The consecration of Ram Lalla on the icy cold day of January 22 turned Punjab all saffron with Sikhs joining Hindus in organizing ‘langars’ in which ‘badam-milk’, ‘kishmish-karrah’ and ‘chana-puris’ were served to one and all. The day, once again, demonstrated that all communities in Punjab continue to have strong bonds of love and amity, never mind the temporary disturbance of terrorism.
Being a witness to decade-long bloodshed, my conviction in the all-loving spirit of Punjabis ingrained from the ‘Sarbat-Ka-Bhala’ (welfare and prosperity for all) and ‘Manas-Ki-Jaat-Eko-Pehchan-bho’ (recognizing all humanity as one) doctrine of Guru Nanak Dev Ji holds good to date.
As I drove in the city, I was delighted to see all the roadsides showing flags with pictures of Ram Lalla transporting me to realms of my formative years in college. In our Sanskrit optional subject class, the teacher often quoted from Hindu scriptures: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the entire world is a family).
In the evening, I happened to go to one of Mohali’s booth markets. I saw a decorated pandal serving piping-hot ‘badam-milk’, coconut biscuits, ‘namkeen’ and sweet ‘budana’ where I joined the crowd to partake of langar. The young and old were thronging ‘langar’ stalls in each nook and corner of the Mohali. The fragrance of burning ‘agarbattis’ in front of a large picture of ‘bhagwan’ Ram added to the spread of spiritual treatise by playing ‘bhajans’ in the pandal.
Later, a few radical-minded politicians raised a feeble discordant note at a gathering, but no one paid heed. However, a Sikh society issued a statement conveying that the community members should not attend the ceremony in Ayodhya as the temple was constructed by demolishing Babri Masjid. Most Sikh organizations congratulated the Hindus for the new abode for Ram Lalla.
On the other hand, people watched the Ram consecration ceremony by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on television.