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Ayodhya represents a shared sentiment of sacredness


Every nation has its sacred spaces and every religion its sacred places. Culture determines the sacredness of physical and metaphysical spaces. Cultures are the soul of nations. Nations create their sacred identities around cultural manifestations like language, history, religion, and morals. During the revolution years in France, only half of its population spoke French and only 12 per cent spoke it “correctly”. The renowned American historian Eugen Weber narrates how France toiled in the aftermath of the revolution through a “traumatic and lengthy process” for what he describes as “self-colonisation”. That effort led to the creation of the modern French state and gave birth to notions of “French superiority over non-European cultures”.


Theodor Herzl was the visionary founder of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century that laid the foundation of the Jewish state of Israel. Herzl was non-religious. But he understood that Judaism was an inseparable aspect of Jewish personal and public existence. Jewish history is largely linked to its religion. That’s why Herzl always respected religion. The first Zionist Congress, held at Basel in France in 1903 under Herzl’s leadership, had a special announcement on the invitation — “Yesh Achsanya Kshera” — meaning, “there is a Kosher restaurant in Basel”. “Sabbath lives in the hearts of the people”, Herzl declared at the Congress and rejected the British offer for a Jewish homeland in Kenya, invoking a Psalm from the Jewish Book of Psalms: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem! Let my right hand forget its cunning.”


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