New Delhi: The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust is working to conduct the bhoomi puja or foundation ceremony that will mark the beginning of the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya on 5 August. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is even planning an awareness campaign across the country, which will also double up as a fundraising campaign.
We asked readers this week: Should Ram Mandir construction be a priority amid the Covid crisis?
This is what some of them said:
‘Should not prioritise Ram Mandir construction now’
The Ram Mandir construction should not be prioritised as the Supreme Court verdict permitted the construction to solve an issue that has driven Indian politics for almost two decades. The construction has been a goal for many political parties, but the participation of higher leadership could be avoided or done through online methods since public health should remain a priority — Ameya Deosthali, Hyderabad. Twitter handle: @DeosthaliAmeya
‘Govt trying to divert attention from the real crisis’
No, Ram Mandir construction should not be a priority during Covid Crisis. Frankly, nothing should. The government is just doing what all governments have always done in the face of failure, resulting in loss of human life — fudge the numbers, divert public attention elsewhere, and move on. The difference, however, between this and all the other crises is that here, the loss of life won’t stop until they take radical steps. Personally, I feel that the government needs to pull together, admit their failure, release the real numbers and call a spade a spade. This is India’s first proper Emergency — Aditya Govind Rao, Lucknow. Twitter handle: @Aaditya_2001
‘Temple will boost livelihood for some, but unnecessary to invite Modi to ceremony’
I believe that construction of Ram Mandir amid the Covid crisis will fortify the livelihood of proletariat class which has been jeopradised by the ‘Wuhan virus’, provided all precautions and safety measures for the labourers are taken. But the invitation sent to PM Modi for attending the ground breaking ceremony is something I don’t agree with. It will raise many questions for the government, target a particular religion and cause many unnecessary debates on news channels. There are lots of other gigantic issues for the government and citizens of this country to tackle — Ishan Sundriyal, Bareilly. Twitter handle: @ishan40792351.
‘Ram Mandir should be built and then used as medical centre for Covid’
Yes, I guess Ram Mandir should be built and it should be used for providing beds and medical treatment for Covid positive cases. The shortage in hospital beds and huge medical costs can be easily curbed out here. It will also provide employment to the labourers, workers and other people involved in construction, and after the whole pandemic situation is over, we can focus on actual development and growth topics such as education, defence, infrastructure etc — Yash Mittal, Kotkapura, Faridkot. Twitter handle: @ym_yash_.
‘Decision to construct Ram Mandir now baffling’
For the past few weeks, every newspaper’s headline has been the same — “India records its highest no. of COVID cases in past 24 hrs”. Despite this, the insufficiency of beds and hospital staff in our country continues. The Covid testing facility is still not within the reach of many living at far-off places in poor states like Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand. In a pandemic like this, enhancing healthcare and testing facilities must be of utmost concern, but the attitude of the central government towards this is really baffling and makes the situation more worrying. The decision to construct Ram Mandir is no different for it is of no relevance in the present times — Akhileshwar Upadhyay, Ranchi. Twitter handle: @akhileshwar08
‘India can fight Covid, build Ram Mandir simultaneously’
Yes. We can simultaneously fight Covid pandemic and build Ram Mandir. If we look at it from a purely construction project point of view, then I don’t think anyone has any issue. Right now, multiple construction projects are going on all across India. Most on the political Left, even after the Supreme Court ruling, are still unwilling to accept the fact that Ram Mandir will be constructed in the birthplace of Lord Ram. There will always be some reason for them to not let us construct the Mandir — Sasanka Medhi, Tinsukia, Assam. Twitter handle: @Medhi_Sasanka1
‘Now is not the time. Lord Shri Ram will understand’
Although construction of the Ram Mandir has to be done so that the country can move on to more critical issues, now is not the time. The country is facing a much daunting issue that requires all our attention and focus. This event could be an effective method of inspiring people and sending a message, but it must be taken into consideration that stringent measures are needed to prevent any form of transmission. It must be set aside for a while. I’m certain Lord Shri Ram will understand — Aameya Kulkarni, Mumbai. Twitter handle: @aameyakulkarni
‘Ram temple decision shows lack of concern and neglect’
On 5 August, the foundation of the auspicious Ram Mandir is scheduled to be laid. This begs the question — what exactly has been the government’s priorities at the time of this pandemic? As the number of cases cross the million mark, there still has been no clarity on the government’s plan of action to fight this pandemic. Rather than being strict and decisive in regard to the most critical situation at hand, the government’s denial of its seriousness and adamancy in other endeavours shows their lack of concern and neglect — Gaurav Jha, Kolkata. Twitter handle: @VeraciousBeing.
‘Ram Mandir construction is another step in easing lockdown’
We are in the phase of unlocking the economy. Banking, factories, shops, etc. have been unlocked. Shree Ram Mandir construction amid Covid crisis has to be seen as another step in that direction. We have made mistakes in the past of politicising this issue and people of all communities have already suffered a lot.
Since the honourable Supreme Court has settled the issue, we should respect that and let Ayodhya develop into a global hotspot of tourists. For that, the foundation has to be laid down. However, full precautionary measures like 50 members-limit, masks, sanitising etc. must be strictly enforced by UP Administration — Shivam Malik, Bijnor, UP. Twitter handle: @shhivam_malik.
‘Temple construction is fine, but Modi attending will set a bad precedent’
Amid the Covid crisis, Chardham and Amarnath Yatra, Ganapati and Eid celebration, and Easter are all either being conducted as low-key events or have been cancelled. Then comes the Ram Mandir ‘bhoomi pooja’. It won’t be right to question the government over the construction during a pandemic for several reasons. Firstly, the cost will be crowd funded. Secondly, the date has been decided by the trust. Thirdly, it will provide employment for many labourers.
The construction is not wrong, but conducting a lavish ceremony that will be attended by the Prime Minister and his cabinet will set the wrong precedent. The law makers should not become law breakers — Damini Tripathi, Nainital. Twitter handle: @GCTripathi5.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.