The Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir episode of 1992 is one of the most significant example of Hindu-Muslim tensions in India in recent times the wounds of which have not healed yet.
That happened while was still in the confused state. My thoughts at the time were: agreed there was a temple at the site which was destroyed by Muslim invaders. So what? Don’t the political parties ought to focus on much more real and immediate issues of poverty and development first? In other words, I was against the movement for constructing a Ram Mandir after demolishing the Babri masjid. This incident greatly contributed to my disillusionment with politics and alienation from Hinduism.
But I am not confused now and my thinking on this matter has evolved. The importance of Ramayan for a Hindu is immense. It holds not just spiritual value, but, over the ages, it has seeped into popular culture of Hindus throughout the world, not just in India. Regardless of whether Ramayan is history or mythology, the evidence for Ayodhya holding a special and revered status for Hindus continuously since BCE is very strong. As such it is only befitting to have a Hindu temple at the Babri masjid site, and not a mosque.
That said, I am still against the construction of the Ram Mandir. The reason is the politics around this issue today. Those opposing the temple are driven not by facts, reason and mutual respect, but by hinduphobia as defined by RM in this lecture. And I suspect that a significant fraction of the people supporting the Ram Mandir are being politically opportunistic or naively reactionary; they are not motivated by dharma.
By the way, it is not just Indian political parties which have been opportunistic in this respect. Sheldon Pollock has dedicated a good part of his career to distorting Ramayan and has contributed to the polarization around the Babri Masjid incident. Needless to say, Pollock is not the only ‘intellectual’ in this category.
In summary, I would keep Ram Mandir on the back burner for now and focus on plenty of other non-controversial projects for strengthening Hinduism. For instance, the India Pride Project to repatriate stolen temple artifacts; a translation project of the scale of Murty Classical Library of India but run by insiders (e.g. Vande Matram library); digitization of Indian texts; massive investment into original research and dissemination of authentic information; repealing the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Act 1951; renovation and maintenance of numerous legitimate temples; fix Indian school textbooks and those in the West; etc, etc.
Even after all this has been done and India has transformed into a fully developed nation, the right time to build the temple would be when the Indian Muslims invite the Hindus to do so! This may seem ridiculous today, but I believe it is completely feasible if as a nation we adopt the Dharmic framework where the different religions view each other with a genuine sense of mutual respect.