Ayodhya: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said Wednesday he was “glad” he was chosen by God to take his legacy forward as he spoke about the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Adityanath was addressing the media during the UP government’s Deepotsav event, a three-day celebration of Diwali in Ayodhya held from 1-3 November. The chief minister was accompanied by state BJP president Swatantra Joshi, Minister of State G. Kishan Reddy and state Power Minister Neelkanth Tiwari.
Over a 10-minute interactive session with the media where the chief minister answered one question, he described his personal connection with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
“The construction of Ram Temple is a big deal for both me and my countrymen. The world said it was impossible to build a Ram Temple here. But we’ve done it,” he said.
“This goes to show the strength of India’s democracy and the faith of the people. Important for me because I’m the third generation in my family to be associated with the Ramjanmabhoomi movement. My elders were members of the Ram Janmabhoomi committee. And I’ve had the fortune of completing the temple. Lord decides who will play what role, and I’m glad he chose me to take his legacy forward.”
A new world record
Deepotsava was started by the Yogi Adityanath government when it came to office in 2017. The idea was to celebrate Diwali at a grand scale in Ayodhya, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.
It is in celebration of Ram’s return after 14 years of exile that Diwali is celebrated. According to the Ayodhya sub-divisional magistrate, 1 lakh people were expected to participate in the programme on Wednesday alone.
This year, the state government aims to top its own ‘world record’ by lighting over 9 lakh diyas in Ayodhya Wednesday night, up from 5.84 lakh in 2020. According to the government, this is done to draw the “world’s attention to the restored glory of Diwali in Ayodhya”.
While 7 lakh earthen lamps will be lit on the ghats of the Saryu river, 2.5 lakh will dot the whole city. A laser show is also scheduled for later in the day, where a brief enactment of the Ramayana will be shown to the general public.
In the afternoon, the actors playing Ram, Sita, Hanuman and Lakshman were flown in aboard a chopper and received by the chief minister.
The actors were subsequently brought to the Ram Katha garden near Saryu Ghat in a ‘pushpak viman’, or a replica of the mythological aircraft Ram is believed to have taken home from Sri Lanka. The crowd went wild as it chanted “Jai Shri Ram” and folded their hands in Ram’s welcome, some eyes moist with emotion.
Adityanath then did ‘raj tilak’ of the actors. “After thousands of years, we’re receiving Ram to Ayodhya the way he was after the end of his 14-year-long vanvas (exile), in a pushpak viman. We’re also staging a Bharat milap (the reunion of Ram and his brother Bharat),”Adityanath said.
“Ambassadors of various nations are also participating in today’s programme. Five years ago, Deepotsav couldn’t be conducted in this manner, but ever since we started it, every year it grows bigger and bigger,” he added.
Disclosure: ThePrint is in Ayodhya as a guest of the UP government for the event.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)