Sunday, October 3, 2010
By Ram Puniyani
Nation heaved a sigh of relief following the three judges delivering the verdict on Ayodhya case (30th Sptember 2010). There was no violence anywhere, something which was feared very much. The day passed off peacefully and the fear that violence will engulf parts of the country proved to be wrong, thanks to the maturity shown by large sections of population. As such the judgment was an exercise of sorts trying to do a balancing act, between all the parties involved, Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni wakf board. The title of the land has been divided into three each sharing one part. Also court has declared since Hindus believe the ‘birth place’ of Lord Ram to be below the place where the central dome of the mosque stood, that place should be allotted to Hindus. In response RSS chief in a jubilant mood proclaimed that now the path for a grand Ram temple has been opened at the site and all the parties should cooperate in this “national” work.
As Mulayam Singh Yadav has correctly put it, the Muslim community is feeling betrayed. First their mosque is entered into by miscreants who install the Ram Lalla idols there. Then in a well orchestrated assault RSS combine demolishes the Mosque and now the court operates on the RSS theory that Lord Ram was born at that spot. It seems if matters go the way they are going there is no need for scientific disciplines of History, Archeology and others as a section of political force can gradually build up the faith, act upon that and then the court will legitimize the criminal acts in the name of faith of a section of society. The law of the land will come to such a pass is beyond the imagination of those who wish to adhere to the values of freedom movement and the Constitution of India.
Just to recall RSS combine, more popularly known as Sangh Parivar, picked up the issue of Ram Temple in Ayodhya in the decade of 1980s and later orchestrated the faith of section of Hindus that Lord Ram was born precisely at the spot where the mosque is located. Interestingly the trend of Lord Ram being regarded as the core deity of Hindu religion came up in the medieval times, more particularly after Goswami Tulsi Das wrote the story of Lord Ram in the popular Awadhi language. Till that time Valmiki’s Sanskrit Ramayana was the major one prevalent in the society and being the language of elite, worship of Lord Ram was restricted to a section of Hindus. Tulsidas was pulled up by the Brahmins for his writing the story of Ram in Lok Bhasha, Avadhi, as Brahmins were supposed to be using Dev Bhasha; Sanskrit only. Tulsi Das was around thirty years old when it is claimed that the Ram Temple was demolished. The demolition claim is unlikely to be true as had such a demolition taken place Tulsidas must have mentioned this in his writings. As such the later interpretations of Ram have been so different for different people.
One understands that Kings had been ruling for the sake of power and wealth and victor kings many a times destroyed the defeated king’s holy place to humiliate the defeated king. The British introduced communal historiography aiming to pursue the policy of ‘divide and rule’ propagated that Muslim Kings destroyed Hindu temples to insult Hindu religion. This type of Historiography spread hatred amongst communities and became the foundation on which the communal violence started taking place in due course. As such Babri Mosque was a protected monument, under the custody of Government of India. Government failed to get the illegally installed Ram Lalla idols removed from the site and also failed to protect the mosque form the onslaught of RSS combines’ attack on the mosque in 1992. So de facto, with this judgment the RSS agenda of dividing the nation along communal lines is being legitimized by ignoring the fact of installation of idols and by turning a blind eye to the Babri demolition, coordinated by different wings of RSS combine. The crimes done by this stream have been richly rewarded by this verdict!
Now RSS and its progeny is taking the line that Muslims should hand over the land of their share to RSS front, to see that the aspirations of ‘Nation’ are fulfilled and a grand Ram Temple is built there. It is not only Hindus who constitute the nation. All the Hindus of the nation do not hold any such belief about the birth place of Lord Ram. All the Hindus do not want a Ram Temple there. As such majority of Hindus have kept aloof from this issue, many of them have looked with horror and disbelief the way the faith of people has been manipulated to catapult BJP to the seat of political power. Since the issue was highlighted and brought to the electoral arena; Hindu majority have never voted for the agenda of Ram temple. No doubt a section of Hindus has been won over to the Ram temple agenda; the majority of Hindus have not approved it as the results of elections show. The latest surveys also confirm that it is not an issue for most of the Hindus, but is an issue only for a handful of Hindus. Moreover the younger generation does not have anything to do with these types of identity related issues and that too imposed upon the nation through criminal means, the crime of installing Ram Lalla idols and the crime of demolishing the Babri Mosque.
Congress is calling for a negotiated settlement. What can be a negotiated settlement? One; it has to be based on justice, recognizing the due rights of each party involved and there has to a spirit of give and take. Do those calling for compromise will promise that the matters related to equity and security of Muslim community be granted? The Muslim community has been sliding down on the scales of social and economic indices. Will Sachar Committee- Rangnath Misra Committee reports be implemented in right earnest? Will RSS support such a ‘give’? Will Muslim community be able to live in security hereafter? India has 13.4% of Muslms in the population. In the communal violence, more than 80% of victims are Muslims! Will RSS withdraw the ‘Hate spreading books’ from its Shishu Mandirs? Will its Shakhas stop doing the ‘Hate Propaganda’ against the minorities?
For a moment one feels like supporting a compromise formula. Sure and that’s a good thing. One may be willing to talk of give and take, negotiation if the battered Muslim minority and also Christians are promised equal status as citizens, the baseless propaganda against them is held back, and the Congress takes it upon itself to fulfill the promise of Manmohan Singh that Muslim minorities have the first right to development resources as they have been left behind due to the social-economic discrimination and due to the politically motivated violence against them. Will all the guilty of communal violence be punished? Those behind Delhi anti Sikh massacre, Mumbai violence and Gujarat violence are roaming with their bloated chests; can they be brought to book before a negotiated settlement is talked about? In a way can we trust the state for abiding by the rule of law to protect its citizens before demands of sacrifice from them are articulated?
One can very well say that the very politics of Communalism is using Ram Temple issue to violate the Indian Constitution and the amity amongst the communities. One can appeal to the minority communities to make some sacrifices but one knows that they will get nothing in return. The way communalism has seeped into the very vitals of our society and polity it has created situations where minorities are being treated as ‘second class citizens’. The dominating ‘Religion based nationalism’, the politics of Hindutva with the agenda of Hindu Rashtra, will not let them live in peace and dignity. For RSS combine the matters of bread butter and shelter are secondary and imaginary constructs culled out from mythology form the base of their identity politics, the politics of Ram Temple, Ram Setu, Cow slaughter ban and what have you. We are in a catch 22 situation. The communalization of polity and society is so much that now faith, systematically constructed by a section of political stream is becoming the basis of law. As noted Film maker Anand Patwardhan pointed out on the day of Ayodhya verdict, it is ‘Victory of Hindu Sharia: A sad day for India’. One hopes the younger generation, and all those believing in the Indian constitution will try to move on from the identity politics, politics which abuses faith for short cuts to power and paves the way for a sane society concerned about the human justice, and affirmative action for weaker sections of society.