Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Decoding The Babri Demolition
More than twenty years have passed but the issue is far from getting over. In fact the issue at present is in middle of nowhere. A whole lot of people gathered for this mega event back then; they demolished the mosque; bombs went off in Mumbai after that which was duly followed up with a two-phase riot; lot of political mileage garnered out of the issue, either way; people found correlation between the rise in terror attacks in India with the demolition. In fact every bit that was not planned was achieved, except the promise of building a temple, let alone a grand one for Ramlalla.
As conveniently as it can be settled, our political class (I blame both Congress and BJP here) put the issue into a slow pressure cooker and forgot it at once after that. Even our courts took their own sweet time in coming up with their findings and judgment. By the time they (Allahabad high court) finally did deliver their judgment, we had more claimants for Ramlalla than lord Ram possibly ever thought about. Even this slow court journey to closer is anything but over. In all likelihood the issue might have to travel double the distance in our judicial system than it has travelled so far, before it can come anywhere near a closer. So in nutshell – the issue of Ram Janambhumi, in all probability is where it was couple of decades back.
But I am not here to discuss why on earth, such a sensitive issue pertaining to many sentiments is dragging itself for donkey’s year. That is how it was planned when the whole idea of building a Mandir at Ayodhya was conceived. Call it political compulsion or political foxing, the architects of the movement always wanted the issue to remain a disputed one. A closer to such bread-and-butter stuff doesn’t anyway help the political semantics of any party; BJP and Congress, both including. Both these parties connived, well in disguise of Hindutwa twenty years back and continue to do so even today since that is where individual party interest is. Both see benefits in keeping the whole issue murkier.
Before, I go forward, I have this clarification to make – though Congress never was a suo-moto player in Ram Janambhoomi dispute, being very well aware of their pseudo-secular credentials; they in fact were forcibly dragged in to the mess by an over aggressive RSS and BHP. After long study of Ram Janambhoomi movement, both pre and post the demolition, the conclusion that I land up at is – the nation is fooled big time by both of these national parties; and I will explain how.
To be honest, Lalkrishna Advani himself never thought the movement would take such a gigantic shape someday. The caravan that accumulated slowly but surely within two years was never expected to reach the numbers that it eventually did. A good year in to the movement, people in BJP, Advani and down were little apprehensive about their control over the agitation. People from nook-and-corners of the nation were joining the movement with a single point agenda; to demolish the mosque and build a Ram Mandir. Even the date of 6th December was decided after prolonged pressure from the likes of VHP and RSS, who were anything but camping at the disputed site for quite some time. People may disagree but the announcement of the D-Day must have come after a lot of solipsism as oppose to the belief that it was a spontaneous decision. Knowing Advani, I am sure; he would be the last person who wanted a closer to the Ram Janambhumi issue. It is because of the lakhs of people who were gathered at the site of their own and the growing impatience among the carders of RSS and VHP that forced BJP to stick to their original promise. Advani and team very well knew that the crowd has long gone beyond their control and in all likelihood would care next to naught even if they ask them to defer the decision of demolition to some other time. Even a hardcore RSS guy like Kalyan Singh at the state’s helm didn’t help Advani’s cause either. So to save their own face Advani and team were left with no option but to tow the lines of RSS and VHP; not that they had any other option though.
Now the question arises – what was Narashimha Rao doing all the while? Advani might have his compulsions but what happened to Narasimha Rao to remain a mute spectator whole through the episode. At a broad level, Narasimha Rao had two options; 1. Use all the force of the state to oppose any such demolition 2. Remain silent and look the other way as if nothing has happened or happening. Knowing how big friend of minorities the Congress party is, it was expected of Nrasimha Rao to go with the first option but to surprise everyone, including even himself he decided to go with option number 2. You may argue, being a Hindu, deep within somewhere he may have wished a Hindu temple there and I don’t dispute that thought process but his inaction is more to do with politics than his inner Hindu wishes, if any.
Narasimha Rao was a seasoned politician and if one closely marks the events of that period, one would find he proved that in case of Ram Janambhoomi agitation. Had he thought of using force to oppose the lakhs those were gathered, it would have boomeranged very badly. Other than the loss of many innocent lives in the process of strong-arm obstacle, Narasimha Rao may have achieved nothing, let alone saving Babri Mosque from getting to rubbles. The sheer number of the crowd would have made sure that the mosque gets demolished at any cost; whether being opposed in the process or given a freehand. Rao knew this bitter fact that all he can achieve by using force against the gathered crowd is make the crowd more aggrieved; in all probability, them taking this as an ego issue. A crowd which till now was all but bothered about demolishing Babri Mosque would have turned their anger on other mosques post the demolition. That was quite natural as people would have seen the opposition to build a Ram temple (that too at the birth place of Lord Ram) in a Hindu majority nation as a serious jolt to the Hindu sentiments. Little did Narasimha Rao wanted the crowd to disperse after demolishing Babri Mosque and gathering before another Mosque to demolish that as well. No wonder why Narasimha Rao allowed the demolition to go on without much opposition as he as the priminister could have ill-afforded any further Babri type agitations in every corner of the country. To some extent, I find this subtle decision of Narasimha Rao to go numb on the Karsevaks, a judicious one.
This non-opposed venture even was helpful for Advani since he had lost all his control over the gathering. More than Narasimha Rao, Advani was in some desperate need of a way out. Even to his liking, last thing Advani wanted the crowd to do was to go on a mission in demolishing every mosque in the country. That not only would have resulted in a civil war but also would have diverted the focus from the issues, basing upon which Advani wanted to establish BJP.
I won’t be surprised a bit if there was a closed-door meeting between bigwigs of both BJP and Congress to come up with a win-win game plan for both the parties. It could be something like: You demolish the Mosque -> We won’t oppose -> We will dissolve UP government for not sticking to core ethos of our constitution -> We both will merrily laugh our way to our party headquarters. Win-win because both Advani and Narasimha Rao has good amount of takeaways from this arrangement. While Advani would look like sticking to his promise, Narasimha Rao doesn’t become a lesser hero among the Hindus. And I am sure, how fractured Hindus may be, had their Hindu blood been spilled that day on the ground of Ayodhya, Congress would have been wiped out from our political scene for ever. Narasimha Rao took a long term vision, both for his own and his party’s far-fetched benefits and did what he thought best suits his party’s agendas. Ditto stands for Advani, even if that meant an aggrieved Kalyan Singh, who never was kept in the loop and only made aware of the bargain when home ministry chaps called him to confirm the unpleasant news of dissolving his government. I doubt if Kalyan Singh has till now made compromise with the equation which he himself many times secretly referred as back stabbing.