Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwant on Wednesday said "atma-vishwas" (self-confidence) was needed for India to become "atma-nirbhar" (self-sufficient) and that the laying of the foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is the first step towards achieving that goal.
RSS is the umbrella body of Hindu nationalist outfits.
Bhagwat said the foundation ceremony of the Ram temple was the culmination of 30 years of intense work put in by the RSS. He said RSS's third chief, Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras (known as Balasaheb Deoras), had told 'pracharaks' such as Bhagwat that building the temple would take 20-30 years of sustained efforts.
"A resolve was taken...I remember that Balasaheb Deoras had told us that 20-30 years of work will have to be put in, only then this would happen. We did work all this while and in the 30th year of struggle have finally had the pleasure of seeing our efforts bearing fruit," Bhagwat said.
Naming senior BJP leader LK Advani who was the party chief when the Babri Masjid was demolished, Bhagwat said there were those who couldn't make it to the foundation laying ceremony, like "Advani ji who led the yatra who must be watching it from his home. If Ashok ji [former chief of the VHP] were here, it would have been such a source of joy for us. There are also those who could come but couldn't be called, the situation is such".
Bhagwat commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for laying the brick for the grand Ram Temple. "That the initiation of the temple is being done by the same person under whose leadership this dream came true is also a great source of pleasure for all of us," he said, adding the foundation was being laid at a time when the world is looking up to India to lead it in the fight against coronavirus.
Bhagwat said the work of building the shrine is unlike work on constructing temples across the country. "The idols in lakhs of other temples are all images of the Lord Ram statue that will now be placed here in this grand temple," he said.
The RSS chief shared the stage with Modi, Mahant Nrityagopal Das, head of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra (Trust), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel.