Mahant Nritya Gopal Das is the chief of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas—bodies created to oversee the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. He is also the pithadhishwa (head) of Ayodhya’s largest temple, ‘Sri Maniram das Chavani’. He played a major role in the Ram temple construction movement and is also one of the accused in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.
Nritya Gopal Das was born on Saturday, 11 June 1938 (age 82 years; as in 2020) in Kerhala/Kahola village, in Mathura, Western Uttar Pradesh. In 1953 he enrolled himself at Lala Ram College in Mathura to study commerce. However, unhappy with the traditional education being provided in college, he left his studies in-between and went away to live in Ayodhya. In Ayodhya, he became a disciple of Mahant Ram Manohar Das, who inducted him into the Diksha Sanskar’ (giving of a mantra or an initiation by the guru to his disciple) and also urged him to learn Sanskrit. Thereafter, he graduated with a B.A (Shastri) degree from Sampurnanand Sanskrit University in Varanasi. At a young age of 27, in 1965, he was positioned as a mahant (a religious superior) with a big ceremony in Ayodhya.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: White
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
He was born into a Brahmin family.
Parents & Siblings
He was born to Shrigdaan Sharma (Father) and Ramdaey (Mother). Reportedly, he also has a younger brother, Dulheram Sharma.
Relationship and Children
Nritya Gopal Das is not married and has dedicated his life to God.
- He was one of the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
- Dibyesh Anand, a British-Indian professor, has narrated about his personal interview session with Mahant Das in 2005, in his book “Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear,” where he has explained about a derogatory statement made by Mahant Das. Here is an excerpt from the book:
During my personal session with the head of the Ram Janmabhumi Temple movement, Nritya Gopal Das (Personal Interview 2005e), an interesting incident occurred. My name and surname do not give away the caste I was born into. Assuming that I was a Non Resident Hindu Indian (a category that is often seen as a constituency for Hindu nationalism), Das started with a rehearsed tale of how Hindus and Muslims are brothers and if only Muslims give away certain mosques, there will be harmony in India. Upon the advice of a friendly sadhu, I emphasised that I came from a Brahmin family and Nritya Gopal Das’s tone changed. He became more friendly and open and lamented how it is not only Muslims but “neechi jaati ke log” (lower caste people) who have created all the problems. A mere mention of “Brahmin” identity opened up many avenues of discussion with more than half a dozen senior sadhus who work directly with the Vishwa Hindu paridhad.” books.google.co.in
- He took over the presidency of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas after the death of previous head, Mahant Ram Manohar Das in 2003.
- He also succeeded Shri Mani Ram Das Maharaj as the sixth head of the ‘Shri Mani Ram Das Chavni’, widely recognised as ‘Chhoti Chavani’. Choti Chavani temple is spread over an area of 25 acres, and one of the most popular religious places in Ayodhya, which attracts hundreds of pilgrims every day.
- He has helped in building several temples in Ayodhya. Some prominent ones are—the Ramayan Bhavan, the Shri Ranganath temple, and the Shri Char Dham temple.
- Mahant Das is guarded by a Z level security cover.
- Religious superior, Nritya Gopal Das, was strongly associated with the movement for the construction of Ram Mandir on Ram Janmabhoomi.
- In 2016, he warned BJP government that if they do not address the Ram Mandir construction issue, it will be pushed out of governance. He said,
The BJP government was formed with the blessings of Lord Ram. Whether it is at the centre or in the states, the BJP has achieved everything in the name of Lord Ram and if it decides to forego its commitment to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya, then the party may start counting its days.”
- On 5 August 2020, Ram Mandir Temple Trust head, Nritya Gopal Das, was one of the five persons present on the stage for Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan ceremony. He shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, UP governor Anandiben Patel and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
- A few days after the ceremony, on 13 August 2020, Mahant Das tested positive for COVID-19.
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