to the commission and carry on with the national business. If the Congress, in its zeal to encash on its value for Muslim appeasement, wants to create a scene after it, it will be in for a shock. Ayodhya is a difficult issue for it - its hands are everywhere from opening the locks to laying the foundation stone and later the Rao era.
The fact is no power can now shift the temple built on Ram Janma Bhumi. Daily puja is going on uninterruptedly, notwithstanding a terrorist attack on it. The chargesheets and the case etc. have lost their relevance. Those who took up the cause politically are a divided house, some converting to the neo-â€˜secularismâ€™ and have lost all credibility in the public eye. Even if the temple was a long-distance call, they could have at least taken care of the Ayodhya city, its protectors and the carriers of an invaluable flow of traditions - the sadhus and mathadhipatis. They didnâ€™t do anything.
Take care of Ayodhya.
Itâ€™s a city of Ram and India would be less than a nation if Ram is taken away or left isolated like a post-Columbus American-Indian village.
Turn Ayodhya into an international city of grandeur like Thailand has done to its own Ayutthaya. Itâ€™s a city defining India, the heritage, the immortal literature woven around it, the dreams and aspirations of people sung keeping it in the centre, the river Sarayu and the dust turned holier because Ram had played in it. Itâ€™s incredibly Indian and unbelievably divine. It will earn spiritual solace. Those who think in terms of euros and dollars wonâ€™t be disappointed. That would come with a political mileage for all times without ruffling any feathers or denting a vote bank.
After all, Rajiv Gandhi had started his election campaign from there, promising Ram Rajya. For a devout Sikh Manmohan Singh, Guru Granth Saheb has most adorable references to Ram. And for others, Ram is India, which has given them so much of respect and power without bothering about their religion or origin. Mohammad Iqbal, the famous poet had said: Ram is Imame Hind - the greatest icon of India. They all owe a great deal to repay a debt to this landâ€™s civilisational power that has been soothing and compassionate to all coming from diverse backgrounds and having different ideas.
Donâ€™t deny Ayodhya this time. Die unsung but be honest once to your conscience. Ayodhya has been ditched immeasurably by her own small-time courtiers.
Ayodhya deserves to be developed as an international city of Ram, the Prince of Ayodhya, who fought the devils and gave us reason to celebrate Diwali, now the global festival of lights. And his return to Ayodhya makes us enact Ram Lilas and burn effigies of an unrepentant wicked demon. Thatâ€™s why we have a Vijaya Dashami, the Dushehra. Ayodhya is unquestioningly intertwined into the lives of billions of Hindus who would prefer a Ram Ram or Jai Siyaram as a salutation than a Namaste. The joys and sorrows of Sita, the Janaki, the Van-gaman, exile to the forest, the Luv and Kush episodes. And the ultimate JalSamadhi, self-immersion by Ram in Sarayu. It's all Ayodhya. Later Luv established Lahore and even the Pakistan government feels proud about this fact in its travel literature and Kush established Bedi clan, to which belonged Guru Goovind Singh Saheb as per his Bani, the holy words.
That's us put together. Thatâ€™s Ayodhyaâ€™s legacy.
Make Ayodhya a union territory. A city extraordinaire must be maintained under extraordinary dispensation - central government. Let NRIs design and fund it. Reward the pujaris and sadhus who had been keeping the flame of dharma and cityâ€™s sanctity alive, living in penury, ignored and isolated. They deserve warmth of belongingness and we owe it to them. The bungalow owners of metros and those who raise decibels in parliament for nothing never help in protecting the heritage. Those who do it must be recognized. Ayodhya is more than Ang Kor Wat, because from Korean princes to the builders of Ang Kor, they all took inspiration from this city on the banks of the Sarayu. Itâ€™s not just a parliamentary or assembly seat.
An International Rama University, a Janaki International airport, a Shabari University for Women, a Hanuman Academy for warfare, a think Valmiki thinktank to study invasions on India and the resultant socio-political changes, Luv-Kush panoramic garden of Indian culture and history on Sarayu bank, with a Pakistani contribution too, the city must resonate with elements that define and sustain Bharat that is India.
Think about it. Liberhan reminds you of smallness. Ayodhya is universal.