The 44-day outreach movement intends to reach 55 crore people across the country, will begin on January 15 on the occasion of Makarsankranti and end on February 27, birth anniversary of Saint Ravidas, a poet-saint much revered by members of the Dalit community, officials of the VHP said.
Spokesperson of the VHP Vinod Bansal said while details of the campaign are being finalised, it was likely to be the “biggest people-contact” programme the country has seen. “For the Karseva in the nineties, we had reached 2.75 lakh households. This time we plan to go to at least four lakh households. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the connect between the people and the temple,” he told ET.
VHP workers on the door-to-door campaign will appeal to people to donate Rs 10, Rs 100 and Rs 1000 voluntarily for the temple construction. “Anyone who wants to donate more than Rs 2,000 will be given a receipt immediately,” Bansal said. Every donor will be given a “glorious picture of Lord Ram and of the upcoming temple,” he added.
After the Supreme Court verdict that ruled in favour of the Hindus, the VHP has been organising community pujas and gatherings at block level in every village. According to some VHP leaders, many of these programmes had to be stalled in view of Covid-19, and are being revived now, so that the “Hindu awakening that had emerged on the issue of Ram temple does not become dormant.”
VHP leaders often cite the words of veteran VHP leader Ashok Singhal who had often said that the Ayodhya movement should not be restricted to the construction of the temple, and should be used to create awareness to awaken Hindus against the Muslim appeasement, and also to unite the Hindus.
Before the bhumipujan ceremony of the Ram temple on August 5, the VHP had collected soil from the birthplaces of Sant Ravidas in Kashi and Maharshi Valmiki (both Hindu Dalit saints) Ashram at Sitamarhi, Bihar, and from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh — the birthplace of Babasaheb Ambedkar and heroic tribal freedom fighter Tantya Bheel’s birthplace in Madhya Pradesh.
“We plan to specifically visit places that are special to our brothers and sisters who come from SC and ST communities and request their support. The intent is to make the Ram mandir a Rashtra mandir (national temple) with participation from every Hindu in this country and abroad. Samajik Samarasta (social inclusion) is an integral part of our work,” Bansal said.
A vedic school to train all communities, particularly Dalits in Hindu priesthood in Ayodhya is also part of the VHP’s plan. Apart from the VHP leadership, RSS leaders such as chief Mohan Bhagwat and joint genera secretary Krishna Gopal are directly coordinating with the efforts, an official said.
Earlier this year, the Ram temple trust had sought suggestions from people and architects on how to develop the temple town complex in Ayodhya. So far, it has received over 450 suggestions, trust official said.