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Nirmohi Akhara – The true warriors of Ram Mandir movement

Hindu, Sant, Hindu Sant, Nirmohi Akhara, Nirmohi Akhada, Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, Ram Janmabhoomi, Ram Mandir, Ayodhya, Supreme Court, Waqf Board, Ram Temple, Mandir, Shri Ram, Lord Ram

They are the biggest group of Hindu ascetics who are devotees of none other than Lord Ram. Their name means, roughly, “Group Without Attachment.” They have given up the material world for the company of their God. They are “sadhus” – or Hindu holy men often considered by the hermetic leanings. They were the one who always asserted that there is no mosque called Babri Masjid at the site in Ayodhya, nor did the Mughal commander Babur make any defeat or any occupation of territory in India. They also claimed the site is of ancient antiquity and has existed before the living memory of man. They are lord Rama’s representatives who received another third of the site. It is one of the fourteen akharas recognized by the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and belongs to the Vaishnava sampradaya. The Nirmohi Akhara, which is a body of seers, claims to have been the worshippers and devotees of Lord Ram for over seven centuries. Shebaitship is a legal concept deriving from Hindu law where devotees are considered guardians of a deity’s daily affairs and associated property. It is not simply an office but accompanied by certain rights.

The akhara, which was founded by poet-seer Ramanand, operates on the collective memory of the sect — there is no written text, just oral traditions. It is a wealthy sect that owns many temples and mathas in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar. Members are expected to lead simple and austere lives of celibacy and to accept Rama as their deity. They have abandoned the material world for the company of Rama. They are sadhus, Vedic holy men often given to self-discipline. New recruits are mainly in their teens and can be from any Indian caste. They are put through a grueling schedule to master the Vedic scriptures (Vedas and Upanishads) as well as certain martial arts. In former times, members of the sect had a mandate to provide protection to the followers of Rama and were given rigorous training in archery, swordsmanship, and wrestling. Portions of this curriculum are still observed, though it is more moderate in practice.

Certain adherents have garnered public attention, since 1949, in connection with the Ayodhya debate, when a suit was filed on their behalf to reclaim the disputed site of the Babri Mosque. They have claimed in court that there is no mosque referred to as “Babri Masjid” at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit in 1985[clarification needed (see talk page) with the sub-judge of Ayodhya, seeking consent to construct a temple to Rama in the Ram Chabutra, the area adjacent to the unauthorised structure. The sub-judge held that two large religious structures in close proximity could potentially be a “threat” to public order. In 1989, the Nirmohi Akhara filed a lawsuit against the Uttar Pradesh State government, claiming that they had been worshiping the deities installed at a temple at the then disputed site since ancient times, and requesting the Court to hand the management of the temple over to them. However, this fight wen so long and many Hindu organizations joined them in this movement, all right-wing organizations supported Nirmohi Akhara in getting a temple land in Ayodhya.

But on 9 November 2019, the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, which included the Chief Justice of India, overturned the verdict of the Allahabad High Court and dismissed the suit filed by the Nirmohi Akhara stating that the suit of the Akhara was time-barred and beyond limitation. The Supreme Court ruled that the outer and inner sanctum of the site would belong to the deity itself and would be managed by a Trust formed by the Central Government for that very purpose. the disputed site which was in the receivership of the Government was directed to be handed over to the trust by an appropriate notification. The Central Government was directed to give appropriate representation to the Nirmohi Akhara in the trust if the same was deemed necessary and appropriate by the Central Government.

Gradually with power and political interference and involvements, Nirmohi Akhara got divided. Their unity came at stake and they are now at the mercy of power mongers.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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