Ram Bhakt #1: Urmila Chaturvedi, 82, Has Waited 28 Years to Break Her Fast in Ayodhya

Social Commentary

Ram Bhakt #1: Urmila Chaturvedi, 82, Has Waited 28 Years to Break Her Fast in Ayodhya

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

The Ram Mandir foundation stone-laying ceremony took place in Ayodhya earlier today. While it was a special day for millions of devotees around the world, it was a momentous occasion for Urmila Chaturvedi, a resident of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, who would be breaking her fast after 28 years.

Urmila Chaturvedi, 82, had given up eating in 1992, when the disputed structure was demolished in Ayodhya. Upset by the violence, she had pledged that she would consume food only when the construction of the Ram mandir began. “I did not have a proper meal since the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992. I have only consumed fruits since then. Now, I want to go to Ayodhya to break the fast,” Urmila Chaturvedi said.

Chaturvedi has been surviving on fruits, curd, and milk for all these years. She would spend most of her time chanting prayers and reciting the Ramayana. She plans to go to Ayodhya with her family members after the bhoomi pujan ceremony and break her fast after taking a dip in the Sarayu river.

Her family members, who have been supportive of her through the years, want her to now regularise her meals. Her daughter-in-law Rekha said, “It has been 17-18 years that I came here. I have seen her only during this period. Earlier, she was completely self-dependent. She only consumed fruits and similar edibles. She was so full of energy. She never accepted any assistance from anyone for her daily chores. But, over the past three to four years, her body has grown weak.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan lauded her commitment and tweeted, “Lord Ram never disappoints his devotees whether she is mother Shabari of Treta Yuga or today’s mother Urmila! Mother, Blessed is your reverence! The whole Bharatvarsh (country) salutes you! Jai Siyaram!”

“I bow down in gratitude before this dedication and faith,” said a user on social media.

Sonam Mahajan also brought her story to light, and described it as, “Aastha, tyag and dharm.”

Urmila Chaturvedi’s wish is to spend the rest of her life in Ayodhya.