India’s Ram Mandir Inauguration Pulls in its Global Diaspora

For some, it’s a historic event. For others, it’s a symbol of growing Hindutva and a reminder of sectarian violence.

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India Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to lead the opening of a temple dedicated to Lord Ram in Ayodhya, India, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Sukhada Tatke


January 23, 2024


10 min

Milan Patel, a 3D artist and California resident, moved to the U.S. in 2017 to study animation. But he didn’t let distance come in the way of celebrating what he calls the most historic moment of his lifetime. On Saturday, two days before India Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Patel joined a cavalcade of 500-odd cars at a rally that started in Sunnyvale, passed through the Golden Gate Bridge, and culminated in the Tesla show near Milpitas.

As thousands descended upon Ayodhya to inaugurate the Ram Mandir on January 22, thousands in the Indian global diaspora held parallel celebrations — varying from car rallies to walking around grocery stores dressed as Ram and Sita. At just under 18 million, the Indian diaspora is the largest in the world, and has been since 2010. For many, the Ram Mandir inauguration was a once-in-a-lifetime event. For others, it was a symbol of the growing far-right Hindutva ideology and a reminder of sectarian violence from which many have never healed.

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