The Bhumi Pujan ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on August 5, 2020, had been a watershed moment for millions of practising Hindus across the world, turning their long-held dream of having a temple dedicated to Lord Ram in Ayodhya into a reality. The ground-laying ceremony, which was attended by PM Modi, who also placed the ceremonial cornerstone, marks the construction of the temple to one of the most revered Gods of the Hindu pantheon and ends the enduring wait of 500 long years.
Several political parties, including opposition parties, such as Congress, who once questioned the existence of Lord Ram, eagerly backed the construction of the temple. The bipartisan support for building a magnificent abode for Lord Ram expectedly rattled a specific set of individuals, who identify themselves as ‘liberals’. Consolidation of the Hindu behind the cause of the Ram Mandir is what truly unnerved the ‘liberals’.
In a bid to undermine Hindu consolidation, a false narrative of caste discrimination by upper-caste Hindus against the lower-caste Hindus is being weaved around by the detractors. To this end, a particularly nefarious video, full of lies and deceit, is doing the rounds on the Internet where a certain Prof. Lakshman Yadav is seen sowing discord among the different sects of the Hindus.
This is the reality people fail to understand— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) August 6, 2020
“You know what the upper-caste mindset does? They will send their kids to foreign universities, employ them with private companies with handsome salaries but they will teach your children to join the protest claiming religion is in danger,” Yadav said.
Yadav claimed that the entire Ram Janmabhoomi movement has its history steeped in blood and Dalits, Tribals and lower-caste Hindus were made to carry out the wetwork. “Wherever LK Advani’s rath yatra went, it left behind a trail of blood and destruction. He was also associated with the Gujarat riots. Who all were at the forefront of violence at these places? Dalits, Tribals and lower-caste members were the ones who committed murders, riots and violence,” Yadav exclaimed.
Yadav further continued, “These Dalits, Tribals, and lower-caste Hindus thought once they had committed murders, and led the Ram Janmabhoomi movement from the front, they will be made temple priests. Forget being anointed as priests, you have not been included in the temple trust.”
According to Yadav, the lower caste Hindus such as Dalits, Tribals and OBCs have been used as expendables by the upper-class Hindus to realise the dream of the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Yadav also alleged that as the dream of Ram Mandir construction is on the verge of completion, the lower-caste Hindus have been shunted by their upper-caste counterparts without fair or equitable representation in the construction of the temple.
However, the reality is far from what Mr Yadav and his likes have been peddling, apparently to divide the Hindus. Mr Yadav categorically claims in his rant that Dalits and lower caste members of the Hindu community have not been given any representation in the trust. This is nothing but a big fat lie. There are four facts that bust this lie.
Dalit representation in the construction of Ram Mandir
Earlier this year, soon after PM Modi announced the cabinet decision to set up a trust overlooking the construction of Ram Mandir, Home Minister Amit Shah announced a Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, comprising of 15 members, one of whom was to be from the Dalit community. According to that provision, Kameshwar Chaupal, a dalit, has been included in the trust that will supervise the construction and then the operation of the Ram Mandir.
Ram Mandir Shilanyas was done by a dalit
The first brick was laid by a Dalit during the Shilanyas (foundation stone laying ceremony) for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in November 1989. In the event organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad, it was Kameshwar Chaupal who had done the Ssilanyas.
Dalit family given the fist prasad of Bhoomi Pujan
Furthermore, a Dalit family was the first one to get the prasad (prayer offering) sent by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after the Bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The first prasad was sent to Mahaveer’s family in Ayodhya. Mahaveer, a mason who lives at the Suthati locality of Ayodhya, was visited by Yogi Adityanath during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Soil collected from Dalit temples for Ram Mandir
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had collected soil from Dalit temples for the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan in Ayodhya on August 5. The soil was sent by Sant Ravidas temple (Kashi), Maharshi Valmiki Ashram (Sitamarhi), Valmiki Ashram (Central Delhi), and Tantya Bhil temple (Madhya Pradesh). Soil for Bhoomi Pujan was also collected from Mhow, the birthplace of BR Ambedkar, and the Valmiki temple in Nagpur where he had converted to Buddhism.
Moreover, the RSS is planning to build a Centre for training priests from all sections of the society in Ayodhya. It may be noted that people from the oppressed section of the society like Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, and Sadhvi Ritambhara were prominent leaders at the forefront of the Ram Mandir movement.
In contradiction to the vile narrative that Dalits and lower-caste Hindus do not get leadership roles and recognition from the upper-caste Hindus, it is worth noting that this year, a 32-year-old Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri, a Dalit, was made one of the heads of the Juna Akhara. Juna Akhara
With opposition political parties falling over themselves to support the construction of the Ram Mandir, the ‘liberals’, evidently perturbed by the development, have leaned on the hoary but vile propaganda of casteism to chip away at the Hindu unity that has made the construction of the temple possible, and forced the opposition parties to reconsider their avowed stance on Ram Mandir. In an attempt to weaken this unity, vicious propaganda is being peddled to drive a wedge between upper-caste Hindus and lower-caste Hindus and thereby neutralising the threat of the combined Hindu strength.