Thank You Yogi: An open letter from an 'Ayodhyawasi'
"You brought back the glory of Ayodhya, of the scale that none from my generation or the generation before had ever seen. With Deepostav you have associated Ayodhya with Diwali again
This letter could very well be a PR stunt sponsored by BJP, but just that it’s not. I am not the most ‘right-winged’ person, something that often puts me at loggerheads with my parents who are staunch supporters of Bhartiya Janta Party. I would like to admit here that my first vote as an adult didn’t go to BJP and that was 2014, quite recent.
When Yogi Adityanath came to power few years back, I was highly critical about the haste in which he took decisions. I personally detested the implementation of anti-romeo squad. The lack of training in the police meant that it became a tool of harassment. Anyway, so that’s me, not a BJP loyalist by any measure and yet today I am moved enough to say ‘Thank you Yogi’. You brought back the glory of Ayodhya, of the scale that none from my generation or the generation before had ever seen. With Deepostav you have associated Ayodhya with Diwali again, something that had been long forgotten.
When I was much younger, young enough to hold my parents hands, I would visit the Nageshwarnath temple, just off the famous Ram ki paidi. The short walk by the paidi which led to the temple screamed of the apathy Ayodhya was used to from governments. The moss-laden Ram Ki Paidi was anything but a tourist attraction. It was just there, narrating a solemn story of disregard. The entire Ayodhya spoke no different story. The city which should have been the ‘Mecca’ of Sanatan Dharma could never live up to its potential. Nobody wanted to touch Ayodhya. No investments came this way. Even as a kid, it used to amaze me then why my Ayodhya couldn’t achieve the stature of a Varanasi or Hardwar.
Today when I watch Ayodhya in its full glory at the eve of Diwali, my heart naturally beats in gratitude. A famous news anchor walks through aisles flanked by Diyas elaborating on the majestic visuals around her. Somewhere else a foreigner couple is occupied in lighting lamps. The entire city is enshrouded in a veil of soothing lights. Several TV cameras are panning across the previously ignored Ram Ki Paidi. People from all over the country have made their way to my little city. ‘Ayodhya wali Diwali’- they all chant in unison. School kids, college students are running across the length and breadth of the Ghaats. They are volunteers. They feel great responsibility. The joy of being part of something so huge is reflecting in their eyes –something they had been kept at bay from.
These are just a few little things but for us ‘Ayodhwasis’, it feels like somebody has blown life into a dying city. One may feel the extravaganza is wastage of money. But perhaps that is the kind of carnival Ayodhya needed to shoot to prominence on the tourism map again and for right reasons. The happiness of watching your city grow out of cobwebs of ignorance is something that only we small-towners can experience.