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On Ram temple consecration day, VHP plans celebrations in 55 countries

Author: Deeptiman Tiwary
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: January 8, 2024
URL:   https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ram-temple-consecration-vhp-celebrations-55-countries-9099198/

Through these celebrations, the VHP is trying to reach out to the Indian diaspora as well as people who have converted to Hinduism.

Ahead of the Ram temple consecration ceremony, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has planned celebrations not only in India but also abroad.

The organisation has planned massive congregations in 55 countries where prayers will be conducted in coordination with the January 22 consecration ceremony in Ayodhya.

Through these celebrations, the VHP is trying to reach out to the Indian diaspora as well as people who have converted to Hinduism. VHP sources said these congregations will be attended by Hindus of African, Hispanic, South American, Indo-Burmese, Mongolian and European origins.

According to VHP Joint General Secretary Swami Vigyananand, who handles the organisation’s international affairs, VHP workers are going around towns among Hindu populations in foreign countries and asking them to gather for the event in the nearest temple.

“Where there is no temple, people are being asked to gather in open spaces. In most places word is also being spread through car rallies. A lot of car rallies have been organised. On January 22, before the consecration ceremony, people will be gathered. The ceremony will be watched live on LED screens at all these places. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the diaspora and even those who have embraced Hinduism are coming. We didn’t expect such a massive response,” Vigyananand told The Indian Express.

According to sources, people in all these countries will be gathered two-three hours before the event at Ayodhya. The event there will include recitations of Ramayan and Hanuman Chalisa followed by other rituals. After this, people will watch PM Narendra Modi participating in the consecration ceremony of Ram Lalla at Ayodhya and conduct an “aarti” along with him.

The VHP has also taken into account the difference in time zones and accordingly made arrangements. “In parts of the US it will be past midnight. But people are still gathering and adequate arrangements have been made,” Vigyananand said.

VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said: “With people from around the world cutting across divisions of faith, belief, language and ideologies participating, it shows that no one is untouched by Shri Ram and no one is untouchable for Shri Ram,” he said.

In India, the Sangh is going door-to-door asking people to gather at their nearest temple during the consecration ceremony.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 12.20 pm on January 22. The VHP has planned to install five lakh LED screens in these temples for people to watch the ceremony live. For this, the organisation has tied up with RWAs, vyapar mandals and other social groups to help in arranging the logistics.

Sixty crore people are expected to participate through this arrangement.

Apart from this, a 7000-plus guest list for the event has been crafted by the VHP to include representatives across 150 communities, with a focus on priests from Dalit and tribal communities. The VHP plan dovetails with the RSS’s social harmony campaign launched last year to take on the Opposition narrative around the caste census. With the Opposition falling back on the mandal to defeat the BJP, the Sangh is aggressively pushing Kamandal to create a narrative of disparate castes in the Hindu society being part of one whole.

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