'No laws can stop our work'

Published : Jun 24, 2000 00:00 IST

Interview with Acharya Giriraj Kishore.

Acharya Giriraj Kishore, senior vice-president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has apparently been entrusted with the task of leading the movement to revive the Ayodhya temple agitation. It is in this context that he has announced plans to launch a yatra from Jaipur to Ayodhya later in the year, carrying a large-size model of the proposed temple. Venkitesh Ramakrishnan met Acharya Giriraj Kishore at the VHP's headquarters in New Delhi to find out the plans and programmes of the organisation. Excerpts from the interview:

You have said that the VHP will undertake a yatra from Jaipur to Ayodhya carrying a model of the temple. When will the yatra take place?

A model of the temple has been made. This will be taken to Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya and consecrated there at a new temple in the compound. Devotees can have darshan here until the original temple comes up at the spot where Ramlala was born. All this woul d have been done in June itself. But the creator of the model kept Lord Ram's bow on the right-hand side instead of on the left. This needed to be corrected. Now it seems that the model will be ready only by August. Since no sacred task is undertaken in August, the yatra and the consecration will take place only in or after September.

What is the social and religious significance of this yatra and the consecration?

It is usually done in all religious places. One cannot say that this is something that is being done specially for the temple in Ayodhya.

There is a feeling that the VHP is doing all this to revive the Ayodhya agitation and take centre stage in the Sangh Parivar and national politics.

The media are free to have their interpretation. But as far as the VHP is concerned, there is no question of reviving the mandir agitation, because we had never stopped it. Our work for the mandir had been continuing systematically all these years. The c arving of pillars for the temple has been on since 1990 in the karyashalas (workshops) at Ayodhya and Rajasthan under the supervision of the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas. This is only a continuation of that. And naturally in the last 10 years, a lot of work has b een done and things have become more concrete.

So, what are the concrete plans of the VHP for the near future in continuation of its Ram temple work?

We shall finalise all that in the near future. In July, the Prabhandhak Samiti will meet in Agra and in October the Margdarshak Mandal will meet in Goa. Concrete plans will be discussed in both the meetings. After that, in early 2001, the Dharma Sansad ( religious parliament comprising Hindu sants and mahants as well as VHP activists) will assemble at Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela. In all probability, the Sansad will announce the dates for the beginning of construction.

Do you think that the cases with regard to the mandir-masjid dispute would be settled by then?

We have made it clear right from the beginning that as far as we are concerned, the construction of the Ram temple is not a matter of adjudication. No Constitution, no laws, no government and no Prime Minister can stop our work. What we know is that we have enough processed stones for the construction of the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple. We have 25,000 cubic feet of stone ready. It is sufficient to build the garbha griha though 1,75,000 cubic feet of stone is required to complete the temple.

But certainly, the act of starting the construction would have larger social and political ramifications, particularly on the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led coalition government at the Centre.

Look, the VHP is not concerned about political gains or losses. Political parties might try to use the issues raised by us to their benefit. We cannot help it. We are not bothered whether the government remains or not. We will continue to do the religiou s tasks entrusted to us by the dharma, as per the wishes and directions of the dharmacharyas.

So, there would be no problem if the Vajpayee government falls.

Of course, those who are in power will have problems. Perhaps, the nation will also suffer. But we are bound by our commitment to the dharma and the dharmacharyas.

The BJP, which is considered to be the political arm of the Sangh Parivar, has said clearly in its Chennai Declaration that the mandir issue is not on its agenda at the moment. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj is on record as having said recently that the mandir issue was essentially political.

We are not bothered about all that. Sushmaji is free to have her views. But for the VHP there is nothing political about the temple issue. And in any case, you are not the ones who are going to build the temple. It is the VHP that is going to build the t emple. And why do you take it for granted that everybody would share your views?

If the government opposes your plans and puts impediments in your path, how would you react? Would you resort to the same tactics that were used on December 6, 1992, during the demolition of the Babri Masjid?

The work now is not of demolition. It is of construction. All that needs to be said now is that the construction will be completed. We will see how the situation develops and do whatever is required.

But there must be some plans on possible scenarios.

There must be.Could you be more specific on these plans?

I cannot share the details with you. You wait and see.

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