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BJP raises Ram temple issue in its manifesto: Does the issue hold any importance in 21st century?
Finally, BJP came out with its Lok Sabha poll manifesto today in which it touched upon many social, economic and governance issues, the country is facing today. Along with this, the party also raised the contentious issue of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya while raising it in cultural heritage section of the manifesto on page number 49 of the manifesto.

On Ram temple BJP's manifesto says, “BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”

Though BJP emphasised that it would follow the Constitution on this issue, but this particular point in its manifesto has also raised many eyebrows.

Linking Ram temple with cultural heritage of the country, may be mere an election gimmick by the party. But the important question here is, is Ram temple important for people today in this 21st century? Do people really think that construction of Ram temple is important for the cultural heritage value of the country?

We spoke to few intellectuals, in a bid to know their opinion on such a sensitive issue.

Dr. B P Sahu, Deptt. of Social Science, Delhi University:

It doesn't own any importance for the citizens of 21st century. It is more important for those hermits or priests who are inclined to monetary business in the name of religion. For the new generation, Ram Mandir does not have any meaning, it is totally absurd. New generation needs employment, good salary, corruption free governance. It is very good that some people are bringing back the old agenda. And in this, there are two things that is happening. First, few political leaders are going back to their original agenda and getting themselves exposed as they are shifting from economic growth or unemployment to this issue. And secondly, people are wrongly defining the 'Hindu' religion. There is a misunderstanding that a few people are living with, i.e 'Hinduism is equal to Ram' but actually it is not. Hinduism contain 33000 god's and goddess's. So over focusing on 'Ram Mandir' issue in name of Hinduism is projecting a wrong image about the religion.

Ratan Sharda, An expert on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh:

Ram Mandir, from the perspective of culture and heritage, is an identity of the nation and it is culturally more important to us. Nobody can abandon such sensitive issue, that issue with whom our religious beliefs are connected. Though it's too late but at least a few people are taking it up for discussion. We should appreciate such initiatives of BJP where they are putting this up in their manifesto and giving it its due importance. And if a few handful of people doesn't care much about it, then term with respect I would say they are “thinking differently.” At the different level of society people treat this issue differently. For few it is culturally important, but for few its religiously important. There can be a few for whom it hardly matters whether there is a Ram Mandir or not, but existence of such people cannot undermine the importance of such an important issue.

Dr. Susan Vishwanathan, Deptt. Of Social Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University:

Using 7th century ideologies of the wahabis, fundamentalist Muslims terrorise the cities of India in the name of religion. In the same way, the RSS also frightens people with the misuse of a mythic past. Myths are sacred, why use them to frighten people, and create polarisations? Modi is using the RSS as a base to change the BJP in its essential form, and it is a dangerous moment for democratic politics. By persuasion and threat, he is communicating that only his view of the world is a relevant one. Young people in modern India would like to secure the right to live, and to work, and surely to provide the institutional spaces where others can also live, as the constitution of India mandates this.

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