“Ram Mandir banane se kya unemployment khatm ho jayega kya?”
“Will the Ram Mandir end the problem of unemployment?” is a question I found being asked by many communists, who, despite their enthusiasm for Eid and the Babri Masjid, claim to be atheists.
I hold nothing but immense reverence for the ordinary Bengali Hindus who helped the BJP secure 19 seats in Parliament, thereby contributing to the realization of a long-delayed dream. However, one cannot overlook that the aforementioned question is asked mostly by communists from Bengal, the city-dwellers who go to Jadavpur University or are influenced by it. Of course, communists in Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra and other parts of the country have also raised the same, repeated, repulsive question.
As this question has been bothering so many self-proclaimed atheists of India, let it be answered, once and for all.
Back in 2018, I traveled to Gujarat to bow my head at Dwarka and Somnath. I have also had the almighty’s blessings to have visited the Vaishno Devi, Meenakshi Temple, Puri Jagannath Dhaam, Kamakhya Mandir, Rameshwaram, Mathura, Vrindavan, and many other sites that hold the roots of Hindu Dharma. And I have witnessed trade and economy bustling across miles of land surrounding these holy destinations.
That the Islamist invader Mohammad Ghazni had orchestrated 17 attacks on the Somnath temple is pubic knowledge. But outside the enormous Somnath Temple standing tall by the roaring ocean, I spotted several Muslim hawkers donning skull caps alongside the regular Hindu sellers. Christians? I can’t tell.
These Muslim hawkers were selling snacks, mementos, sweets, fruits, and other sundry items, just like the rest of the vendors to the Shiva-devotees. Flocks of visitors bought items from them, just like they got goods from the vendors without the skull caps. These Hindus remember Ghazni and his brutality but have not let that memory stop them from being large-hearted enough to allow Muslim vendors their honest livelihood.
Of course, the viciousness with which Hindus are still attacked by the Muslim clergy, bodies like AIMPLB, seculars, communists and others, the vulgarity with which their deities are abused and mocked, may push Hindus into a re-assessment of how their large-heartedness is being interpreted.
The little island of Beyt Dwarka is remarkable for its Krishna temples. It has a substantial amount of Muslim population also. The island is thriving with shops of artificial jewelry, sweets, prasad, milk-products that Krishna loved, stones, and souvenirs. I have seen smiling burqa-clads women sitting in a few of these shops showing items to the prospective buyers. This is the infamous Gujarat.
In almost all Teerths I have been to, I have found the story to be the same. Their religious prominence has given an impetus to the local economy. Hotels and travel and transportation businesses have experienced phenomenal gains in these locations. Cloth stores selling local specialties enjoy increased business. Restaurants, high-end and humble eateries alike, have mushroomed up with their tables busy round the clock. Street food vendors are serving customers all-day long too.
Hawkers selling toys, puja material, local sweets, fruit juices, local inexpensive jewelry pieces, home décor items don’t sleep on an empty stomach in these places. The less fortunate ones sell flowers, bangles, little effigies of main temples, candles, dhoop, incense stick, batasha outside the temple gate, and earn a living.
In an average year, hundreds of thousands of Bengalis travel to Puri. There are some families that visit Puri regularly for a 3-4 days stay. Why do these travellers visit the neighboring state, when they have Digha in their own state? In fact, why does Digha not experience the same glorious reputation as Puri? Same sea, same shore. Isn’t it?
Puri is Bhagwan Jagannath’s abode. And hence, it is a crowd-puller. It will not be a lie if we claimed that the major part of Odisha’s economy is dependent on Bhagwan Jagannath’s dhaam and His devotees.
The communists who had pulled the shutter down on the thriving factories of West Bengal, puncturing its economy and rendering thousands of labors jobless (many of whom committed suicide with their entire family), have been questioning since the past two days: “Ram Mandir banale ki unemployment ghuchbe?” (Will unemployment go away by building Ram Mandir?). We say, of course it will help the local economy! For starters, the Ram Mandir has already provided employment opportunities to many engineers, architects, laborers, media personnel, guides, photographers, and bloggers.
In case they haven’t been to a temple all their lives, we urge they visit the Kalighat temple on their next best availability and see how a temple provides employment to numerous people who settle around it.
If 600 years of Islamic, 200 years of British, and 50 years of Congress rule – sans the Ram Mandir – couldn’t solve the problem of unemployment, try opening a stall outside the Ram Mandir to keep shoes and sandals. Rs 10 per pair. You will earn an honest living.
Jai Shree Ram!
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