VHP eyes crowdfunding to build Ayodhya temple

The VHP has decided to seek contributions for the proposed Ram temple and has also decided to explore ways to enlist the involvement of Ram bhakts in its construction, potentially setting the stage for yet another mass mobilisation for the Ayodhya temple.

“Ram bhakts from across the country will be approached for contributions to construct the temple. The Ayodhya movement was associated with the faith and sentiments of scores of Hindus and they will have to do their bit, including ‘kar seva’, whenever the project begins,” said Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson of the VHP, the Sangh-affiliate which spearheaded the campaign for the construction of temple.

Besides, the VHP has decided to suggest that the trust which is to be formed within three months to supervise the temple construction work, should facilitate symbolic participation of “ bhakts” in the construction of what has been touted as a “grand Ram temple”. Devotees from all 718 districts of the country will be invited in delegations to stay for at least a week and help in the construction work, the VHP functionary said, in an indication that another round of “kar seva” could be in works.

“Kar seva”, or voluntary work, formed an important part of the VHP-led ‘mandir’ movement, with lakhs reaching Ayodhya in 1990, and again in 1992, the second round resulting in the demolition of Babri masjid. VHP functionaries in Delhi confirmed the crowd-funding plan.

“There is no ambiguity about the plan that funds will be pooled in directly from Hindu devotees of Lord Ram spread across the globe. The process to seek contributions will start soon for which teams will be constituted to ensure that it is done smoothly,” VHP working president Alok Kumar said.

The VHP’s statements come amid reinforced indications that it will have a significant representation on the temple trust. The Supreme Court had, in its verdict on Saturday, denied any role for the VHP-promoted Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas in the construction.

However, sources said the government, which will have the final say in the matter, appears inclined to include in the trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who headed the Nyas, as well as some of the key Hindu seers aligned with the VHP.

The decision to pool funds is in sync with what Mahatma Gandhi had suggested when he offered his support for the reconstruction of Somnath temple. Gandhiji gave his consent to the move to revive Somnath temple which had been attacked and plundered by invaders, but told the prime movers— Sardar Patel and K M Munshi—that they should not take money from the government.

“For a temple dedicated to Lord Ram, funds must come from the public. Tax-payers’ money should not have any role in the project,” Kumar said. “Some people may contribute ‘shilas’ (sandstone), while others may donate money. We leave everything to people.” he added.

VHP functionaries said enlistment of popular support for the construction of the temple will be a respectful gesture to the devotees, who have waited for generations to see it happen.

No comments: