The consecration of Ram Lalla, or Ram in his child form, is set to take place at Ayodhya. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to preside over this religious ceremony. There is a religious frenzy all over India, with many political leaders and celebrities invited to the function. A half-day holiday is declared on January 22 so that people can watch the ceremony on TV. Many state governments are expected to declare a holiday on that day.
The function is organized by a trust called Shri Rama Janmabhumi Teerthkshetra (the birthplace of Rama pilgrimage). This trust is fully patronized by the State and Central governments. Arun Yogiraj, a sculptor belonging to a traditional sculpting family, has created the statue of Ram Lalla. All this has created facilities for religious tourism. Ayodhya is a municipal corporation. In fact, the UP (Uttar Pradesh) State government is giving daily ads (advertisements) in newspapers about the Ram Mandir (Ram Temple).
The thinking behind all this show seems: make Mandirs, make money, feel good. Viewing Hindu cultural legacy as a liability imposed economic costs. Today’s approach, symbolized by Ayodhya, recognizes heritage as an investment magnet for building quality city infrastructure. The Odisha Government has undertaken the circumambulation path around the famous temple – Jagannath Puri Parikrama renovation. Pandian, a retired IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer, who is a close confidante of Odisha Chief Minister, is in charge of this project. This is one of the four Dhams or pilgrim centers of India. Here Shri Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra are worshipped.
So, there is a blur between the Government and the Hindu community. According to the Constitution of India, we are supposed to be a secular country. Secularism is non-religious. A secular nation does not patronize any particular religion. But in the case of Ayodhya and Jagannath Puri, there is complete support from the central and state governments. So, the question arises in the 21st century, are we really secular? We have to ponder on this issue at least till January 22, 2024.