The Governor is heading a 22-member Indian Delegation that took the holy relics of Lord Buddha for a 26-day exposition in Thailand.
VHP Vice-President and Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust General Secretary Champat Rai is the man in focus in view of the Ram Temple consecration ceremony on January 22.
A native of Bijnor and a former chemistry teacher, Rai is a key RSS functionary who has dedicated his entire life to the Sanatan Dharma. In a conversation with Manoj Bhadra of The Statesman, he provides an insight into the grand event. EXCERPTS : EXCERPTS :
Q: All eyes are on you ahead of the pran prathistha of Ram temple.
A: It is a big programme, but as the preparation started long back, everything is in place. Besides we are working as a team, hence everyone was doing his assigned work. We believe in Lord Ram and we know he will make the ceremony go smoothly.
Q: There must be pressure on you from every quarter on many aspects, especially sending of invitation cards for the ceremony. How are you coping with it?
A: As you must be aware we have limited seats for the ceremony and due to security and other reasons, only selected guests, including saints, VVIPs and others, have been invited. Though people are contacting me regularly to get the invitation cards, I have politely refused them and asked them to come to Ayodhya later on.
Having said that, we have sent invitations to around 7,000 people and we are expecting that at least 4,000 people will join the ceremony. After the consecration of Lord Ram, everyone should do puja in their homes. After pran pratistha, people should perform aarti and after sunset, light a lamp in the courtyard of the house. During the pran pratistha, there will be a special presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. We have invited saints of 13 major akharas of the country along with 2,500 people who are the best in their respective fields. We have also invited people who were instrumental in the Ayodhya movement. There would be around 4,000 seers in the consecration ceremony.
Q: Is security the main aspect during the consecration ceremony and thereafter when millions of devotees will throng the Ram temple. What is your preparation to tackle such issues?
A:We have made foolproof security arrangements for January 22 when the Prime Minister and other VVIPs will be present. Though we cannot reveal the arrangements, let me assure you that elaborate security will be deployed in Ayodhya and adjoining areas for the safety and security of all the VVIPs and other people. On the security after the consecration, we are expecting that around one lakh devotees will reach the Ram temple daily. We have made all arrangements for smooth and peaceful darshan of the Ram Lalla.
Q: What will be the crowd management system after the consecration?
A: Our teams have already visited several big temples in the country and studied their crowd management. But I am sure that the Ram Temple will provide the best management to control the crowd and will ensure that no devotee faces hardship in having the darshan of the deity. Q: What are the programmes for the Ram Lalla consecration ceremony? A: The puja ritual of pran pratistha, which started on January 16, will last a week. A group of Brahmins which has to do it has been formed. and the place where the worship will be done is being prepared. The temple will be decorated with flowers and about 125 saints and mahatmas of the country will perform the ceremony. The Prime Minister will be the chief guest at the ceremony though I do not know the exact schedule of his arrival in Ayodhya. The auspicious time of consecration will be around 12:30 p.m.
Q: What do you have to say on the allegation by Opposition leaders that the event is aimed at wooing voters for the Lok Sabha polls?
A: This Ram temple is the aspiration of 120 crore people of the country and they have been waiting for it for the past several hundred years. I do not know about politics, but the consecration ceremony is a religious affair and it has nothing to do with Lok Sabha elections.
Q: On the consecration day, will there be any programme to honour those ‘karsevaks’ who sacrificed their lives for the Ayodhya movement?
A: As of now no such programme is scheduled. Those who sacrificed their life for the movement were the inner inspiration. We have honoured them in the past and will do so in future.
Q: How much work is left in the temple?
A: The work on the first floor of the temple where the Ram Lalla idol would be placed has been completed and now just the finishing touch is being given in the sanctum sanctorum. By January 22, all work will be completed and the Ram temple will be one of the best and most beautiful temples in the universe.