23 March, 2022
The move is a welcome sign of Hindu-Muslim harmony, according to the head of the trust leading the construction of this temple.
Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khan, the man who has donated the land for the Virat Ramayan Mandir, is a local businessman who works in the eastern city of Guwahati.
Acharya Kishore Kunal, head of the Mahavir Mandir Trust that is overseeing the construction, told India Today that Khan’s donation is a wonderful example of Hindu-Muslim harmony and that it would have been difficult to build this temple without the help of Muslims.
The Virat Ramayan Mandir is projected to be taller than the world famous 215-ft Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which would make it the largest temple in the world. The Trust has so far acquired 125 acres for the temple, and aims to acquire another 25.
The total cost of construction is estimated at around $ 65 million.
The Khan family donation offers a glimmer of hope for peaceful coexistence in an increasingly polarised India. Islamophobia, harassment and discrimination of the country’s Muslim minority has skyrocketed in recent years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist BJP took power in 2014.
Muslim girls in the southern state of Karnataka have been banned from wearing their hijabs to schools and colleges, while a firebrand Hindu monk who was recently re-elected to lead India’s largest state has been accused of staging extra-judicial killings against Muslims and lower caste Hindus.