With the ‘Pran Prathishtha’ in the Shri Ram Mandir on 22nd January 2024, Shri Ramlala has returned to his ‘Janm Sthan’. As Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ‘Humare Ram aa gaye hain. Ab vo tent mei nahi, iss bhavya mandir mei rahenge’ (“Our Ram has come. He will not reside in a tent anymore but in this magnificent temple”), millions of people rejoiced on this grand historical occasion with the fervour of festivities.
Prabhu Shri Ram returned because of the faith of millions of Ram Bhakts that never diminished despite countless atrocities by invaders like the Mughals, the Britishers and then the mental slavery of the West imposed by those who ruled India for seven decades post-independence. The struggle to bring back Prabhu Shri Ram started five centuries ago and was passed on over many generations. Hundreds of Ram Bhakts sacrificed their lives, thousands of Ram Bhakts worked tirelessly in different ways and millions of devotees continued to pray for Prabhu Shri Ram to return. Thus, the construction of the temple is not merely an event but is a moment in history which marks the beginning of the Bharatiya Renaissance. It is the start of reclaiming the lost prosperity, the lost glory, the lost pride, and the lost reverence of our great civilisation.
The term ‘Renaissance’ is originally a French word which means ‘Rebirth’. This was earlier commonly used to mark the cultural shift that began in Europe in the 15th century. During that period, Europe witnessed the revival of classical learning and wisdom, and a focus on Latin and vernacular literature. It took more than five centuries for Europe to recover from the social, cultural and economic decay that happened after the collapse of the Roman empire.
Similarly, Bharat, which was earlier called the ‘Sone ki Chidiya’ was plundered and looted for more than ten centuries, compressed and left as one of the poorest countries in the world at the time of its independence. The Indian government post-independence continued to function based on the suggestions and advices received from Western “thinkers”, “experts”, media, etc. for almost seven decades. However, the last decade has been a game-changer for our country. It symbolises the journey of transformation of our country as one embracing its “Swa”; transforming from India to Bharat.
The last decade saw Prime Minister Modi focusing on instilling confidence in the minds of the people of Bharat in their own identity. From looking at ourselves as a third world country to becoming an emerging economy and a superpower in the changing dynamics of the world order, the citizens of the country, not just in Bharat but across the globe, now take pride in being called ‘Bharatiya’. Today, when the citizens have a new-found confidence in our ancient civilization and are ready to reclaim their history, the construction of Shri Ram Mandir and the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ of Shri Ramlala is the first landmark towards this goal- The beginning of the Bharatiya Renaissance.
While the ‘Pran Prathishtha’ was going on in Ayodhya, millions of people became part of it either through their mobile or TV screens or through big LED screens put up by local temples, resident welfare associations and various organizations. The enthusiasm of the people was beyond imagination cutting across boundaries and faiths. More than 1,000 temples in the United States celebrated the construction of Shri Ram Mandir. The live telecast of the ceremony at Times Square, New York and the celebration by Indian citizens across the globe shows the devotion of Ram Bhakts and their confidence in the Bharatiya civilization.
Similarly, in India, the rush in the local temples showed the zeal of the people and their faith in Prabhu Shri Ram. When I visited the local temple near my house, I was amazed to see the crowd of devotees. It was for the first time that I saw my local temple overcrowded, with no space to enter. The happiness of the people while singing Ram Bhajans and their excitement while greeting and congratulating each other for the temple is something which is inexplicable through plain words. A similar situation was observed in the majority of the temples across Bharat. The devotion of the people was the equivalent both in the urban and rural areas.
While in states like West Bengal, where the Hindus live in constant fear due to the present government there, the celebration in the capital city was suppressed but the remaining part of West Bengal saw a similar celebration by Ram Bhakts. Same was the case in Southern India. While many leaders said that the people in Southern India do not connect with Prabhu Shri Ram and states like Tamil Nadu banned the telecast of the ceremony, the citizens came out to celebrate and proved that the construction of the Shri Ram Mandir is beyond any differences, political or otherwise.
Apart from this, what marks the transition in the society is the shift in the mindset of the youth. In the name of ‘secularism’, the previous governments had created a mindset of aversion to Hinduism for the sake of minority appeasement. A society where burning crackers on Diwali and playing Holi with water were against nature; a society in which greeting with ‘Ram Ram’ was considered backward; a society in which listening to ‘Bhajans’ was uncool. The enthusiasm of the youth on the construction of Shri Ram Mandir is an epitome of this very change in the mindset of the young Bharat.
The so-called intellectuals of the country, who focussed on brainwashing the youth in the name of secularism, have been given a strong reply by the youth. The youth of the country has endorsed the construction of the temple and shown a willingness to reclaim their Bharatiya identity. While we have seen the youth supporting the construction of the temple through their posts on social media, the advent of numerous new Bhajans and their viewership is another indicator that shows the journey of turning towards the roots. The cafes in Delhi, especially in the college areas, are playing Ram Bhajans and the youth are posting social media ‘stories’ playing Ram Bhajans on long drives. These are just a few examples indicative of the transition of the mindset of the new generation.
Not just the youth but the entire nation has shown similar enthusiasm. From organising ‘Bhandaras’ to evenings dedicated to Ram Bhajans or hosting Ramayan Path for a week, various activities were undertaken by citizens, temples and various organisations. For the first time, people from all age groups participated in all such events with ardour. As the Prime Minister Modi urged people to light Diyas in the evening, the entire country celebrated the ceremony like Diwali with Diyas, decorated colourful lighting on houses, lit firecrackers and distributed sweets. The saffron flags were a common sight throughout the country. People placed the flags voluntarily and proudly in markets, offices, vehicles and houses. The flags were not a show of power by the majority but represented the confidence that the construction of Shri Ram Mandir has given to the people. Earlier, placing the saffron flag on the rooftop or a vehicle was a symbol of communalism while green flags in rallies were the “right” of certain minority groups. Today, with the construction of the Shri Ram Mandir, people have regained their confidence. Hindus have reunited in the name of Prabhu Shri Ram. Today, the majority can proudly and confidently say that I am a Hindu and does not have to be afraid of being termed as communal.
Seven empires tried to demolish our civilization for more than a thousand years but the Bharatiya civilization stood its ground. The world is a witness, no civilization has survived such attacks. But this is a land of eternal power, a civilization that has been nurtured by many seers and saints, a land of selfless devotees. It is the enduring nature of Sanatan Dharma that has kept us alive as a civilization. However, while it is the end of a long struggle, it also marks the beginning of a new journey. Prabhu Shri Ram has returned to his ‘Janm Sthan’. It is time that we strive towards making a society that reflects the essence of ‘Ram Rajya’. Shri Ram Mandir is not just a place of worship but a symbol of collective aspirations and the rejuvenated spirit of Bharat.
Abhishek Malhotra is a Research Fellow with Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation