Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court in a historic verdict on Saturday, 9 November, backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya. It ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.
Delivering a unanimous judgment on a case that has long polarised the country and frayed the secular tapestry of the country, a five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said the faith of Hindus about Lord Ram being born at the site was undisputed.
VHP Suggests Shah, Yogi Be Included in Proposed Temple Trust
Days after the judgment, the Centre has started the process of setting up a trust, as mandated by the apex court.
Opinions of the Ministry of Law and the attorney general will be taken on how to proceed on setting up the trust that will fix the modalities for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, reported PTI. A team of officials have been tasked with studying the top court order threadbare for its technicality and nuances so that the trust can be constituted exactly as per the verdict, said the news agency.
The VHP has suggested that Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath be included in the Supreme Court-mandated trust for the construction of a temple at Ramjanmabhoomi site in Ayodhya, said media reports.
“We also feel that Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi be made a part of the trust, and if needed, exceptions be made for their inclusion,” VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma told PTI, and cited Sree Somnath Trust's inception to buttress his point.
KM Munshi, who was at that time (early post Independence) a minister in the Union cabinet, was in the trust.
212 Pillars, 5 Entrances: VHP’s Vision of the Ram Mandir
VHP's Sharad Sharma on Wednesday, 13 November, also reiterated the outfit's hope that the trust would build a grand temple as per the design prepared by the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas (RJN).
The Nyas has been running a sprawling workshop in Ayodhya’s Karsewakpuram since 1990 and artisans and craftsmen have fashioned carved stones and pillars over these years, with the assumption that one day, these will be used to build a temple for ‘Ram Lallah’.
The Ram Janmabhomi Nyas is supported by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, whose members volunteer services at the workshop. The right-wing group does not want a fresh 'shilanyas' (first stone laying ceremony) for the temple as it has already been done in November 1989, as per PTI.
It wants the temple to be built as per the design prepared by architect Chandrakant Sompura. The renowned temple architect had prepared the design in 1989 on the request of former VHP chief Ashok Singhal, and it was circulated among devotees across the country.
A wooden model of a ‘proposed Ram Temple’ in a glass encasement has been kept at the workshop site for over two decades, and many devotees stream in from various parts of India to see the model.
As per the RJN plan, the temple, once built, will be 268 feet long, 140 feet wide and 128 ft high from the ground to the apex point (Shikhar) and a total of 212 pillars will be used, according to 79-year-old Annu Bhai Sompura, in-charge of the workshop.
Almost half the number of pillars are ready, while the work for the ground floor of the temple is already over.
While doors and pillars have been carved for the temple in Ayodhya over the years, and reports say that so have the walls, the ‘garbh griha’ (sanctum sanctorum) is yet to be built, where Ram Lalla, the deity, will be placed and worshipped.
"“Over these nearly 30 years since the inception of the workshop, we have been taking the design of this temple to people’s homes through various means of communication. Devotees too have taken pictures and videos and spread the word. So, that is the dominant image of a Ram temple in the consciousness of the people.”" - VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma
According to IANS, the Ram temple will have five entrances: Singh Dwar, Nritya Mandap, Rand Mandap, Pooja Room and the all-important ‘garbh griha’ with parikrama. Ram Lalla, the idol, will be placed on the ground floor itself.
At least 1.75 lakh cubic feet of sandstone will be required for the full construction of the temple as envisioned, said news agency IANS.
At the workshop, some of the pink sandstones which were carved intricately in the early 90s have darkened over the decades, but these will be washed up once the time comes for their use, said Hanuman Yadav, a VHP worker and caretaker and guardian of the workshop, as he points towards lintels and columns and ceiling blocks, bearing beautiful floral motifs.
Asked what happens if the proposed trust draws out a fresh plan for the Ram temple, Sharma said, "We are very optimistic about the RJN plan getting accepted by the trust, or at least be included in the grand temple design. These stones have been carved over decades with money donated by people."
'Ram Shilas' to Form Foundation of Ram Temple
The 'Ram Shilas' – bricks with 'Shri Ram' inscribed on them which were collected from devotees across the country in 1989 just before the 'shilanyas' took place in Ayodhya – will now be used in the foundation of the grand Ram temple.
The bricks, which come with immense sentimental value, will also be used to set up a memorial wall to mark the contribution of those involved in the Ram temple movement but did not live to see the temple being built.
"In 1989, when the 'shilanyas' was held, nearly 50,000 of these bricks were used. The remaining bricks have been lying for almost 30 years at VHP's temple workshop in Ayodhya," said VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma.
Lord Ram Statue to be Erected or Not?
There is, however, a confusion on whether to erect a gigantic statue of Lord Ram, as many want, or not, reported IANS.
The original concept just had Lord Ram's idol. It will need deliberation on the statue. But for now, the workforce needs manifold increase and the supply of stones will require to be far more regular to ensure the Ram Mandir comes to being at the once disputed site of Ayodhya in time, reported IANS.
2,100 kg Bell Made by Muslim Craftsman to Adorn Proposed Ram Mandir
A bell weighing 2,100 kg has been made for the proposed grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. The huge bell has been crafted by a Muslim craftsman, Iqbal, in Jalesar in Etah district, reported IANS.
The bell is nearly 6 feet in height and 5 feet in width. It was crafted in a workshop owned by Vikas Mittal, who is the Jalesar Nagar Palika chairperson.
The designing and finishing of the bell was done by Iqbal, who has been a craftsman for the last 40 years.
The average cost of the bell is said to be around Rs 10 to 12 lakh, reported IANS.
Construction May Begin from Ram Navami Next April
The construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya is likely to start from Ram Navami in April next year, according to IANS. Ram Navami, which celebrates the birth of Lord Ram, falls on 2 April in 2020.
"“There can be no better date for initiating the Ram Janmabhoomi temple. The three-month deadline for setting up a trust ends in February and by then, all preparations would be completed. However, we will discuss with the government before we commit on the date.”" - A Senior VHP Leader told IANS
The pre-construction work will commence on Makar Sankranti in January, as reported by the news agency.
The VHP soon plans to hold a meeting of the 'Margdarshak Mandal' to work out the modalities of temple construction and fund mobilisation.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)
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