‘Mahamandaleshwar should correct himself, a saint is never a Dalit’
<br>In fact, Mahamandaleshwar Swami Kanhaiya Prabhunandan Giri of Prayagraj recently alleged that Dalit saints are being neglected in the Bhoomi Poojan rituals to be held on August 5 for the construction of Ram temple as they have not been invited to the ceremony. Swami Kanhaiya also alleged that no Dalit has been made a member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. BSP supremo Mayawati also expressed displeasure over the issue.
In a special interaction with IANS in this regard, Trust member Kameshwar Chaupal said that there is a lack of confidence behind the allegations. Mahamandaleshwar cannot become one himself. The appointment to this post is done by the Akhara Council. This election is held according to merit. The Akhara Parishad does not see any saint on the basis of caste but ii makes someone a ‘Mahamandaleshwar' on the basis of merit. So now, from where this Dalit thing came from after being a saint?
Chaupal said that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad emerged only to remove the distinction from inside the society. “On February 1, 1989, the ‘Dharmasansad' of saints was held in which one lakh saints participated. At that time this decision was taken that the foundation stone of Ramjanmabhoomi would be laid by someone from the back row of the society. Being from Scheduled Caste, I laid the foundation stone and non of the dharmacharya had opposed it.”
He said that after the formation of the trust, it was decided that as long as Lord Ram would be in belief, a Dalit would be a member of the trust. “However, trusts are not formed on the basis of caste. He said that Mahamandaleshwar should not think like this. This is an immature complaint. His statement is prejudiced. He said that when no body knows about the guest list of the event, how can he allege that no one has invited him?”
Asked if there is any communication gap in the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust because you said to put the time capsule in the foundation of Ram temple and the General Secretary rejected it. On this, Chaupal said that it is not so that everyone in the trust has the freedom to speak. Every issue is discussed deeply and openly.
“We talked about the capsule looking at the future, so that history is preserved. The General Secretary of the trust wants to talk more about it. Everything came out openly. This proposal will be discussed right now. Everything happens democratically. This is not a matter of dispute. Earlier there had been talk of not making any changes in the model of the temple, but after discussing it, changes are being made. There is no defeat or victory in this.”
Asked why L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar, the leaders of the Ayodhya movement, could not find a place in the Trust, Chaupal said that this was beyond his scope. The government has formed a trust on the decision of the Supreme Court.
When asked whether if it does not appear that the trust is kept away from maternal power?
On this, he said that first Scheduled Castes, then Backwards and then common people will think that we are not taken in, now you are talking about maternal powers. Actually, this work is not for profit but it is a matter of sacrifice. This is about dedication. If you will see the Ramayan then you will find that someone got Lanka and another one got other things but it was Hanuman who got nothing. But still he is being worshipped everywhere. Devotion is needed to build the temple. Right now everyone is satisfied with the trust. All they want is that there should be a grand temple as soon as possible.
When asked why people are giving silver gold despite refusing the trust, he said that “we have a lot of transparency here. Those who donate silver and other things we appealed to them to give cash directly and deposit it in the account. Now you can also pay online. We are calling upon people to donate according to their ability.”
The Prime Minister is expected to perform Bhoomi Poojan and foundation stone. You have laid the foundation stone before this. How are you feeling? In response to this question, Chappal said that the foundation stone was established long ago. Now there is only Bhoomi Poojan. The chairman of the trust has also clarified this point.
He said that when we laid the foundation stone in 1989, it was a period of struggle. At that time Babri Masjid's structure was standing on it, which was demolished in 1992. It remained abandoned for so many years. Therefore, it is necessary to perform Bhoomi Pujan for purification. My contribution is like a squirrel in Ram Setu. But it is a matter of pride that the Prime Minister is going to do this because he is the most recognised leader of the country. I am feeling proud after laying the foundation stone.
In response to another question, Chaupal said that the trust wants that the temple should be built at Ramjanmabhoomi as soon as possible and dedicated to the public. A committee for temple construction has been formed. Experts have been appointed for every subject.
On the question of not inviting the people of the opposition parties for the Bhoomi Poojan programme, he said that “earlier we had invited people from opposition parties for ‘Dharamsansad' multiple times. But they didn't come due to fear of losing their vote bank. These people will not come even after invitation. Anyway, due to coronavirus, the programme is being organised in a very limited manner.”
(Vivek Tripathi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)