The Hindu Heritage Foundation (HHF) is an organisation established by “some renowned Hindu Scholars and organisational leaders who had served in some of the world’s best institutions such as the NASA, USA”.
We don’t know who these scholars are, but at the recently-concluded Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas (a summit held to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India), members of the foundation were asking NRIs to sign a petition to join the movement to build the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The event was organised by the Union Ministry of External Affairs in association with the Uttar Pradesh government, and inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Held in Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, the HHF set up a booth at the event led by its ‘International Youth Coordinator’ Rahul Kumar Singh. Along with his underlings, Singh distributed reading material on Hindu dharma (law), which “contained stories about our great men, the role they played in India’s creation, like Bhagat Singh, Dr Hedwegar, etc, for Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 30," he tells VICE over the phone. "We even gave away a rudraksh and Hanuman chalisa for free to whoever signed our petition."
The plan for this IRL petition, which is being overseen by another great organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, is to present it in front of President Ram Nath Kovind. “NRIs live far away, away from India, from Ayodhya, but Ram is in their hearts. They too want to request the Indian President, their president, that we should get a Ram Mandir,” says VHP General Secretary Prashant Hartalkar. “What is wrong in making a request?”
“We had around 300 signatures in only half a day,” Singh says. “They [the NRIs] told us that Ram Mandir should be built as soon as possible, that we should have such events in Ayodhya too. They think the government should build it quickly."
After this “success”, Singh and his underlings are now heading to Kumbh Mela, where they have arranged a “Pravasi Mahasnan” i.e., a giant NRI bathing session to get even more signatures. The HHF is already in touch with youth leaders of the NRI contingents which came to the aforementioned Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, having exchanged WhatsApp numbers with many signatories.
“We’re optimistic about it [Ram Mandir],” Singh says. “Ab mann mein bhaav hai, aur lagta bhi hai ki ho jaayega. Allahabad ka naam Prayagraj ho gaya na? (I feel that it’ll get done now. Just like Allahabad’s name change to Prayagraj). Things will change with time.”
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