“सौगंध राम की खाते हैं मंदिर वहीँ बनाएंगे !”
“In the name of Ram, we resolve: We shall build the Mandir there at Ram janmabhoomi itself…”
– The popular slogan and signature tune of the Rath Yatra
In the Gangetic belt of India, nestled amidst the ancient city of Ayodhya, stands a symbol that echoes through the corridors of history and faith. Bhagwan Ram’s saga has historically spread through most of the South East Asian region from Thailand to Cambodia and beyond, where it is still depicted in performing arts. Many kings in these countries have taken the name of Ram, and cities and islands have been named after persons and places in the epic.
However, unfortunately, within the country of Bhagwan Ram’s birth, his legacy was sidelined and made to fade into oblivion by some political parties to support their petty vote bank politics. It is only due to the consistent efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stalwarts of the erstwhile Jan Sangh that this movement was kept alive through decades and is now, finally, seeing the light of fruition.
Bhagwan Ram is a civilisational hero of Bharat, and the Ram Mandir, a sanctum revered by millions, is more than just a monumental edifice; it encapsulates a narrative of resilience, spirituality, and a saga of beliefs, morals and values transcending generations. Scindias have been associated with the movement of liberating Hindu places of pilgrimage from the occupation of Timurid, Turks, Afghans and other foreign elements, as early as the 18th century itself, right from the time of Shrimant Ranoji Rao Scindia to Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia.
Kameshwar Chaupal, a Dalit Karsevak from Bihar, had the fortune of laying the first brick for the foundation stone of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in the 1990s. In his words, “Whenever any big result is sought, sacrifices have to be made”. Chaupal was reportedly inspired by Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia, Ashok Singhal and other flag bearers of the Ram Mandir movement.
As a decisive leader and a skilled administrator, my Ajiamma, respectfully called Rajmata, lived to ensure the progress and development of not only Madhya Pradesh but also India. All her life, she proved that for her, it’s always ‘Seva’ first. She always stood strongly committed to social issues, particularly women’s rights and education. She emerged as a woman political leader who stood ‘by the people, for the people, and of the people’. It was her courage, compassion, and clarity of thought that enabled her to nurture the Jan Sangh Party at the nascent stage and finally build the Bharatiya Janta Party.
Not many are aware of the historical fact that it was Rajmata Scindia who was the first to propose the Sri Ram Mandir in a meeting of the then BJP executive council. In 1988, she presented a groundbreaking proposal —a proposal that would set the course for a monumental chapter in India’s history. Her visionary initiative laid the foundation for what is poised to culminate in an extraordinary event on January 22, 2024. Additionally, her strong values of Jan Sewa inspired her by the history of the Scindia warriors’s struggle to liberate Hindu holy places.
On February 3, 1986, a Sant Sammelan organised by the Ram Janmabhoomi Mukti Yagna Samiti led to the establishment of a Ram Janmabhoomi Trust. Rajmata was closely associated with this trust and had even advocated for the transfer of property rights of the Ayodhya site to facilitate the construction of the world’s largest Mandir.
A towering figure in the Ram janmabhoomi movement, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia emerged as the driving force, both directly and indirectly, guiding and actively participating in the fervent pursuit of the Ram Mandir’s construction. In his autobiography, “My Country, My Life”, L K Advani mentions that the movement was ignited by Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia and Vinay Katiyar, who had participated in the movement in their “individual capacity” and that “the time had come to formally endorse the Ayodhya campaign.” The party’s National Executive meeting at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh in June 1989 passed a resolution to this effect. Her resolve for the establishment of the Mandir served as an inspiration for the subsequent advocacy of the Ram Mandir.
Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia epitomised perseverance for the people of her country. Through her brilliant and empathetic oratory, she was able to connect and resonate with the masses. At the Kar Seva held in 1991, she stated that the mothers and wives of Kar Sevaks who sacrificed their lives for the Mandir construction were worth worshipping. As a wife and a mother herself, her words enabled her to touch the hearts of the people. She was pivotal in instilling enthusiasm amongst countless Ram devotees. She enjoyed a personal connection with all party karyakartas and was always particular about knowing karyakartas by their names. It is speculated that, under her influence, 36,000 Kar Sevaks from Madhya Pradesh had attended the Rath Yatra. Her unwavering commitment and pivotal role in this movement have left an indelible mark on the trajectory of India’s socio-cultural landscape.
Rajmata Sahab was also pivotal in organising the 1990 launch of the Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, which coincided with the Navaratri festival. Her attendance gathered large crowds whose full-throated chants of “Jai Shri Ram” echoed loudly and proudly through the various cities that were covered during the Yatra. She was instrumental in lending support to actualise visions to aid the development of the Mandir and extended unwavering support to fellow devotees. In 1990, when BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani embarked on the Rath Yatra, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia stood firmly by his side, offering wholehearted support to the cause. As many say, during the Rath Yatra, Rajmata’s role was actually like that of a charioteer.
Today, we have the world’s eyes on us. January 22 2024, will go down in the annals of Indian history. After more than four decades since the beginning of this movement, the Ram Mandir would finally become a reality, thanks to the unwavering and protracted efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rajmata Scindia has witnessed every important phase of Indian politics, from the freedom struggle to the Ram Mandir movement. Her life is an inspiration for every Indian. As a nationalist and Dharmic, she always stood for the well-being and rights of her people. Apart from playing an essential role in the Ram Mandir Andolan, she also established several charitable organisations and foundations that worked to improve the lives of the poor and underprivileged. As a vocal advocate for women’s rights, she worked tirelessly to promote education and literacy among women and girls in the country. Today, through many Union Government schemes, the Nari Shakti of India is advancing and is leading in various fields, thus fulfilling Rajamata’s dreams of Women’s empowerment. She firmly believed that politics should act as a vehicle of social change, and Jan Seva and left behind a legacy of service and dedication to the people of India. In 2020, in the year of the birth centenary of Rajmata Scindia, her dream of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir for which she fought, was fulfilled when Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the Bhumi-puja ceremony in Ayodhya. This represents the much-needed cultural reawakening of India – the rise of भारत की आध्यात्मिक शक्ति – from Kedarnath, Badrinath, Kashi Vishwanath and the Mahakal Lok to the Pran Pratishtha of Bhagwan Sri Ram under the leadership of PM Modi.
The country is ready to welcome Ayodhya Naresh Maryada Purushottam Bhagwan Sri Ram. It is imperative to remember the contributions and sacrifices made by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, LK Advani, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia, and many others without whom this historical moment would not have been possible. Its existence will, for eternity, symbolise the culmination of an inspiring struggle, a movement that echoed the aspirations and sentiments of millions across the world.
In Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s words, “यही समय है, सही समय है!”