‘First Kar Sevak’ Kameshwar Chaupal recalls day he laid foundation stone for Ram temple

Kameshwar Chaupal is the lone Dalit member of the newly-formed Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust for the construction of the temple.
Kameshwar Chaupal had laid the foundation stone for Ram temple in Ayodhya 30 years ago.(HT Photo)
Kameshwar Chaupal had laid the foundation stone for Ram temple in Ayodhya 30 years ago.(HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 28, 2020 05:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Prayagraj | ByKenneth John

He laid the foundation stone for a Ram temple in Ayodhya on November 9, 1989. But since then, 64-year-old Kameshwar Chaupal, a Dalit, is anxiously waiting for the construction of the temple to begin.

“I was not informed earlier about the same. On November 9, 1989, barely a few minutes before the foundation laying ceremony, with all the senior leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) present, a Parishad leader close to Singhalji informed me that I had to lay the foundation of Ram temple. I was not prepared and was awe struck. However, after calming myself, I followed the wishes of my seniors in the presence of all the legendary figures, whom I would miss the day construction begins,” said Chaupal recalling the day 30 years ago.

He earned the title ‘First Kar Sewak’ after laying the shila (foundation stone). Chaupal said former VHP chief late Ashok Singhal used to get emotional when he saw him. “He told me repeatedly that there was no such thing as Dalit as all Hindus were one,” said Chaupal.

He has served as the zila (district) pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the Madhubani region and organisation secretary of the VHP in the past.

Chaupal is the lone Dalit member of the newly-formed Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust for the construction of the temple.

“Singhalji used to get greatly moved on hearing the word Dalit. He asked me to continue the movement of finishing off the ‘Dalit’ tag from this country, and today I strive hard in telling every member of my community that they need to learn to be confident and face the society with courage,” said Chaupal, a two-term Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC from Bihar.

“Ashok Singhal breathed his last repeating the words ‘Ram Janmabhoomi Ram Ki Hai’ on November 17, 2015. I was there with Singhalji in Delhi when he passed way. Till the end, he was committed to the cause,” said Chaupal.

He was born in a remote village in Bihar’s Supaul district in Bihar’s Mithila region, and joined the VHP in 1982 while pursuing a Master’s degree from the Mithila University in Darbhanga.

“I tell the people that our forefathers include greats like Vyas, Valmiki, Kabir and the father of the Indian Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar. The upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya will finally witness Ram Rajya wherein every Hindu would enjoy the same status, minus caste boundaries,” said Chaupal.

Chaupal unsuccessfully contested the 1991 Lok Sabha polls on the BJP ticket from Rosada in Bihar. Next, he contested the Bihar assembly elections in 1995 from Begusarai, but lost again. However, in 2002, he got elected as a Member of Legislative Council (MLC).

He also contested the general elections in 2014 but failed to win.

“I wish all ‘Mahapurush’ (the great men) who made this possible were alive to see their struggle take shape. Although nothing can deter the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya now, but their absence would be felt by one and all, especially those who witnessed the highs and lows of their struggle,” he added.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021