Mahant Ramchandradas Paramhans, 92, lived with a single mission in life: to build a magnificent temple in Ayodhya on the site he held sacred as the birthplace of Lord Ram. It was the same site where the Babri Masjid stood till December 6, 1992, and the case about whether or not an ancient temple once stood on the spot or not is in the courts.
Paramhans, who died on July 31, headed the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and was also head of the revered Digambar Akhara in Ayodhya. He rose to fame in December 1949 when idols 'mysteriously' appeared in the mosque; many believe he had a hand in that appearance. Since then, he was a leading figure in the movement to form a temple, at one point even threatening self-immolation if the central government did not agree to build the shrine. It was in acknowledgement of his contribution and stature that he was asked to head the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.
Paramhans would not live to see his dream achieved, but even critics admired his single-minded devotion to the cause. Those who knew him stressed the seer was not communal; he counted Muslims as among his friends. He just believed the Hindus should have a Ram temple.
Text: A K Diwanji