New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday performed the much-awaited bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking) ceremony in Ayodhya, officially launching the construction of the Ram Temple.
Addressing the gathering after the ceremony, Modi described the temple as a “modern symbol of our culture, eternal faith and national spirit”, and stressed on the need of “sabka saath, sabka vishwas”.
The prime minister’s trip lasted less than three hours but got extensive coverage in all forms of media, including regional newspapers. Here’s a roundup of how regional newspapers from across the country captured the event.
‘Padhaare Ram’ — Hindi papers celebrate bhoomi pujan
Dainik Jagran dedicated its entire front page to the event. A half-page illustration of Lord Ram with his bow towered over a rendition of the proposed Ram Temple, and the headline simply said ‘Shri Ram’.
Navbharat Times, from the Times group, also featured an illustration of Ram, with a bow and pivotal scenes from the Ramayana, on its masthead. It dedicated the first two pages to the bhoomi pujan and its lead headline read ‘Padhare Ram Ayodhya Dham’ (Ram has arrived in Ayodhya).
Meanwhile Hindustan, from the Hindustan Times group, in its headline said, “Ateet ki neev par aagat ka aagaz (A new beginning based on old foundations).”
South Indian dailies comparatively restrained
In comparison, Tamil and Malayalam language newspapers did not give the ceremony in Ayodhya much importance. Most of them just carried a single report on the bhoomi pujan.
Dinamani — a Tamil daily — noted in its headline, “Golden era of Indian History – Prime minister says while laying foundation stone for Ayodhya”.
Similarly, another Tamil newspaper Dinakaran‘s headline read, “Prime Minister lays the foundation stone for Ram Temple in Ayodhya; Bhoomi Pujan amidst Vedic Mantras.”
The Telugu daily Eenadu featured Modi’s speech at Ayodhya on its front page as well as a synopsis of the whole event with the headline ‘Sri Ramam Sri Karam’.
Kannada newspaper Hosa Digantha was the exception to the rule. The paper’s bhoomi pujan coverage spanned 11 pages.
An image of PM Modi offering prayers dominated most of the front page with the headline ‘Puja for the Temple: a Victory for Lord Ram’.
‘Ram dharm’ in Bangla paper, Lokmat focuses on floods instead
West Bengal’s daily Anandbazar Patrika in its lead headline noted, ‘Raj Dharm, Ram Dharm’, with an image of PM Modi paying his respects by prostrating before Ram’s statue.
While the image is not in focus, the accompanying headline read, “Modi has built the temple of freedom”. The report quotes Modi’s speech at the event — “15 August and 5 August now have the same importance”.
Maharashtra’s Lokmat chose to primarily focus on the floods that have practically drowned Mumbai, with the bhoomi pujan taking up space in the second half of the front page with the headline simply noting, “Online audience for Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan.”
One year anniversary of Article 370 in J&K papers
Wednesday also marked the one-year anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370 and 35A by the Modi government.
Urdu papers Roshni and Aftab gave little importance to the spectacle in Ayodhya. “Abrogation of Art 370&35A completes one year, Urban and rural remains silent, curfew like situation despite no imposition of curfew,” read a headline in Roshni, while Aftab’s headline noted, “All party meeting of mainstream leaders react on restriction put before their meeting.”
Both papers had one story dedicated to PM Modi in Ayodhya with the straightforward headline, “PM Modi lays foundation of Ram Temple.”
Urdu language newspaper Inquilab was more interested in the political fallout with its story on the bhoomi pujan — ‘Ram Mandir ka bhoomi poojan, secular parties ki khamosh taaeed’ (Bhoomi Pujan of Ram Mandir, silent support of secular parties).