Myth and Reality about Ayodhya

Sitaram Yechury

The alacrity with which some eminent columnists of the national press have risen in defence of the atrocious events of Ayodhya on December 6 is, to say the least, outrageous. They make a ludicrous attempt to provide an intellectually dishonest defence to the politically belligerent and self justificatory postures being taken by the saffron brigade following the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is, of course, their prerogative to be the advocates of fascistic pseudo-Hinduism. But they warrant attention because they reflect the essence of the BJP-RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal combine’s thinking. The saffron brigade think tank, in the true tradition of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Goebbel of “telling a big enough lie frequently enough, becomes the truth” continues to perpetuate myths in defence of its despicable crime.

Myth I: That what was demolished was not a mosque.

Echoing Advani, Girilal Jain contemptuously states, ” as if darkness had descended on the land just because one miserable structure which was neither a mosque nor a temple has been demolished”.

That the Babri Masjid was physically in existence for over four and a half centuries is sought to be erased. That the dispute started in 1949 when idols were surreptitiously placed is deliberately ignored. We are asked why all this fuss about a decript structure. That this structure came to symbolize Indian ethos because its status, based on our accepted secular Constitution, was subject to courts jurisdiction; that the highest court had ordered its protection till the case was disposed of; that the leaders of the Saffron brigade assured the courts and the country of their adherence to it; that they deliberately and wantonly destroyed the Babri Masjid in defiance of the courts, law and their own assurance, is of course of no concern to them. Their deceit, perfidy and total contempt for the law of the land cannot be concealed.

Myth II: That the “Hindu sentiments”, so enraged, pulled down the mosque, in exasperation.

At the outset, it must be emphasised that India is a secular state precisely because the predominant majority of Hindus embraced secularism rejecting the RSS concept of Hindu Rashtra. They rejected it as an attempt to take India into medieval times as a religious theocratic state which is the very anti-thesis of a democratic polity. The majority of Hindus through the freedom struggle embraced values which found manifestations in our present Constitution. It is precisely these values that the Saffron brigade has demolished by their wanton destruction on December 6. In the process they have not championed the “Hindu sentiments” but demolished the entire product of generations of secular Hindus. By hiding behind the veil of “Hindu sentiments” the saffron brigade is actually reiterating the basis of the Hindu Rashtra that was frighteningly outlined by the late RSS chief, Golwalkar, with fascistic precision. In a book titled “We or Our Nationhood Defined”, Golwalkar bemoaned the fact that Hindus have forgotten their nationhood and calls upon them to rise to defend their nation. He states:

“Only those movements are truly national as aim at rebuilding, revitalising and emancipating from its present stupor, the Hindu nation. Those only are nationalist patriots who, with the aspirations to glorify the Hindu race and nation next to their heart, are prompted into and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the national cause, or to take a charitable view, idiots.”

And as for those who are not Hindus but who have contributed to the development of their country and continue to live here, Golwalkar has this to say: “They have no place in national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the nation, and completely merge themselves in the national race. So long however as they maintain their racial, religious and cultural differences, they cannot but be only foreigners.”

Further, “The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea except the glorification of the Hindu religion and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or they may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment- not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation, let us deal as old nations ought to deal with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country”.

And how should one deal with such `foreign races’? Golwalkar exposes the fascistic nature of the Saffron brigade.

“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the semitic race – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the roots, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”.

This is the meaning of the saffron brigade’s invocation of the “Hindu sentiment”. This runs contrary to the vast diversity and majority of the Hindu opinion which has been guided more by Vivekananda and Adi Sankara than by Golwalkar or the present day self incarnations of the saffron brigade. While Adi Sankara was to constantly preach that as different rivers flow through different courses to merge in the same ocean, so do different individuals through different faiths merge with the same almighty. Vivekananda had said, “if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of others, I pity him on the bottom of my heart and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written,

in spite of resistance; help and not fight, harmony and peace and not dissension.”

The Saffron brigade’s Hindu Rashtra is in total contradiction with such wisdom.

The so-called enraged “Hindu sentiments” is nothing but a fascistic expression of pseudo-Hinduism. It is an expression of how religion is utilised for partisan political interests. It is an expression of how inflammatory communal propaganda can wreak havoc with the democratic secular polity of present day India.

Myth III: Temples have been destroyed in the past and even today in Islamic countries. So what is wrong in our destroying a masjid?

The saffron brigade tries to justify its vandalism by pointing out to the desecration of temples in the past and that is taking place in Muslim countries today. As far as the past is concerned, must the present generation be made to atone for those substantiated or unsubstantiated events? If the process of undoing historical wrongs is unleashed then there are no limits that can be set for going back into history. The son cannot be punished for father’s crime, leave alone crimes committed by generations ago even when charges can be substantiated. Further, when some in India adopt such an attitude can they fault other countries? The desecration of temples in Muslim countries today needs to be outrightly condemned. This however cannot provide justification for similar action here. Amazingly, while the Islamic Pakistani government promises to repair damaged temples, the saffron brigade denounces any attempt to reconstruct the Babri Masjid. They have thus absolved themselves of any commitment to democracy, secularism or any values of modern civilisation.

Myth IV: Leaders could not contain the enraged mobs!

Notwithstanding the crocodile tears shed by the BJP leaders it is now clear that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was the result of a pre-planned effort. It has now come to light that the entire destruction was rehearsed and meticulously pre-planned. (Statesman, December 10)
It is precisely for this reason that no media person, particularly photographers, were allowed to document the destruction and were physically assaulted and hounded out of the area. Strangely, the big brothers of the press, like Girilal Jain and Arun Shourie, have no word of condemnation for such unprecedented fascistic attack on the press.

That the BJP leadership was caught unawares by the demolition is yet exposed if one carefully studies the statements made by the BJP leaders especially Mr. Advani during the week preceding December 6. (See Box). Hence all arguments like Mr. Shourie puts forward of wanting to demarcate between the hard-liners and the soft-liners within the Saffron brigade are a deliberate exercise to mislead the people. It is the characteristic of a fascistic organisation that different leaders speak in different tones. This is what precisely the Saffron brigade has done. Their intention, all along, was clear – the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Myth V: That all this happened due to the procrastination of the courts.

The fact that all assurances to the courts by the Saffron brigade leaders including Kalyan Singh and Vijaye Raje Scindia were violated and the constant refrain of `courts cannot decide on matters of faith’ have thoroughly exposed their contempt for the judiciary. According to them judiciary was acceptable as long as it upheld their view. In a democratic polity, any dispute between two faiths can be resolved either through a mutually negotiated settlement or a judicial intervention and verdict. The Saffron brigade all along rejected such reason, fearing rejection of their bigotry. The now delivered judgement of Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court annulling Kalyan Singh Government’s acquisition of the disputed land has only vindicated this. Their position always was that if courts upheld their position then it was acceptable, otherwise, no.

Myth VI: That all this happened due to the intransigence of the Muslims.

We are told that Muslims should have gracefully accepted the Saffron brigade’s diktat and voluntarily abdicat the claims on Babri Masjid, in which case, none of this would have happened. Indeed strange. The minority should succumb to the unreasonableness of the majority only because of the strength of the majority! In any case, this was not for the Saffron brigade an isolated issue but a beginning of a campaign to continue this inflammatory communal propaganda for the destruction of the mosques both in Varanasi and Mathura. This was elequently witnessed by the belligerence of the BJP MP’s slogans in the Parliament on 8th and 9th of December.

Myth VII: All this happened due to the incompetence and inept attitude of the Central Government!

Very true! If the Government had acted in time and on the basis of the suggestions made by the CPI(M) and the left, then such a serious situation could have been averted. The Government had actually abdicated its political responsibility and relied on the private assurances of the leaders of the Saffron brigade. For this criminal ineptitude, the CPI(M) had demanded that PV Narasimha Rao has no moral right to continue as the Prime Minister. The Saffron brigade, however, blames the Government not for this, but, for not accepting their terms! The incompetence of the present Congress(I) government, its ineptitude bordering on complacency and criminal negligence of its duties cannot absolve the Saffron brigade from the damage which has been done to our social fabric and polity.

The reality is that what we are challenged with is a force that is out to destroy the entire premise of a modern secular, democratic India. To this effect, in pursuance of their political ambition they have no scruples in stooping to the worst possible crimes. Thousands who continue to die in the aftermath of December 6 and thousands who died since this inflammatory campaign was unleashed in mid 80s are all sacrifices being made at the altar of the fascistic pseudo Hindu attempt to capture political power. It is this that has to be completely unmasked. It is this challenge has to be faced squarely. The incompetence of the present Congress(I) government, its ineptitude bordering complicity and criminal negligence of its duties cannot absolve the Saffron brigade from the damage which has been done to our social fabric and polity.

Two years ago, through these columns we had warned about the impending dangers by such forces. (December 2,1990). In today’s context this merits repetition.

“Unless this challenge is unitedly combated, unless the communal frenzy is challenged with an equal vigour, the very future of India for whose freedom thousands have been martyred is at stake. All patriots, who have not sold their conscience to the enemies of our country, realising these dangers, will have to forge strong unity in action against this communal monster.

“To those who underestimate the dangers of the present situation we can only remind them of what a German intellectual Pastor Neimoeller had said at the time of Nazi ascendancy:

” First they came for the jews
and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
then I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Catholics
and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Catholic.
Then they came for me –
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

“To those who consider that these developments do not affect their life and future we can only recall to them the wisdom that has filtered down through the ages. “For evil to succeed, the good has only to be silent.” Passivity in meeting this challenge can only mean peril for the individual and the country.”