Ram Mandir: Transcending the national boundaries

After some protracted debates and dialogues, prolonged arguments, and counterarguments, including some significant sacrifices that have travelled from one century to the next
Ram Mandir: Transcending the national boundaries

Bishaldeep Kakati

(Advocate, Gauhati High Court)

After some protracted debates and dialogues, prolonged arguments, and counterarguments, including some significant sacrifices that have travelled from one century to the next, the nation of India finally succeeded in constructing and inaugurating the much-awaited Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi, i.e., Ayodhya. The construction was only possible because of the landmark judgement passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on a case that was also pending for years. The Prana Pratishtha ceremony of the temple, which was held on January 22, 2024, was graced by the hon’ble Prime Minister of India, including a host of dignitaries, and the event further glorified the desire of the nation to uphold and preserve its unique culture and heritage. In fact, the magnificent Ram Mandir was constructed in the Nagara style of temple architecture, further beautified by its towering spires, or shikharas. The structure of the temple was built by making use of the pink sandstone, spread across an area of 2.77 acres. Not to forget the fact that the beautifully designed idol of Ram installed inside the temple further enhanced the spirit of spirituality amongst the denizens of the nation.

The construction and inauguration of the Ram Mandir have also led to some political debates. A section of the people is of the standpoint that the construction of the temple is another agenda item of the government in the centre to propagate the much-debated Hindutva belief. While bringing political association to anything new in India, be it a law, rules and regulations, or the construction of a religious shrine, is not a new affair in India, it is time the denizens of India start understanding and analysing the importance of the construction of the Ram Mandir, beyond the political standpoint.

The construction of Ram Mandir is associated with Lord Rama, who is considered a deity in the Hindu school of religious thought. Lord Rama, as described in the Ramayana, is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is believed to possess all the divine qualities that an individual should acquire. As such, Lord Rama is also known as Maryada Purushottam. The entire narrative of the divinity of Ram as described is adored and worshipped not only in India, but the character’s sanctity also forms an integral part of the cultural heritage of neighbouring nations like Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia. Thus, the desire of the nation to glorify the immortal tales of Lord Rama by constructing the temple in turn helps the country strengthen its relationship with the aforementioned countries by way of cultural diplomacy, which very diplomatically enhances the potential of Bharat’s soft power. The same soft power, which is considered to be an important trump card in contemporary times, is used to not only enhance relationships with countries but also to project a nation as distinctive from others. Political scientist Josheph Nyre focused on a nation’s ability to influence others through attraction and persuasion rather than coercion, which, in short, can be understood as soft power. As such, the Ram Mandir constructed in Ayodhya has multiple aspects related to it that can enhance and escalate India’s soft power potential.

Since time immemorial, the nation of India has been the hub of cultural narratives, a traditional belief system, and a sacred and pious connection to Mother Nature, which makes its place unique from a global standpoint. Thus, the Ram Mandir, so constructed, very proudly displays the rich repository of pre-history, culture, and heritage, the diversity that the land is bestowed with, alongside the unity and inclusiveness of the nation as a whole in its commitment to protect, preserve, and even construct monuments or forts that are the flag bearers of its ancient history and tradition. This construction therefore creates an image of positivity going beyond the domain of politics.

The cultural coexistence and religious pluralism that India exhibited by constructing the Ram Mandir can be considered one right step to establish a harmonious environment, thereby enhancing the prospect of a decreased number of conflicts based on religious ideas and beliefs and, in the process, establishing stability in an often volatile religion. Not to forget the fact that the same construction can rightly act as a catalyst from the perspective of South Asian politics, improving India’s connection with the South Asian countries.

The Pran Pratisha of the Ram Mandir was also a monumental step in enhancing India’s prestige in the global sphere. The picture of religious harmony that India could achieve by constructing the Ram Mandir further enhances its reputation in the world as a country that beautifully embraces unity amidst diversity in terms of religious belief as well. In fact, there are many examples of monuments that carry the identity of the countries where they were constructed, be they the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Statue of Liberty. In a similar manner, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya might, in the long run, also become the symbol of India’s rich and divine cultural identity.

Conspicuously, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is not just limited to its spiritual essence. By constructing the Ram Mandir, India has also placed itself as a country in Asia with its own unique identity. This can be concluded by understanding the fact that the country has just gone beyond politics, military, and economics to embrace and adore its age-old indigenous spiritual and cultural aspects. At a time when nations across the world have laid their interest in the continent of Asia, the construction done in India might elevate the country’s position in Asia in terms of tourism, economy, cultural exchanges, and more so, a country that acts as the guardian of its religious beliefs and cultural diversity.

The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has, no sooner than later, already become a place of pilgrimage for not only the denizens residing in India but also for those residing outside the country as well. The temple, as described earlier, is dedicated to Lord Rama, who is still considered to be one of India’s greatest administrators. It was from the deity Ram itself that the concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ came into play. As such, the construction of the temple at Ayodhya will be glorified further if the government and the people at large follow the ideals of the Preamble and the Constitution of India and thereby establish the much-adored “Ram Rajya’.




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