Just like Deity Hanuman, VHP did not take the credit for Shriram Temple, despite fighting for it for 40 years ! : Mr Vinod Bansal (National Spokesperson, VHP)

Mr Vinod Bansal

The mere mention of Ayodhya automatically brings to the mind the birthplace of Deity Shriram and the name of the organisation that has been constantly struggling for it. The whole world knows that Ayodhya is the birthplace of Shriram. It was founded by Vaivaswat Manu Maharaj on the banks of River Sarayu. While renovating the Temple on Shriram’s Janmabhoomi (Birth place), it is estimated that Emperor Vikramaditya built a grand Temple on 84 pillars of black stone around 2,100 years ago. This Temple was destroyed in 1528 on the orders of the foreign invader Babar by his General Mir Baqi. A mosque-like structure was built on the foundation of the Temple from its debris.

1. Martyrdom of over 1,76,000 Shriram devotees to save Shriram Temple

The intention in destroying this Hindu Temple was to attack the faith of the Hindu community and forcefully convert them to Islam. The fight continued for 15 days to stop this first attack on Shriram Temple. In these 15 days, an estimated 1,76,000 devotees were martyred. Finally, the Mughal invaders destroyed the Temple by using cannons. From 1528 to 1949, there were an estimated 76 battles to revive Shriram Temple, in which lakhs of Shriram devotees sacrificed their lives. At times we (Hindus) won, at other times we stopped; but we never gave up our right to our God’s birthplace.

Sometimes it was a king who fought, sometimes landlords, Saints and common citizens. Sometimes God is seen from near or from far, sometimes He is seen sitting in the form of an Idol, and sometimes we only get a glimpse of His Janmabhoomi. We have had His darshan sometimes in the Temple or in the pavilion that has been built with sand bags. There was pain in the hearts of Shriram devotees; but there was also a sense of satisfaction, that no matter what happened, the fortune of having darshan of the Holy Shriram Janmabhoomi would one day lead to building of the grand Temple. Every devotee who came to Ayodhya would go back with deep pain and a resolve in his heart – ‘O’ Ramlalla ! We will return one day and construct a grand Temple’.

2. Court battle for many years for Shriram Janmabhoomi

In 1885, during the then British rule, the Court gave a decision in favour of Shriram Janmabhoomi. In Independent India, Mr Gopal Singh Visharad from Ayodhya filed the first case in January 1950 in the District Court of Faizabad (now Ayodhya) seeking permission to worship Shriram. This was also agreed to by the High Court. The second case was filed on 5th December 1950 by Paramhansa Shri Ramachandra Das, an Ascetic of the Ramananda Sect, which was withdrawn in August 1990. The third case was filed by Shri Pancha Ramanandi Nirmohi Akhara in December 1959 and the fourth case after the Sunni Central Waqf Board in December 1961. The fifth case was filed in July 1989 by Bhagawan Shri Ramlalla Virajaman and Sthan Shriram Janmabhoomi.

3. Former Prime Minister Gulzarilal Nanda and Dau Dayal Khanna (Both from the Congress party) appealed for the liberation of Shriram Janmabhoomi

Since 1949, legal proceedings regarding Shriram Janmabhoomi continued at a snail’s pace; but the turning point came when the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) – that was established in 1964 – entered its 19th year and in its youth shouldered the responsibility of spearheading the movement. Instead of taking credit for this, the VHP kept giving its credit to others. In a Hindu meeting organised at Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) on 6th March 1983, it was Gulzarilal Nanda (a two-time interim Prime Minister of India) and Dau Dayal Khanna (a senior leader and former Health Minister of the State), both from the Congress, called for the liberation of Shriram Janmabhoomi along with Kashi and Mathura. In this regard, these leaders also wrote to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

4. Nationwide Yatra of Vishva Hindu Parishad for the liberation of Shriram Janmabhoomi

After the above mentioned incident, one agitation after another was organised for the liberation of Shriram Janmabhoomi. However, before the formal announcement of these agitations, the VHP devised a unique plan for a country-wide ‘Ekatmata Yajna’ in December 1983. Under this, inspired by Shriram-bhav (Devotion unto Shriram) ‘Jati-Bhasha Anek, Sara Bharat Ek (There are many castes, languages; but entire Bharat is united)’, over 100 small and big religious journeys covered a distance of over 50,000 kilometres to connect entire Bharat – from Haridwar to Rameswaram and from Gangasagar to Somnath. The convergence of all these journeys took place on 29th December 1983 at Nagpur.

5. Ramlalla’s release from captivity in February 1986

The appeals of Gulzarilal Nanda and Dau Dayal Khanna, and the enthusiasm of the ‘Ekatmata Yatra’ gave fresh impetus to the movement.

As a result, on 21st July 1984, the Shriram Janmabhoomi Mukti Yajna Samiti was established in the Bhagawatacharya Ashram at Ayodhya. Goraksha Peethadhishwar H.H. Mahant Vaidyanathji Maharaj was designated the President and Dau Dayal Khanna, the General Secretary of this Committee. Their devotion to Shriram and the Nation drew both to this Holy task. Thereafter programmes, movements and organisations were formed one after another, and the number of Shriram devotees kept growing. In 1984, a group of youth were organised under the name of Bajrang Dal for the Rath Yatra of Shriram-Janaki and their security.

Dharmasthala Raksha Samiti was formed to intensify the campaign against the locking of the Janmabhoomi. Ramlalla was released from captivity on 1st February 1986 due to the appeal of the Dharma Sansad at Udupi on 31st October 1985 and Mahant Ramchandradas Paramahansa’s warning of self-immolation.

6. Announcement of Karseva in 1990

On the day of Devotthan Ekadashi (Prabodhini Ekadashi) – 9th November 1989 – with the stones collected from 4 lakh villages across the country, the foundation stone of Shriram Temple was laid by Harijan brother Shri Kameshwar Chaupal in the presence of Saints. Yajnas were performed at approximately 7,000 places across the country for this purpose. After this, as per the decision in the meeting of the Central Governing Body of Saints, the announcement of Karseva on 30th October 1990 created a sensation in the political circles. To stop this, the Union Government of VP Singh and State Government of Mulayam Singh Yadav gave many warnings, including the use of sticks and bullets; however, lakhs of Karsevaks started hailing Ramlalla by whatever means and in any disguise. With saffron bands tied to our heads, we reached Ayodhya with heart-rending and sky-piercing slogans such as ‘Ramlalla hum ayenge, mandir vahin banayenge (lit. O’ Ramlalla ! We will come and construct the temple at the very same place)’. Mulayam Singh (the then CM of Uttar Pradesh) had arrogantly said that in Ayodhya – ‘Parinda bhi par nahi maar sakta’ (lit. Where even a bird cannot fly).

Enthusiastic Shriram devotees hoisted the saffron flag on the dome. At that time, the great leader of the movement, Mr Ashok Singhal, also suffered brutal injuries.

7. Various obstacles faced in the struggle for Shriram Janmabhoomi and solutions

One obstacle after another kept cropping up in this battle for Shriram Janmabhoomi, the solutions to these problems also kept coming up and the whole world waited eagerly for them; whether it was the Rath Yatra of the BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, or the discussions with VP Singh, Chandrasekhar and PV Narasimha Rao, or the Babri structure demolition incident on 6th December 1992, or the verdict of the Allahabad High Court in September 2010, or the continuous verbal attacks on the Court by anti-Hindu and anti-national Congressmen to create difficulties in the hearing of the Supreme Court, or the historic consensus order of 9th September 2019, there were problems galore.

8. Reaching out to 65 crore Hindus under ‘Shriram Janmabhoomi Nidhi Samarpan Abhiyan’

The Supreme Court’s decision ended the agitations and legal manoeuvring; but the 44-day ‘Shriram Janmabhoomi Nidhi Samarpan Abhiyan’, which started from 15th January 2021, also set a new record of being high in awareness campaigns worldwide.

Even after the severe effect of the Covid pandemic crisis, once again Shriram devotees united with the sentiment that ‘This Shriram Temple is mine. Shriram’s ideals and values are mine. Let’s move towards Ramrajya together. No matter how many obstacles come in our way, we will stand firm and overcome the thorny path with the entire Hindu society’.

Over 40 lakh activists were mobilized through 10 lakh groups to reach out to 65 crore Hindus in over 13 crore families in 5.25 lakh villages (out of a total of 6.5 lakh villages in the country).

From the President, to the Governors, Chief Ministers, Ministers, State dignitaries, dignitaries from various walks of life, venerable Saints, all economically and socially strong and weak Shriram devotees offered money that was more than devotion and strength. In 2020, we also saw the Bhoomi Pujan being performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a result of all this, Ramlalla will now be reinstated in His grand and Divine original sanctum sanctorum on 22nd January 2024.

9. ‘If Hindus are united, the Nation will also become strong’, this is the perspective of the VHP

For four decades (from 1983 to 2023), the whole world has witnessed VHP’s contribution to this movement in the form of planning, creation, operation and crisis management; however, VHP did not take credit and instead gave it to venerable Saints and Hindus.

VHP sought the guidance of Saints from various sources such as Margadarshak Mandal, Janmabhoomi Mukti Yajna Samiti, Mandir Jirnodhdhar Samiti, Shriram Janmabhoomi Trust, Shriram Janmabhoomi Mukti Sangharsh Samiti and the recent Shriram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra Trust.

Apart from this, Saints were always in the forefront and given credit. VHP always attributed every small and big success to the Saints and Hindu society. While doing all this, the VHP itself remained active in the sacred work of serving the Motherland, awakening and organising the Hindu society. VHP had only one aim – that of uniting Hindus – so that the Nation becomes powerful. If discrimination in Hindu society ends, society will be harmonious and happy.

During this period, besides many other struggles, the VHP also fought a major and decisive battle for the security of Ram Setu and the Amarnath Yatra. VHP learned this from Deity Hanuman’s devotion. Deity Hanuman made every difficult task of Deity Shriram easy; but it was attributed only to Shriram or others with Him.

– Mr Vinod Bansal (National Spokesperson, Vishva Hindu Parishad) (16.11.2023)