THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS VOICES MAGAZINE PUSHPESH PANT DAMYANTI BISWAS SHEILA KUMAR RAVI SHANKAR GAUTAM CHINTAMANI SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV BUFFET PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT AUGUST 9 2020 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Eternal Ayodhya With the consecration of the Ram Temple, the city could soon be a modern terminal of faith with a tradition of social, administrative, familial and environmental responsibility as exemplified in Tulsidas’s Ramayana Ancient Capital A yodhya was Adipuri or the first city of the world. Its origins go back to Manu. Sri Ram was born more than 60 generations after Manu. Ayodhya has been the capital of many illustrious kings of Suryavansh, or the solar dynasty. In fact, the dynasty gets its different names from some of the kings like Ikshvaku and Raghu. Kalidasa in his magnum opus Raghuvamsam talks about the long line of kings and chooses to name it after Raghu, the great-grandfather of Ram. Raghu lent the dynasty his name as Raghukul. Story goes that he won the whole earth, came back to Ayodhya and donated everything. At this point, Rishi Kautsa walks in and demands 14 gold coins as Guru Dakshina. Raghu plans to attack Kubera to get coins but scared of his might Kubera rains gold coins in Ayodhya. Raja Harishchandra, known as Satyavadi for always speaking the truth and keeping his word, was also a king of Ayodhya. King Bhagiratha, who is believed to have brought down the Ganga from the heavens, belonged to the same dynasty of Ayodhya. Chinese traveller Huan Tsang speaks of Buddhist monasteries in this region, which he identifies as Saket. Gautama Buddha came from the same solar dynasty so his roots are also in Ayodhya. Five of the 24 Jain Tirthankars were born in the city, including the first Tirthankar Adinath, also known as Rishabh Dev. His temple with a huge idol can be seen in the city. At Brahma Kund, a gurdwara commemorates the visit of Guru Nanak Dev, who also traces his lineage to Sri Ram. Not just most Indians but half the population of Korea traces its lineage to Ayodhya through Surya Ratna, the princess of Ayodhya who travelled to Korea to marry into the Kara dynasty. Ayodhya is also called Vishnupriya, because it sits on Vishnu’s Chakra. It’s his Adipuri. By ANURADHA GOEL T he political dust has settled on Ayodhya. The foundation of a new India has been laid. Since December 6, 1992, the imagination of an entire generation has been subsumed by repeated conflict and resolution. The city of Ram shaped the careers of national leaders and redefined politics. It inspired a legendary yatra that politically legitimatised Hindutva and changed the country’s destiny Thousands of pages of judgments were written. Jail sentences were awarded. It made heroes and . discredited villains. Hundreds of people were killed in bombs set off by criminal fanatics in Karachi. Devotees died in police firings. All in the name of this ageless city upon the Sarayu River and hardly distinguishable from many other similar towns. But it’s now a symbol of ancient India’s reincarnation in the modern world. The next few years could see the emergence of global Ayodhya firmly rooted in its past ethos. Will it be the catalyst in making India a Vishwa Guru? It’s time to examine the future of Ayodhya, and how it will play a role in the future of India and the world. AGENT OF CHANGE The India across which the prince of Ayodhya travelled on the path of probity and justice is no Ram Rajya today The . criminal records of 40 percent of MPs include rape and murder. The land of Sita is unsafe for women; according to latest NCRB data, 3,78,277 crimes against women were reported across the country in 2018 with Uttar Pradesh topping the dismal tally Twenty Indian women are killed for . dowry every day One in two Indians has . paid a bribe in the land of the Maryada Purushottam. In the country where a royal son bowed to the wishes of his father, over 70 percent of aged people, or every second old citizen, face violence. Ram Rajya has never been as significant as now. The Ganga is dying, like so many other Indian rivers, from pollution, industrial effluents and encroachment: the rotting harvests of development. It took Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister-monk Yogi Adityanath to save Ayodhya from complete ecological degradation; the city marked a Guinness World record in 2019 when six lakh lamps were lit on the banks of the Sarayu on Diwali eve, just ahead of the Supreme Court ruling that recognised the historical authenticity of Ram Janmabhoomi. The Adityanath government has released `600 crore for the cleaning and beautification of the Sarayu. AN RIGHTEOUS IDYLL Ram Rajya, to the average Indian, stands for a Utopian Bharat with Ayodhya as its capital. Since the terminology comes from ‘Ram’, it is assumed that Ram waved a magic wand and the world of dharma rose from the ashes of the past. Yet for Tulsidas, Ram Rajya is the perfect metaphor for social harmony and ethical conduct. His definition of Ram Rajya is: When everyone works as per their dharma and role in the society as described in the scriptures, they all get happiness and live without any fear, grief or disease. A life without fear, sickness and grief is the land of Ram. All wishes come true. In the epic, Ram Rajya covered whole of Bharat. Tulsidas imbues vocabulary with different meanings; for example, ‘dand’ stands for the yogi’s staff and not punishment. Language is known to reflect the times. As Ayodhya prepares to host visitors from around the world, it hopes to change the meaning of ‘hate’. Its scriptural significance lies in the power of renunciation for the larger good as Rama’s vanavas shows; a prince who keeps his word to his father and follows the righteous path of dharma. The most popular kings of Ayodhya such as Harishchandra, Raghu or Ram renounced their kingdoms, wealth and their comforts to uphold dharma. Renewed Ayodhya has the power to teach the importance of abandoning entitlement for righteousness. Politician and writer Pavan K Varma says, “Ram Rajya is a Utopian concept. It is something that is always there in dreams and cannot be realised. So, the temple will definitely not usher in an age of benevolence. However, what it would succeed in doing is erasing to some extent the historical memories in the minds of many Hindus of their temples looted and destroyed at the hands of invading armies. One hopes that there will be some sort of peace between all communities. Ram was Maryada Purushottam. While we cannot have another such time in our present, we can look forward to better days politically .” POWER OF PLENTY Tulsidas envisions an ideal society where people are pure in both thought and action. They lead long, harmonious, respectful lives. They are beautiful, healthy, intelligent and smart. The environment is sacred. Gardens and orchards of Ayodhya are redolent with flowers and fruits. Tree and terraces come alive with birdsong; in Ayodhya, it’s always Basant Ritu. The breeze is pleasingly mild, cool and fragrant. Distant mountains yield gems. Oceans don’t cause floods, instead they give up their treasures such as pearls and fish. Ram Rajya has a thriving economy Crops . are abundant. The streets flow with honey and milk. The river bank is lined with tulsi groves and temples. Society is clearly defined. The Sarayu has special enclaves for Ayodhya’s inhabitants. The Turn to page 2 Ram Rajya, to the average Indian, stands for a Utopian Bharat with Ayodhya as its capital. Since the terminology comes from ‘Ram’, it is assumed that Ram waved a magic wand and the world of dharma rose from the ashes of the past. PM Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat during the bhoomi pujan for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI “Ram stands for modernity, openness of thought. He is omnipresent, belongs to all humanity. Ram is the thread of India’s unity in diversity. Just as August 15 symbolises the end of our struggle for freedom, today symbolises the culmination of the fight for a Ram Mandir for centuries.” RSS CHIEF MOHAN BHAGWAT “Our country believes in ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ i.e world is our guest. We believe in taking everyone along. There is a wave of joy in the entire country today. There is a pleasure about the fulfilment of centuries of hope. So many people had sacrificed but they couldn’t be here physically.” BJP VETERAN LK ADVANI “Destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of the Ram Rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990, which helped galvanise the aspirations, energies and passions of the countless participants. It is my belief that this temple will inspire all Indians to imbibe His virtues.” CHIEF MINISTER YOGI ADITYANATH “Today is also an occasion to mark the beginning of Ram Rajya. People have struggled for 500 years for this day. Generations have waited for it and many have made sacrifices for this moment. It is a highly emotional day for us and also a day of joy and happiness.”
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.