Bengaluru: Today (August 5) I thank God and my stars that I am alive to watch the foundation ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya-the birthplace of Mariyada Purshotam Ram, the darling of millions of people across the globe.

I celebrated the foundation-laying of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya on August 5, 2020. The razing of the temple that commemorated the birthplace of one of the dearest human forms of the divine - Lord Rama - by the Mughal raider Babur and the building of a mosque (Babri Masjid) over it has been a wound that festered for generations of Hindus. Along with me, a large population of India erupted in joy when the foundation stone was consecrated and centuries of neglect and disrespect showed to a sacred Hindu site was reversed. The oldest living civilization in the world finally corrected a wrong committed by raider Babar more than 500 years ago when Lord Rama was restored with his birthplace. 


History, archaeology and ancient texts determined this and it was where many Hindus for centuries worshipped as the birthplace of Ram, just as Christians worship the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Thus August 5 is no ordinary day for Indian civilization. This is the day that will be remembered as the rebirth of Indian history that existed for 10,000 years before the Western world was just a thought in the minds of men. This day in the 21st Century is when Indian thought, Indian history, and Indian archaeology along with our very spiritual being will become liberated and Indians will celebrate a new independence that was very different from 1947, when we gained freedom for our land but not for Indic culture. This day will be remembered as the day we finally achieved that which our ancestors dreamt of for a millennium. 


Finally, Indian philosophy and culture and our deities are being given the place that were brutally destroyed by 1000 years of barbaric invasions from distant lands that demolished not only the world's first great university in Nalanda but also many kingdoms that were the pride of the world in architecture, art and design from Somnath in Gujarat to thousands all over North India. Thanks to the hidden caves of Ajanta and Ellora built from 2 BC to 6 Century AD, which were only rediscovered in the 19th Century, they reminded hidden from those that destroyed the Vijayanagar Empire. 

Ayodhya and the Ram Janam bhumi will finally give us the sanctity that, once upon a time, had relevance to our sense of being and our spirituality. It connected us to our great epics and our values as people of a sub-continent that had for 10,000 years given the world the most sophisticated language, philosophy, science, mathematics, art, and sculpture that was breath-taking in thought, size, and workmanship. Critics will say it is a waste of money; but can anyone put a price tag to the oldest living civilization in the world and what it means to its people? It would surprise many to know that in many southeast Asian countries the Ramayana-the story of Ram-has been celebrated as in Thailand where the Kings are still named after Rama and in the grand palace the entire history of this great epic is carved on its walls. 


But when I remember the trials and tribulations that the Hindus went through - the long-drawn legal processes to establish that the site was really the birthplace of Ram - my anger comes back. Again my mind asks - why did a court have to decide that Hindus could build a temple to commemorate the birthplace of Rama? A land which has been inhabited for millennia by Hindus needed lawyers to run around collecting evidence and preparing arguments to establish that the Janmabhoomi was known throughout history as the birthplace of Ram? Kar Sevaks had to lose their lives for daring to claim what was theirs? As we rebuild, we must remember to not dishonour our ancients or their way of life. We must act with dharma. We must speak the truth of what happened to our civilisation, but without engendering hatred. 

We must act, but with calm collective resolve, not with insecure aggression. We must understand that Indian Muslims and Christians of today have nothing to do with what the pre-modern Europeans, Turks, and other foreign invaders did. We must rebuild our temples and viharas as one people. With mutual respect, love and inclusion. We must recreate them as not just places of worship, but also as centres of knowledge and social cohesion, as they were in ancient times.

We must not stop with the Ram Janmabhoomi ji temple. We should rebuild other places of worship which have become the victims and brutal attacks of raiders. 

Rebuilding is a civilisational responsibility we owe to ourselves - and more significantly, to our ancestors, as well as to future generations. It is a statement to the world that we will not die. We are sanatan. We are eternal. And most importantly, we are united. All 1.3 billion people of India.