Ayodhya sadhus oppose Togadia’s demand for Modi govt to build Ram temple – Dhirendra K. Jha

Vishwa Hindu ParishadVHP leadership appears to be struggling to keep the flock of sadhus together just when it is getting ready to push the Narendra Modi government to move a central legislation that would clear the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.” – Dhirendra. K. Jha

Is the Vishwa Hindu Parishad losing its internal cohesion now that its sister organisation, Bharatiya Janata Party, is in power? Or is it simply that many of the sadhus attached to it, especially those in Ayodhya, have found out that there is hardly anything to gain by following the line laid down by the VHP leadership?

Whatever the reason, the VHP leadership appears to be struggling to keep the flock of sadhus together just when it is getting ready to push the Narendra Modi government to move a central legislation that would clear the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Pravin TogadiaThe differences came to the fore in the just-concluded meeting of the VHP’s central governing body, the Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal. At the conclave in Haridwar, The VHP’s international president Pravin Togadia, despite his best efforts, failed to convince the Ayodhya sadhus to back his demand that the BJP should fulfill its Lok Sabha poll promise regarding the construction of Ram temple at the site on which the Babri Masjid stood until 1992.

Dharam Das of AyodhyaAt the meeting held on May 25-26, Togadia’s move was blocked by a prominent Ayodhya sadhu, Dharam Das, who publicly objected to the VHP president’s demand that the central government should take up the construction of temple at Ayodhya in the same manner that the Somnath temple was reconstructed soon after the Independence.

Court case

“The Ayodhya temple issue is pending in the Supreme Court,” Dharam Das, who is the chief of Ayodhya’s most powerful monastic order, Nirvani Akhara, told Scroll.in after the meeting of the Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal. “In this situation, how can the government take any initiative until the Supreme Court gives its judgment? Somnath’s case was different. There was no case pending in the court.”

At the meeting, Togadia asserted, “Just as the Somnath temple was reconstructed by the government of India, in the same way the Modi government must take an initiative to rebuild the Aodhya temple. The court procedures take a long time to resolve.”

Dharam Das said that Togadia was using the temple to play politics. “I am a petitioner in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, and I know that the government cannot have any role in it until the court passes an order,” he said. “Togadia did not like the position that I took in the meeting because once I spoke most sadhus who had come from Ayodhya spoke in my support.”

VHP vice president Jiveshwar Mishra, who organised the meeting at Haridwar, denied the existence of any serious differences in the Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal on the Ram temple issue. However, he added that instead of asking the central government to pass a legislation on the temple, the final resolution at the conclave said that a delegation of five sadhus and VHP leaders would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ask him to expedite the construction of the Ram mandir.

Suresh DasAccording to another VHP leader, who asked to remain unidentified, it was this difference between the organisation’s leadership and the sadhus of Ayodhya that prevented Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal from framing an action plan to pressure the government to move a legislation in this regard. “Dharam Das and Suresh Das [the chief of Ayodhya’s Digambari Akhara] were prominent among the sadhus who insisted that the VHP must not force the government to bring in a central legislation and should rather wait for the Supreme Court’s judgment,” this man explained.

L. K. Advani (1990)Mobilising voters

Ever since 1984, when the VHP adopted the Ramjanmabhoomi issue as its central plank to mobilise Hindu voters, it has had a turbulent relationship with the sadhus of Ayodhya, the nerve-centre of this movement. During late 1980s, the VHP’s campaign in Ayodhya was largely conducted by a tiny handful of sadhus who had little support among the local community of ascetics. It was only in 1990, after L.K. Advani’s rath yatra, that the VHP succeeded in gaining a considerable foothold in Ayodhya. But the alignment that facilitated the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, did not survive long. By the mid-1990s, the Ayodhya sadhus were once again a divided lot, most of them reverting to their day-to-day activities, managing real estate properties and hobnobbing with politicians not just of the BJP but also of the Congress.

“The projection of Modi as the prime ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year did unite most of the sadhus in Ayodhya and brought them under the influence of the VHP,” said Dharam Das. But Modi’s victory altered the situation and Narendra Modi in Faizabad weakened the VHP’s influence in Ayodhya, forcing many of the sadhus there to base their decisions on the profit-and-loss considerations just as they did in the aftermath of the demolition of Babri Masjid.

“Now only those sadhus are obeying the VHP who think that they can get something from it,” said chief priest of the makeshift Ramjanmabhoomi temple on Ayodhya’s disputed site, Acharya Satyendra Das. “Most others know that following the VHP blindly is not good for them individually or collectively.” – Scroll.in, 29 May 2015

Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal Conclave, Haridwar, 25-26 May 2015

See also

3 Responses

  1. VHP pushes Ram temple agenda – Deeptiman Tiwary – TNN – The Times of India – May 27, 2015

    No Islamic structure should come up in the cultural boundary of Ayodhya (involving six districts in UP) nor should any structure in the name of Mughal emperor Babur be erected anywhere in India, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has said in a resolution passed in its meeting of Margdarshak Mandal (central governing body) in Haridwar.

    The resolution demanded building of a Ram temple at the earliest and asked for the entire land at the disputed site to be given to Hindus for temple construction. It also formed a coordination committee of senior saints to push the demands with the government.

    Some participants at the meet suggested that the government call a joint sitting of Parliament to pass a law facilitating the Ram temple. Home minister Rajnath Singh recently said building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya was stalled because BJP did not have majority in Rajya Sabha.

    “Ayodhya’s cultural boundary is the place of Sri Ram’s ‘Krida, Leela and Sanskar’. Every year, thousands of devotees visit these places which have hundreds of pilgrimage sites. No Islamic prayer place or cultural structure will be built in this area. And nothing in the name of Babur will be erected anywhere in India,” the resolution said.

    The resolution said since Hindu society believes that where Ram Lalla is placed is the birthplace of Ram and even the court had confirmed it, the temple would be built on the entire land. “The court has accepted that the temple there was demolished by Babur in 1528. The government had given an affidavit that if the same was proved, it would hand over the entire land for temple construction. The government will have to keep its word,” VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said, adding that Muslims should embrace Ram as India’s cultural icon and contribute in building of the temple.

    More than 100 saints from across the country are attending the meet, VHP said. Many of these saints, however, suggested that VHP must not take a very aggressive stand on the temple issue and give PM Narendra Modi, whom they called “Hinduwadi” and “our PM”, time to deliver on the temple promise.

    • This is a superb agenda if it can be realised.

      But there appears to be a divergence of views between the concerned sadhus of Ayodhya and the VHP. Who are we to believe?

      From statements made by the Home Minister, it is clear that the government has no intention of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya. How is the VHP going to deal with that?

  2. It appears that the MEDIA & the Congress are behind this problem of the VHP;

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