Babri Masjid demolition and nation building - The New Indian Express

Babri Masjid demolition and nation building

Published: 04th December 2012 11:44 PM

Last Updated: 04th December 2012 11:44 PM

On December 6, 1992, a superstructure called the Babri Masjid standing in the city of Ayodhya, came crashing down. It remains even today a traumatic event for the nation, because modern Indians not yet been weaned on a true history of India but on Macaulayian version view the destruction of the structure as criminal vandalism.

However, the real act of vandalism was the superstructure built on a hoary and existing temple, and the vandals came from abroad to  demolish the temple, and to build a mosque on the same spot.

Could the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992 have been avoided ?Two years earlier before the demolition, by a coincidence, on the same month and day, I had met representatives of the VHP and BJP at a house, next door to mine, on Mathura Road. The newly sworn in Prime Minister Chandrashekhar had asked me [I was then his newly sworn in senior most Cabinet Minister] as the new Union Law& Justice Minister, I should talk to them about withdrawing their proposed massive nation-wide stir slated to begin on December 9, 1990 for building a Ram temple at the site of the super-structure that had then stood in its gloomy glory. The Prime Minister told me to assure the VHP that our government would getthe Babri Masjid removed with the consent of Muslim leaders through discussions.

The VHP and the BJP leaders I met readily agreed to call off the stir since we were a new government, while the  decision to launch the stir was taken when V P Singh was PM.

Thereafter in January 1991 Chandrashekhar himself initiated the talks with the Muslim leaders. Unfortunately, despite the progress in the talks, our government did not last long enough to fructify it.

Had the government lasted for a year more, I am confident we would have amicably liberated the Ram Janmabhoomi for building a befitting Ram temple, and with the consent of the Muslim community, even though the government was in a minority in Parliament.

From my personal experience as a minister in a minority government, I can therefore say that lack of majority is no excuse for implementing any agenda, if the leadership had the mindset to get things done.

As a Minister of Law &Justice, for instance, I got the controversial Sessions Judge of Faizabad, K M Pandey made a High Court judge, despite the fact that the previous V P Singh’s “three-legged” government had issued orders on file that since Pandey had directed the locks on the so-called Babri Masjid be removed in 1986, he should never be made a High Court Judge.

Mulayam Singh was Chief Minister of UP, and thoroughly opposed to Pandey, but with firmness I however got his protests sufficiently moderated to him permitting me to go ahead. He cooperated because he knew I would do it anyway-- make Pandey a Judge of the High Court--and hence he acquiesced since he wanted other things done for him by me,.

The same clarity enabled the Chandrashekhar Government to get Saifuddin Soz’s kidnapped daughter freed without releasing any dreaded terrorists. There are methods for doing that mostly based on retaliation and not negotiation. In each such case, it is the mindset of those elected to high office that matters, not the size of the Parliamentary majority or the lack of it.

 It was this mindset that enabled the Chandrashekhar Government to nearly solve by an agreement the question of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The government, however, fell before it could be clinched.

But can a masjid be demolished in legally authorised way? The Supreme Court has held in the Faruqui vs Union of India case [(1994)6 SCC360], that a masjid is not an essential part of Islamic theology, and these can and have been be demolished for public good.

In Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and even in British undivided India, masjids and mosques have been demolished to build roads. Saudi Arabia even demolished the Bilal Masjid in Mecca where Prophet Muhammed used to read namaz, to build a palace for the Sheikhs.

Masjids, like churches, are not religious places in the sense a temple is--masjids and churches are places not of, but for worship, i.e., buildings which serve as facilitation centres for namaz and prayer. Namaz can be read anywhere, even on a railway platform. In USA, the VHP buys disused Churches and converts them into temples, and yet no Christian there objects.

But temples, once it is shown that prana prathista puja was performed to build it, is where God or the deity resides, and therefore a temple belongs to God forever.  As Union Law & Justice Minister in 1991, I got our government’s legal team to prove this to the satisfaction of the House of Lords in Britain, to bring back a Nataraja statue taken from a disused Thanjavur temple.

Of course, merely because of this fact about masjids and churches, no one in a democracy can take law into his own hands to demolish these masjids and churches. Nor will the Hindu public wait forever for justice.

But on the other hand, a government can remove in a legal and orderly way the masjids in Ayodhya, Kashi, and Brindavan,  in fact, in 300 other places, to rebuild the original temples under law. We can get the Muslims’ cooperation on this. I am confident of this.

Hindus should not therefore be defensive in the face of an onslaught by the fashionable secularists about removing mosques built on where temples had once stood.

Babri Masjid was built as an affront to the Hindus. Otherwise it could have been built anywhere else since namaz can be offered anywhere. Hindus can be proud to have prevailed in history because despite 800 years of Islamic and 200 years of Christian domination, Bharat today is still over 80 per cent of Hindus in population, and a continuing Hindu civilisation.

Hence, now we must resolve to rectify what is essential to rectify and reclaim. For that renaissance, restoration of the three holy sites in Ayodhya, Vrindavan, and Kashi is vital. For these three holy sites, we patriotic politicians must resolve: Come our way by saam or dhaam or go the highway by dand.

But it is easier said than done to expect that Indian politicians would do or die for it. As our present rudderless democracy’s drift, we are today in a “match-fixing mode” even in electoral contests. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK and the AIADMK are bitter enemies, but in most crucial constituencies,  match-fixing arrangements for money have been worked out for decades between Sasikala of the AIADMK and Arcot Veerasamy of the DMK, who are alter egos of their respective top leaders, and determined to keep out the Hindutva forces from Tamil Nadu.

The same match-fixing disease has spread to other parties nation-wide. We have to cure it before it completely debilitates and destroys our democracy as it has done in Banana Republics of Latin America such as Colombia and Peru. The reluctance today to confront and expose the anti-Hindu personages in Parliament, Academia and Media is because of this disease of “match-fixing”. It is said by the leaders in Parliament that such attacks would be “personal” and “counter productive”.

There is, however, nothing “personal” in such directed and organised attacks. Just as the world focused on Hitler or Mussolini, without thinking of it being personal, therefore we should identify and expose especially the person who has emerged as the fountain head of the anti-Hindutva campaign today.

But patriots cannot prevail in this struggle, if in our midst there are in the helm of affairs those suffering from the “Arjuna virus”. The late Swami Chinmayananda once pointed out, referring to Arjuna initially declining to fight at Kurukshetra because he could recognise his duty in the hour of crisis, as the Arjuna virus. The Babri Masjid legacy today is that virus.  We must cure it even if we have lost 65 years waffling in British imperialist induced self-doubt about our ancient history.

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