Sabke Ram: Remembering 10 forgotten champions of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement

The Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement, which gained momentum in the 1980s, involved several key figures – the firebrand politicians - who played instrumental roles.

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Courtesy: ANI

As Ayodhya eagerly awaits Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on August 5 for the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram temple, it's crucial to reminisce about the pioneers who laid the groundwork for this historic moment. The Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement, which gained momentum in the 1980s, involved several key figures who played instrumental roles. Here are 10 forgotten champions of the Ayodhya movement, shaping the narrative and political landscape.

Lal Krishna Advani

The original 'poster-boy' of Hindutva, Lal Krishna Advani spearheaded the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi campaign. His nationwide roadshow from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990, conducted in a chariot-like Toyota bus, generated massive support for the construction of the Ram temple. Advani still faces a criminal trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Pramod Mahajan
Pramod Mahajan

Pramod Mahajan

A strategic planner for the BJP, Pramod Mahajan's political acumen was crucial during the Vajpayee-Advani era. He suggested the rathyatra instead of a padyatra for Advani and played a key role in executing it alongside emerging leader Narendra Modi.

Ashok Singhal

An untiring leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Ashok Singhal devoted his efforts to building public support for the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign. Chief architect of the Ram Mandir movement, Singhal's leadership continued until his retirement in 2011.

Murli Manohar Joshi

Known as the "professor" of the BJP, Murli Manohar Joshi was present at the Babri Masjid site during its demolition in 1992. A photograph of him hugging Uma Bharti captured the nation's attention.

Uma Bharti

A prominent woman leader of the Ram Mandir movement, Uma Bharti faced indictment by the Liberahan Commission for her role in the Babri Masjid demolition. Despite attempts to project the event as exclusive to the BJP, she emphasized that Lord Ram belongs to all.

Sadhvi Ritambhara

A firebrand Hindutva leader, Sadhvi Ritambhara played a significant role in the pre-Babri Masjid phase of the Ram Mandir movement. Her impassioned speeches, widely distributed on audio cassettes, contributed to the movement's momentum.

Kalyan Singh

As the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh played a pivotal regional role in the Ayodhya campaign. He was in office on December 6, 1992, during the Babri Masjid demolition, defending the state government's decision not to use force against karsevaks.

Vinay Katiyar

A firebrand Bajrang Dal leader, Vinay Katiyar became the general secretary of the BJP after the Ram Mandir movement. His political stature grew, serving in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

Praveen Togadia

Known for his aggressive speeches, Praveen Togadia built his Hindutva image during the Ram Mandir campaign. Taking over the VHP after Ashok Singhal, Togadia found himself on the sidelines as Advani's influence declined.

Vishnu Hari Dalmia
Vishnu Hari Dalmia 

Vishnu Hari Dalmiya

An industrialist deeply involved in Hindutva politics, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya played a crucial role in the Ram Mandir campaign. Co-accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, Dalmiya passed away in January 2019 at the age of 91.

As Ayodhya witnesses the momentous Bhoomi Pujan, it's essential to remember these forgotten champions who played pivotal roles in shaping the course of history.