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RSS to train 250 social media-savvy members on February 20 to spread ‘Ayodhya message’
Vasudha Venugopal | ET Bureau | New Delhi | 9 Feb, 2016:: Ram Mandir on Twitter —Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is planning an intensive training session on the Ayodhya issue for members and sympathisers on social media. Titled ‘Ram Mandir —A Reality’, the session will happen on February 20. RSS leaders, who wished anonymity, said the session is a result of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent call to up the ante on Ram Mandir. RSS is no stranger to social media training sessions. It has held similar sessions on the intolerance debate and Article 370.
The registration form circulated among swayamsevaks requires them to compulsorily fill up their contact details and information on what social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp — they are most active on.
The sessions, said organisers, will be handled by fellow travellers who have a significant following on Twitter.”The idea is to put out facts…court orders, findings by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and even statements by Muslims who admit that Ayodhya being the birthplace of Ram needs to have the temple. When such information is posted or tweeted, people will get to know what the reality is,” a pracharak, who wished to remain anonymous, told ET.
RSS members organising the event said over 1,000 people have already registered and they expect the number to go up. But only 250 people will be chosen for the Ram Mandir session.”We want people who are really active on social media and who can use facts given to them to persuade Internet audiences.
Also, depending on what social media tool they use, they could be given relevant material,” the pracharak quoted earlier said.
Last month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had urged people to come together to build the temple. “The temple will be built within my lifetime… We need to plan it carefully… (we need) a good mix of ‘josh’ and ‘hosh’,” Bhagwat had said. After the speech, RSS’ official Twitter handle sent out tweets quoting Bhagwat on the issue. One tweet was about Somnath temple getting rebuilt with the “efforts” of then Home Minister Sardar Patel.
Sangh outfit Vishva Hindu Parishad is also doing its bit to try and inject some momentum into the Ram Mandir campaign. It is organising exhibitions on Ayodhya, displaying images of what it calls is ancient Ayodhya and of ASI excavations. Three former ASI directors had taken part in a recent VHP seminar on the Ram temple.
ET view: ‘Ram Rajya’ Instead of a Ram Mandir
For a country that has no dearth of Ram mandirs, building the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya as part of a longstanding political ‘dare’ is incidental. Building the proverbial ‘Ram Rajya’, however, is what this country should be getting busy with. To build a prayer room at the cost of erecting a building is not just anachronistic, but also harmful as it takes the focus away from real challenges. For the RSS to assert its virtues as as social and cultural organisation working for the good of the nation, it should utilise its impressive network to help build this Ram Rajya, and not be re-fixated on a Ram Mandir proscribed by geography and ideology.