Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a big push to redevelopment of Ayodhya as a pilgrim city and one of the principal sites of Hindu faith by saying that it, being the birthplace of Lord Rama, needs to be reimagined as an attraction for the country’s youth.
Addressing a virtual meeting, the PM exhorted UP CM Yogi Adityanath and his team to suggest that development of Ayodhya, which is etched in the cultural consciousness of every Indian, should manifest the finest of the county’s traditions and the best of developmental transformations by leveraging skills of the talented youngsters.
“Ayodhya is both spiritual and sublime. The human ethos of this city must be matched by futuristic infrastructure, which is beneficial for everyone including tourists and pilgrims,” Modi said in the meeting to redevelop the city which is being developed as a major tourist destination with a new airport, convention centre and a cultural complex besides hotels to lodge tourists who are expected to flock once the construction of Ram Temple is completed.
While Ayodhya has always been revered for centuries, the PM focused on spreading its appeal to the younger generation who, in many cases, tend to move away from tradition, privileging their temporal passions over the spiritual.
Significantly, the meeting took place against the backdrop of allegations levelled by BJP’s political opponents— mainly, Congress, SP and AAP— in the purchase of land for expansion of the temple area. The allegations, which have been refuted by VHP and the UP government, have failed to get much traction, with the temple project continuing apace.