The Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the early 90s was a period of a massive nation-wide mobilisation of Hindus to make them aware of the centuries of wrong committed against the community, first by the onslaught of Islamic invaders, who had forcefully converted, tortured and killed them by the millions, and subsequently in the hands of successive ‘secular’ governments who had operated on the premise that secularism means keeping Hindus as the second-class citizens in their own county.
The fact that Hindus were even deprived of worshipping their gods at the Ram Janmabhoomi, one of the most sacred sites of the faith, was a symbol of the centuries of injustice and oppression faced by the community. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement was about reclaiming that place and righting that wrong.
The call for Hindus to gather at Ayodhya for the massive rally called by VHP and BJP was gathering pace. Many Hindu leaders were working day and night with Karsevaks to reach out to the masses. The speeches of Sahvi Ritambhara during that time were testimony to the scale and the popularity of the movement.
Video of Sadhvi Ritambhara’s speech in Delhi during Rath Yatra
In her speech, in Delhi, she recited a poem that called Karsewaks to move forward and join hands to build the Ram Mandir. During that period, her role as an orator in the Rath Yatra made her a popular choice for political campaigns for BJP. As it can be heard in the video, she showed concern towards those who have ‘allergy’ with the word Hindu. She asked them why there was so much hate for the Hindus when their forefathers were Hindu once.
Who is Sadhvi Ritambhara?
Sadhvi Ritambhara is one of the most prominent names of Ram Janbhoomi movement. She joined Sangh Parivar as a member of Rashtriya Sevika Samiti that is the women’s wing of RSS. She had worked extensively with Vishwa Hindu Parishad during Advani’s Rath Yatra to build a sentiment among Ram Bhakts in favour of the temple in Ayodhya. She was present at the Ram Janm Bhoomi when the disputed structure was torn down. Three days after the demolition, she was arrested on grounds of inciting communal tension.
During the Ram Mandir movement, Sadhvi Ritambhara’s speeches were very popular, and cassette tapes of her speeches were played at temples and public places, which helped in mobilising public support for the movement. She was one of the three key women leaders of the movement, the other two being Uma Bharati and Vijayaraje Scindia
Sadhvi Ritambhara is also the founder-chairwoman of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad. The purpose of the Durga Vahini is to encourage more women to participate in prayer meetings and in cultural activities. The aim of the organization is to establish Hindu solidarity by helping Hindu families during the time of hardship and by providing social services.
The land dispute case of Ayodhya
Mughals built a disputed structure after destroying a temple on the disputed land in Ayodhya. Ram Bhakts believe that the land on which disputed structure was built, is the land where Shri Ram was born thousands of years ago. A case filed in court by Hindu groups that resulted in the division of property in three equal parts by Allahabad court in 2010. A review petition was filed in Supreme Court against the judgment. On 9th November 2019, after hundreds of years of struggle, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Ram Lalla Virajman and gave the disputed land to Hindu groups. The court also ordered the government of India to form a trust that will undertake the construction of “Bhavya Ram Mandir.”