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How Two Dharam Sansads at Kumbh are Trying to Outdo Each Other


Prayagraj: For the first time perhaps a Kumbh here in Prayagraj is hosting two religious conclaves, both meant to represent aspirations of millions of Hindus, both trying to outdo each other.

One that just ended on Wednesday – Param Dharam Sansad – spread over the last three days, concluded by resolving to lay the foundation stone of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya on February 21st.

The other, led by VHP, will begin from Thursday, in which, according to senior functionaries, issues like Sabarimala, caste conflicts like Saharanpur riots and Una flogging incident, and Patthargarhi, apart from Ram Mandir, will be discussed over two days.

Presiding over just concluded religious conclave was Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka Peeth, who concluding the three-day long proceedings, said, “Hum mandir ke shilanyaas ki ghoshna karte hain…Ramjanmabhoomi ke liye charam balidan dene ka samay aa gaya hai.”
Known for his attacks on the RSS and the present government, Swaroopanand Saraswati commented on government’s latest move to apply to the Supreme Court to ‘restore’ ‘superfluous’ land in the disputed area, by saying, “Ye log Ramjanmabhoomi ko chod kar duusri jagah bana rahe hain, Iska hum virodh karte hain (These people want to leave Ramjanmabhoomi and build a temple elsewhere. We protest such a move).”

In fact, the whole day at the ‘Param Dharam Sansad’ was spent by the speakers in denouncing the Modi government and the RSS.

“Sanatan Dharm ka netritv sangh nahi karta…unhe [VHP] dharam sansad bulane ka adhikaar nahi hai, Shankaracharya ko hai,” Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, Shankaracharya’s disciple said.

Another speaker – priest Vairagyanand of Jona Akhara – who addressed the audience, full of Hindu priests, said, “Ram Mandir ka nirmaan aise nahi hoga…Gujarat ke praniyon ne jo gang bana rakhi hai usse is mudde ko pehle chudana padega (Ram mandir cannot be built like this).”

Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, leader of All India Hindu Mahasabha, said, “Sangh ke netritv ne hame abhi tak bewakuuf banaya hai…ab hame hi mandir ka kaam apne haath mein lena padega (Sangh has fooled us. Now we will have to take up the charge of building the temple).”

Senior functionaries in the VHP, whose own two-day long Dharm Sansad begins from tomorrow, say they are not bothered by Swaroopanand’s statements. They claim that the show they’re going to run for the next two days will be the real Dharm Sansad.

“Who took the Ram Mandir issue to the heights where it is today. More than 16 crore people were involved in the movement that we led, even more than the number people who were involved in the independence movement,” said Surendra Jain, joint general secretary, VHP.

“They can do whatever they want,” Jain said referring to the just concluded three day event, “the real Dharm sansad is going to start from tomorrow and every Hindu in the country knows it.”

He added that the VHP has conducted a total of 18 Dharm sansads till date “and important decisions for the direction of Mandir movements and other issues have been resolved in these sansads. We have the support of all sadhus in the country.”

The VHP has held several conclaves of late to discuss the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, the most recent of which was held in Delhi. RSS’ second-in-command ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi was also present at the event in which he had threatened the government to find ways of starting construction of Ram Temple.

Several Hindu priests who attended and spoke in the event had expressed anguish at the government’s delay in bringing in an ordinance for expediting construction of the Ram Temple. Now that the camp led by Swaroopanand has explicitly mentioned the date on which they will lay the foundation stone of the temple, pressure will be on VHP to match their promise by a promise of their own.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta

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