Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday performed Bhoomi Pujan for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The PM laid the foundation stone for Hanumangarhi’s puja Aarti and Ramlala after prostrating. However, some people have also raised questions about Bhoomi Poojan in the hands of PM Modi and termed it against secularism. A similar controversy also arose during the reconstruction of the Somnath temple. However, then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru tried to stop President Rajendra Prasad from going to Somnath. So is it wrong for PM Narendra Modi to join Bhoomi Poojan? What was Nehru’s thinking behind not agreeing to Somnath’s reconstruction and stopping the president? Let us answer these questions…
First thing Somnath’s …
The Somnath temple near Veraval in Saurashtra on the west coast of Gujarat is believed to be the first of Shiva’s 12 Jyotirlingas. This holy place, which came in the princely state of Junagadh before independence, is also associated with Lord Krishna. Just as the Babri Masjid was built by demolishing the Ram temple in Ayodhya, similarly in 1026 EC, the Turkish ruler Mohammad Ghazni looted this very rich temple and damaged the Shivling as well. The temple was rebuilt after independence.
Somnath reconstruction and two sections of Congress
There was a lot of confrontation between the two Congress camps regarding Somnath reconstruction. In this case, PM Jawaharlal Nehru was on one side, then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and President Rajendra Prasad were on the other side. The thinking of the two camps was completely different. Congress leader and minister in Nehru government KM Munshi wanted to rebuild Somnath, he raised the issue several times loudly. A few months after independence, Sardar Patel went to Junagadh on 12 November 1947 and announced to Somnath reconstruction in front of a gathering.
Gandhi gave consent
It is said that Patel and Munshi went to Mahatma Gandhi with this proposal and proposed Somnath reconstruction in front of him. Gandhi agreed to this, but said that government money should not be used for this, rather people should bear the cost of it. Thereafter a trust was formed for the reconstruction of Somnath, with Munshi as the chairman. After Patel’s death in 1950, the responsibility of reconstructing Somnath rested with KM Munshi.
Why was Nehru stopping the President from going to the inauguration?
After the reconstruction of Somnath was completed when the turn of its inauguration came, the real controversy started. KM Munshi and Nehru are said to have differed regarding the reconstruction. Both completely disagreed with each other and had even openly lodged a protest. In such a situation when the turn of the inauguration came, Munshi went to President Rajendra Prasad with this proposal. He gave his consent, but when Nehru came to know about this, he was very angry. He immediately wrote a letter to the President saying that it would be better if he does not attend the event. But the President did not listen to Nehru’s advice. Historians point out that Nehru believed that this did not match his ideas of ‘Idea of India’, as he believed that government and religion needed to be kept separate. In Somnath, Rajendra Prasad had said that the world should see that the power of construction is greater than demolition. He also said during this time that he respects all religions and goes to churches, mosques, dargahs and gurdwaras everywhere.