Modi Inaugurates Ayodhya Temple On Site Of Destroyed Babri Mosque

On January 22, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a temple to Hindu god Lord Ram on the site where a charged mob of zealots demolished the historic Babri Mosque in Ayodhya

Modi Inaugurates Ayodhya Temple On Site Of Destroyed Babri Mosque

Over three decades ago, Hindu rioters destroyed the historic Babri Mosque. Thousands of religious zealots converged on Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque in December 1992, and destroyed the mosque, armed with axes and hammers, and motivated by the belief that the mosque was built on the grounds of the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The Indian Prime Minister's consecration of the sprawling Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir will set the tone for the BJP's campaign for the general election in May. 

Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has turned the construction of a temple on the site of the demolished Babri Mosque into a central rallying cry, claiming that past governments favored India’s Muslim minority over the Hindu majority in the pursuit of turning India into a secular, constitutional democracy. 

The completion of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir is the fulfillment of a longstanding promise by the Hindu nationalist BJP to build a temple on the site of the Babri Masjid, and is likely to be publicized as a crowning achievement to millions of voters.

Unsurprisingly, the BJP, during its time in power, has sought to dismantle the secular character of the Indian republic, and fashion it into a Hindu supremacist ethno-state. 

Narendra Modi’s government is scrambling to finish construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir on the grounds of the demolished mosque, as the general elections near in May. 

The BJP has turned the consecration of the temple into a national event. Thousands of dignitaries and celebrities have been invited to Ayodhya for the ritual ceremony, and the ceremony will be livestreamed on what has been declared a half-day holidays for employees nationwide.

“The consecration of the temple feels more like the launching of the general election campaign rather than a religious ritual,” said Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, a political commentator who teaches at Krea University in southern India.

Analysts worry that the consecration ceremony overseen by Modi himself will serve as a powerful political declaration of Hindu supremacy. Hindu groups have been keen to portray the inauguration of the mosque as the dawn of a Hindu resurgence after what they claim is centuries of subjugation at the hands of Muslim and colonial rulers.

In 2019, the Indian Supreme Court handed the land where the demolished mosque stood to a Hindu trust, and allotted a separate plot of land over a dozen miles away as the site for a new mosque for Ayodhya’s Muslims.