We are working on a well-thought out plan to place Ayodhya on the global map.

जासु बिरहॅं सोचहु दिन राती। रटहु निरंतर गुन गन पॉंती।।रघुकुल तिलक सुजन सुखदाता। आयउ कुसल देव मुनि त्राता।।

It will be a befitting culmination of about five centuries of perseverance, reverence and penance of crores of devotees when the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji will lay the foundation stone of the much-cherished Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya on 5 August 2020 at an auspicious time between 12.30 pm and 12.40 pm. It will be a reverential moment for the devout, who have been waiting for a long-long time to see a grand temple of Ram at his birthplace of Ayodhya. Patience always pays! It came true with a myriad of human beliefs and emotions that the five centuries of social, legal and religious tangling ended with such a religiously fulfilling and overwhelming occasion. Indeed, it is a matter of joy, exultation and over-powering spirituality for millions and millions of Sanatan Hindus who will be witness to such a moment on 5 August 2020.

It is truly gratifying that Lord Ram has given our generation the opportunity to treasure this in our lifetime and leave a religious legacy to the posterity to revere and adore. It will also be an event to recall the sacrifice of thousands of devotees who are not with us to witness this monumental event. We wish and know that the benevolent Shri Ram will always give them a place at their feet. No wonder what has been said before that the faith and belief in God gives you the power that cannot be negated by any force on the planet.

The much-awaited Bhumi-Poojan of Shri Ram temple makes me sentimental to remember late Dadaguru Gorakshapeethishwar Mahant Shri Digvijaynath-ji, and the late Gorakshapeethishwar Mahant Shri Avaidyanath-ji. They may not be with us to share their joy on this historic event, but I am sure their souls must be feeling utmost satisfaction and profuse happiness. In fact, it was Mahant Digvijaynath-ji Maharaj who first espoused the cause of Ram temple construction between 1934 and 1949. When Ram Lala appeared in that alleged controversial structure on the intervening night of 22 and 23 December 1949, during the British rule, Mahant Digvijaynath-ji Maharaj was holding a keertan with some saints. After his demise on 28 September 1969, Mahant Avaidyanath-ji adopted the resolve of his Gurudev and launched a decisive movement for the construction of grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya. What would be termed as the biggest cultural movement post-Independence, under the guidance of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the leadership of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Ayodhya movement reignited the flame of faith among Indians towards our rich culture, heritage and civilisation. In fact, Mahant Avaidyanath-ji was unanimously chosen as the first President of Shri Ram Janam Bhumi Yagya Samiti on 21 July 1984.

The whole movement managed to expose a few partisan thought processes of pseudo-secularism and communal appeasement, threatening the nationalist ideology, which was developed over the years by the penance of our great sages and saints. It was not to be though. It has also been a historic moment when the first spade was hit by Mahant Avaidyanath-ji and the much-revered saint Paramhans Ramchandra-ji Maharaj during the symbolic digging of the land for the construction of the Shri Ram temple.

The initiative by the respectable saints and the VHP leader Ashok Singhal-ji, the first “shila” was laid by Shri Kameshwar Chaupal-ji. Most fortunately, Kameshwar-ji is currently a member of Shri Ram Janam Bhumi Teerth Kshetra Nyas.

The Ayodhya movement to free the land of Lord Ram has been a long-drawn struggle, which culminated into a victory of truth and justice which will inspire generations to come. It is time to forget the bitterness of the past and write a new script of bonhomie, faith and development.

The Uttar Pradesh government, under the able guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to restore the past glory of this sacred town. Ayodhya has long been neglected due to political apathy. We are working on a well-thought out plan to place Ayodhya-ji on the global map in terms of development and the facilities and make it as a symbol of modern culture. The world has already seen splendid Deepawali for three years and now is the time to perceive Ayodhya as a combination of religion and development.

I understand that devotees in large numbers desire to participate in this historic event on 5 August 2020, but the global pandemic is not allowing it to happen. We should consider this as a divine wish and accept it. The Hon’ble Prime Minister is representative of the aspirations of 125 crore people of the country and it would be a proud moment for everyone when he lays the foundation stone of the Shri Ram temple. It is because of the respected Prime Minister that every Indian is watching this auspicious occasion after a gruelling wait of about five centuries by several generations. It is not only the start of a Temple but will herald a new era in the history of this great country. This new era is a clarion call for all of us to convert our country on the ideals of “RamRaj” and all of us should inculcate in ourselves the ideals of Shri Ram. I find this occasion to remind you that the life of Shri Ram also teaches us about patience and perseverance. I know you people are overwhelmed but still you have to exercise restraint and maintain social distancing as these are testing times for all of us. I appeal to all devotees, wherever they are, to light a lamp at their respective homes on 4 and 5 August 2020. Similarly, the respected saints and Dharmacharyas should light lamps and organise “Akhand Ramayan” in the temples. We should pay our gratitude to all our forefathers who have departed to their heavenly abode without being able to witness a moment they have longed for all their lives. Let us all pray to Shri Ram to bring prosperity in the country and bless all. Shri Ram will always shower blessings on us and ensure our welfare.

Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram!

Yogi Adityanath is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.