Artists make a wall painting of Lord Ram, Laxman, Bharat, Satrudhan, and Janaki sitting on a "Pushpaka Vimana" (chariots) near Valmiki International Airport, in Ayodhya on Tuesday Image Credit: ANI

A political analyst periodically assesses the subject she writes about by engaging with voters and scrutinising government policies, behaviour, and statements made by the executive.

Someone once said that a good newspaper is in constant conversation with its readers. I certainly hope that my beloved readers of SWAT analysis cherish our conversation as much as I do.

Returning to the political temperature of India, it is currently off the scales due to a new resurgence of Hindutva with the approaching inauguration of the Ram Mandir (temple) in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

India has been swept into an unprecedented religious fervour. Women in Uttar Pradesh want to opt for Caesarean births so that their babies are born at the auspicious time when the temple is inaugurated.

Invitation cards for the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya have been delivered to guests by representatives of the temple trust

Once-in-a-lifetime spectacle

Building societies across India have set up giant screens and ordered “vrat” food to indulge in while collectively watching the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will lead the ceremonies, has publicly appealed for people not to turn up to Ayodhya, even as a sparkling new airport with murals and screens depicting scenes from the Ramayana is in place.

The (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP and the Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose chief Mohan Bhagwat has his name inscribed on the invitation card, will be present.

Both saffron organisations are leaving no stone unturned to the run up of the event, with WhatsApp and other social channels lit up with religious messages.

Mass media television channels are at the forefront, conducting live telecasts from Ayodhya and speaking to the artists who’ve made the idols.

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India won’t change

So, what does all of this long preamble, which I wrote to give you a sense of the religious fervour, mean to you?

Indians of all faiths are extremely religious, and I would still say tolerant of other religions and cultures. However, something has changed; the zeitgeist for the majority community has shifted.

I come from a family of practicing Hindus. My grandmother conducted an arti (ritual) every day at home, and all of us would fold our hands and take the blessing.

From the privacy of homes, religion now occupies a public square — a very new concept in a millennia-old religion.

My political reading is that the new Hindu is still proud to be a citizen of a secular republic.

If — and it’s a big if — political parties don’t try to mobilise hate politics, India won’t change much despite the religious brouhaha.

The by-product may be a victory at the hustings for the Modi-led BJP, as general elections are due in a couple of months. Post that, the political temperature will come down.