With the consecration of the Ram lalla idol in Ayodhya, which is being celebrated as a ‘national festival’ no less, the BJP is letting no flag unfurled—markets are awash with saffron fluttering, many institutions have been given a holiday, the party organised celebrations from Sydney to Toronto. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement has come a full circle for the BJP in the last 40 years. The party’s two MPs in 1984 have now burgeoned to occupy most of Parliament. With the temple consecration coming close to the General Elections, most political pundits are predicting a return to power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But how will the temple movement pan out after Ayodhya? Will the BJP go ahead with Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura, the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, the Idgah in Hubbali, Karnataka, and many other such contentious sites? The Babri mosque-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute was to be an exception. The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 prohibits ‘conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947…’. Will the party use the argument that laws cannot be above public sentiments and proceed to right what it perceives as wrongs committed centuries ago?
(This appeared in the print as 'Orange Country')