Ayodhya Art Festival: It might appear a minor swing in pendulum, but it is a step towards reclaiming lost glory

The city of Ayodhya organized the Ayodhya Art Festival to commemorate the life and times of its beloved king, Shri Rama. The three-day festival which began on the 12th of October saw artists from all across the country descend at Ram Janambhoomi to create a wall to wall paintings depicting different events from the Ramayana. The theme of the event is “Rama and his Life” with focus on 10 different episodes of his life, including Bal-kand, Ayodhya-Kand, Aranya-Kand, Sundar-Kand, Lanka-Kand, Uttara-Kand, Lav-Kush-Kand and Ram Darbaar.

Initial sketching began on 12th and artists could be seen working hard on their art. The winners will receive a prize money of Rs. 25000, Rs. 15000 and Rs. 10000 for their respective position on the podium.

Karan Acharya, the creator of Hanuman 2.0 which is a rage on the internet, has also joined the event.

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Ayodhya holds a special place in the heart of every pious Hindu. It is the birthplace of our Shri Rama and in independent India, it is the place where Hindu Renaissance began. For far too long, efforts were made to curtail the cultural potential of the city. But the mystical power that the city is teeming with is impossible to curb for long. It is at Ayodhya that the seeds of Hindu consolidation were sown and it is in the sacred soil of that sacred city where the fire of Dharma burns the brightest.

For a long time, Ayodhya was famous, or rather infamous, for the bloodshed it witnessed in the early part of the 1990s. One of the holiest cities of Hindus was not given the recognition it was due because of internal politics of the country. It was only last year after the saffron-clad Mahant of Gorakhnath Math assumed the seat of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, did Ayodhya receive the adulation it deserved. In what was one of the most powerful acts of symbolism in Narendra Modi’s reign as Prime Minister, the ghats of the legendary Sarayu was lit with hundreds and thousands of Diyas at the behest of Yogi Adityanath.

It was during Diwali last year that Ayodhya had finally managed to cast off the dark shadows of tyranny that the Babri had inflicted on it since centuries and continued to even after its demolition. It was a poignant message that was conveyed through the simple act of celebrating Diwali with great pomp and vigour at Ayodhya, a simple message that our culture and our heritage shall no longer be held hostage by the vicious claws of appeasement politics.

The art festival at Ayodhya may appear to some as a minor swing of the pendulum in the grand scheme of things. However, it is a further testament to the fact that Ayodhya shall no longer be a mere reflection of Mughal tyranny in the public mind. Ayodhya shall again honour the one true king it has ever known, Prabhu Ram. The art festival is an auspicious start but one hopes that in the years to come, the entire city will be transformed to reflect its great heritage and ancient history. More importantly, the art festival appears to be preparing the city for the Bhavya Ram Mandir that was promised. Long years have passed and many appear to be losing faith but it is my firm belief that the Bhavya Ram Mandir is not too far away.

It is in the sacred soil of Ayodhya that the future of our great nation rests. Our commitment to the city and our veneration of it will determine whether the Hindu civilization will still continue to serve as a beacon of Pagan culture in a world devoured by the intolerance of monotheistic cults or fade away into oblivion like our Roman and Greek cousins.

The world as we know it is undergoing a tectonic shift and great powers appear to be afoot to shape the destiny of our people and our civilization. The protests in Kerala after the Supreme Court struck down a tradition centuries old are a testament to the fact that the great Hindu spirit is very much alive. The protests have garnered great support from all across the country and Hindus regardless of their caste and transcending barriers of regionalism have come forward to show their support for the great Sabarimala Temple.

It is also important to remember to not lose sight of the great scheme of things. Yes, we are at a situation where every tradition of ours is under attack from an undemocratic wing of the state and an evangelist ideology that seeks to crush every pagan act of devotion. We have suffered and continue to suffer heft defeats but there are enough reasons to make us optimistic about the future.

The protests at Sabarimala have shown that there’s greater unity among Hindus and a greater consciousness about the siege on our faith and the willingness and dedication to combat the forces of evil. Also, the sacred city of Ayodhya is finally being reclaimed from the clutches of appeasement politics and being transformed to honour its true King.

These are signs that ought to give hope to every Hindu alive. There are plenty to reasons to be unhappy about but we are indeed, finally, moving in the right direction.

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