Devotees pray during the Shri Ram Janam Bhumi Sthapa committee celebration of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha inauguration at the Pierre Road Recreation ground in Felicity on Sunday. – Photo by Roger Jacob
WITH GREAT fanfare and festivity, hundreds of residents of Felicity and its environs descended on the Pierre Road Recreation Ground on Sunday evening to celebrate the consecration of the Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
In what is being considered “Divali in January” for millions of Hindus around the world, the Shri Ram Janam Bhumi Sthapna Committee, under the patronage of the High Commissioner of India in TT, Dr Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit, held a public commemoration at the grounds.
It began at 2 pm with a motorcade to the venu,e followed by a boisterous procession with people dressed as the deity Lord Ram, accompanied by tassa.
The function was filled with cultural songs and dances, all giving praise to Lord Ram.
As pundit Ganesh Maharaj explained, Hindus are celebrating the return of a temple to the birthplace of Ram, a deity considered the ideal man and exemplar of how to live for all.
“The thing is, 500 years ago or more, because of different people who tried to raid and plunder India, there was a mosque – no offence to anybody else, but a mosque was built on the site of what is called Ram Janmabhoomi, his birthplace,” he told Newsday.
“They felt wronged to a point, and it’s been in court over many, many years, and after 500 years, the court order was that the mosque be demolished because of the place that it is and they allowed for a Ram temple to be built on the spot which lends credibility it lends validity to the place and the position of all the scripture.”
Though the mosque was demolished some 30 years ago, the move has since garnered controversy in India among segments of the Muslim community based on international reports.
But in an address at the function, Chaguanas mayor Faaiq Mohammed commended TT’s ability for all religions to live in harmony.
“I take immense pride in residing in a land where tolerance is not merely a catchphrase but a guiding principle woven into the fabric of our society. And in Chaguanas, precisely along one road, one can witness the coexistence of a temple, a church, and a masjid, in close proximity. This is an extraordinary testament to the harmonious living that defines our community.”
The Indian High Commissioner commended the crowd and those responsible for the celebration for their support for the historic moment. The consecration of the mandir will be live-streamed on Monday globally, including in Times Square, New York.
Also attending the celebration yesterday was Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar with her MPs and party members, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Avinash Singh and prominent Hindus. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha also celebrated on Sunday in Munroe Road. There were also celebrations in Debe.