The people of Ayodhya would like to forget
the tragic events of December 6, 1992, which struck at the
root of the secular principle of our Constitution. But the
rest of the nation seems to be in no hurry to do so. Nothing
can be more absurd than observing the anniversary of an
event in one form or the other that should have been allowed
to lie low.
While the Muslims have been faithfully observing "black
day" on December 6, the VHP and its cohorts have
been celebrating it as "victory day".
Such a trend does not portend well for the country. Most
Indians do not approve of it, yet not enough protesting
voices are heard. For the last one decade, speculations
get rife as December approaches. The administration and
the intelligence agencies, whose job is to gather information
discreetly to thwart any attempt to create trouble, go
public in airing their concerns and their views on how
elaborate is the bandobast. This makes a good news story.
And a matter that should have been given a quiet burial
is resurrected by the Government agencies themselves.
TV coverage and a replay of the past footage only serves
to heighten social anxiety.
No doubt the Muslims carry the scar of the demolition.
By and large they have come to realise that the best solution
is the legal course. They are willing to accept the court
verdict. In their heart they know that the place where
the mosque once stood, would remain a mosque. Its status
cannot be altered and neither can that piece of land be
gifted away. That is their belief. They also know that
the remedy lies within legal and constitutional means.
They cannot take the law in their own hands, despite the
rhetoric of some leaders. Their faith requires them to
abide by the law of the land.
The Urdu press is where the Muslims' views are aired comparatively
freely. There is a general perception among them that the
issues related to Muslims and their views do not find place
in the country's English newspapers. Therefore, one has
to feel the pulse of the community only through the Urdu
It was interesting to read two articles in Urdu Rashtriya
Sahara (December 12) to mark the anniversary of the demolition
of the Babri Masjid. The authors were well-known people,
and of course Muslims. One was a cleric and the other
an established journalist. The journalist leaps into history
back and forth to remind the Muslims of their glorious
past asking them to ponder what has relegated them from
the position of being the "rulers" to the "ruled".
He also asks them why the Indian Muslim is so helpless
as to be a mute spectator when his place of worship is
demolished. Then he wonders how the backward Hindus have
marched ahead of the Muslims in every field after 1947.
The crowning glory is when he reminds his readers that
no "living community" ever forgets the assault
on its identity. One has rarely come across such outlandish
claims in print before. In his eagerness to not let go
of a subject so topical, he has got totally carried away,
paying scant regard to history, sensibility and above
all the present day reality. In a democracy, living in
this century, if one talks of being ruled in the idiom
of the past, it shows intellectual bankruptcy.
In one place he goes on to say that Muslims should be
strong enough within themselves so that no one dares cast
an evil eye on them. It was difficult to understand what
the writer was driving at, when he delivered the googly
in the next sentence. He said this would be possible only
through modern education and farsightedness. With these
two weapons, Muslims will be able to face the challenge
of the present world and will be able to ward off possible
events like December 6. He does not elaborate how that
The second article by a maulana is very balanced. He
has things to say to the present Government and to the
anti-Muslim forces. But his advice to the community is
very sound. In his view the expression of Muslim anguish
should be through peaceful means. According to him, protest
does not mean confrontation or retaliation. The bottom
line is to remind the Government that the community feels
wronged and it seeks justice. But his most emphatic advice,
which may not go down well with those politically inclined,
is that the Muslims should remain patient and take recourse
to supplications in the face of such adversities.
The fact is there are groups with vested interest that
would like to keep the issue alive for their motives.
And the Muslims would be doing their bidding if they keep
stoking the embers of Ayodhya with their rhetorics.