February 24, 2024

The opening of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was a long-time dream for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist movement. The temple’s inaugural ceremony was presided over by Modi, who had been a young Hindu activist involved in raising funds for the temple. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 by a mob linked to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh began India’s break with secularism, as these groups view India as an explicitly Hindu nation. The Supreme Court’s ruling in 2019, allowing for the construction of the temple, was seen as a victory for Hindu nationalists. Mukul Kesavan, an essayist and historian, discussed how the Ram Mandir played a key role in the B.J.P.’s rise to power and the larger ambitions of the R.S.S. The destruction of the mosque in 1992 was a shocking event, and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling was viewed as a capitulation to Modi and the Hindu nationalist movement.