MARGHERITA, ASSAM: The months of January and February have been hectic for Harish Saikia and Rubul Chetia from Margherita, a small town in the far corner of Assam, not far from the border with Myanmar. The duo were among the 13,000 or so kayrakarta of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and her sisters in the northeast who tried to reach as many homes as possible and connect them to the mandir movement by helping build the Ram temple. in Ayodhya. While the Rs 35 crore they collected in the region’s seven states may be a drop in the ocean, the fact that they managed to reach even remote border villages is a testament to the ever-growing presence of the Sangh parivar and underlines their gargantuan effort. to connect every nook and cranny of the often overlooked region with fundraising.
In the 1980s, when the entire nation was glued to Ramayan de Sagar de Ramanand, Margherita barely had a few dozen televisions. It was then that Ram of Ayodhya first entered some lounges in the isolated city. Now, after three decades, his infantry has spread across Margherita this year, trying to transport the mandir movement to most homes. But it was a difficult task, because historically the people of the Northeast did not worship Ram as a deity. And as the BJP’s war cry of “Jai Shri Ram” echoed through neighboring Bengal, hundreds of saffron activists quietly took to the streets to bring the people of the northeast to the Ram page.