After replacing Babri Masjid with Ram temple, can the Hindus of BJP claim to be the owners of India?

Published: June 7, 2017
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Hindu fundamentalists celebrate atop the 16th century Babri Masjid (mosque) 06 December 1992 at a disputed holy site in this city. The mosque was reduced to rubble after thousands of fundamentalists attacked it with pickaxes, hammers, and swords. PHOTO: DOUGLAS E CURRAN/AFP

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to national consciousness through the Babri Masjid agitation in the 80s and 90s. Through this movement, it laid the foundation for majoritarian politics in India. The victory of the BJP in 2014, where it got a majority in the parliament for the first time in the history of independent India, is the fructification of the campaign that started in the late 80s.

The Hindu right-wing party wants to build a temple on the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. They claim it was built by the Mughal ruler Babur in the early 16th century on the place which is supposed to be the birthplace of the Hindu God, Ram.

Ayodhya and Ram are ingrained in the Hindu psyche. By dragging Ram into the political arena, the BJP managed to mobilise Hindu masses and that led to the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992. This happened despite the assurances given to the court by the leaders of the Hindu right-wing party. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee admitted that it was a mistake.

Several senior leaders of the BJP were present at the site when the demolition took place. Present Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an active organiser of the campaign for the Ram temple in 1990. He travelled with senior leader Lal Krishna Advani, mobilising and inciting masses to join the campaign for Ram temple.

After 24 years, the Lucknow High Court charged Advani, Central Minister Uma Bharti and former Minister Murli Manohar Joshi with criminal conspiracy for the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. The court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the chief investigating agency, to wrap up the case within two years.

Not many have any interest in what happens to the aging leaders of the BJP. At the same time, not many are optimistic about the court coming out with any verdict on the merit of the case or whether the temple existed at the place where the Babri Masjid was built. No one is sure whether the court will hold anyone accountable for the loss of hundreds of lives during the Ram temple campaign in the 80s and 90s.

Though the temple is not still built at Ayodhya, the BJP, however, succeeded in its political mission. The party has an overarching presence in major parts of the country. It has managed to alter the political ethos of India and created majoritarian politics, which was not imaginable till few years ago.

Those who understand politics can tell you that the BJP and its patron Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) project is not just to replace a mosque with a temple, but to convert secular India into a Hindu nation. Their campaign is not against a temple but the whole Islamic and non-Hindu history of India.

We should not delude ourselves over whether the BJP will stop talking about the temple or divisive politics once Ram’s temple is built at the site of the mosque.

The last three years of the BJP regime are ample proof that the party’s agenda is to hinduise India and undermine social, cultural and religious diversity. The ban on beef eating shows how the party wants to thrive by polarising the society. It is formulating a stringent law for those who slaughter cows and cattle but does not react when a mob kills someone just on the mere allegation of having beef at home.

The temple agitation created a mob frenzy that claimed not only the mosque, but also many innocent lives. Nothing happened to those who committed the crime. This pattern is continued till date.

India is now in the hands of those who always stood against the idea of India as a secular and multicultural nation. It is now ruled by the party and the ideology which always thrived on polarisation, sectarianism and extremism. After independence, the nation building process involved taking everyone along and trying to forge inter-cultural and inter-religious bonding. This in turn made India a strong democratic and secular nation.

Now a new narrative has taken over. India has never been overwhelmed by such aggressive Hindu agenda as it is now witnessing. The temple agitation has radicalised the majority community in India.

The court can decide the entitlement of the disputed site, but the question here is not about the ownership of the land, it is about the question of the ownership of India. The larger issue is, can the Hindus of BJP claim to be the owners of India? No. They represent the worst of what India can imagine itself to be.

It is the idea of India which is at stake. If we fail now, we will be staring at a future which is full of social and religious conflicts.

India is at a dangerous cross road.

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rahul

    So this unfortunate incident happened in 1992. I recently went to Ayodhya and there is a Mosque and a Temple side by side and Hindus and Muslims pray in their respective places of worship. Move on Sanjay Kumar because everybody else has.Recommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com/ 2#

    Very true analysis. its the deep rooted hindu culture which is a hex in social development and progress of relational development with neighbouring countries. this is the cause that many in india want her to become regional super power.
    Recommend

  • Anaya

    Dear Author,
    So according to you, by decimating the Ram Mandir and building a mosque over it, the Muslims had claimed India as a Muslim country?Recommend

  • Sonali

    The fact that the leftists are getting exposed day by day is causing all the unrest in the minds of so called intellectuals. Please don’t worry about India, it will survive, however this time it won’t be at the cost of Hinduism.Recommend

  • LS

    I have rarely seen countrymen of any country who constantly work against the country. Secularism is NOT just the responsibility of Hindus. It is responsibility of every Indian. Thus, if a temple was destroyed and a Masjid was built on top then what is the issue if the Masjid gets destroyed and a temple is built on top? Why is that Hindus have to relent and give space to marauders folly? Moreover this is not the only example there were thousands of such monuments including qutub Minar… that was built using destroyed monuments.

    In 2016 – There were 103 small or large riots (in westbengal alone) – EACH ONE of them were instigated and started by Muslims. Including Dhaulgarh riots (Muslims threw bombs on Hindu households after giving them 2 minutes to flee) or Kalichak riots. Recommend

  • wb

    Let me ask you a reasonable question against your stupid question. And if you’re any more intelligent than I think you are, you’ll understand.

    Äfter writing this hate-Modi blog, do you expect to claim to be a genuine candidate for the ceremonial post of the President of Pakistan?

    Again, like I said, if you’re any more intelligent than I credit (or rather discredit) you for, you’ll understand my question and stop talking.Recommend

  • Kitchen Sink

    WE have witnessed India in the hands of people like you who keep appeasing muslims for no rhyme or reason. If democracy is the will of the people, why don’t you think it is the will of the people to ban beef? No matter what decision a government takes, there is bound to be some opposition. As long as the decision is not immoral and yet the majority approve, it is fine. I have never heard you say Islam spread in India using sword. Ain’t it true? We were peaceful people until Some of these people started invading India and loot and convert. Why don’t you talk about it?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Just a thought…….possibly its time India changed its name to Hindustan. It would correctly reflect the mood in the country and possibly would be a good thing. It would eliminate the uncertainty of ‘ sitting on the fence ‘.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    The issue is the timing. Babri Masjid was built during a time of conquest by an invading army claiming to be motivated by religion. The first Mughal emperor Babar did not claim to be secular. The Indian government does.

    One would expect a modern secular state to act differently than a medieval, religious conqueror.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    The muslim army and conquering king (Babar?) would have claimed it. Such a claim doesn’t extend to all the muslims of India that played no part in it. Certainly doesn’t extend to Muslims living in India today who would prefer secularism.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    So it is the same everywhere. Rising religious fanaticism all over the world.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    ” Their campaign is not against a temple but the whole Islamic and non-Hindu history of India.”

    Correction please, it should be Islamic and non Santhan Dharm history of India, we the Hindus cannot imagine an India without Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.

    “This in turn made India a strong democratic and secular nation.”

    If India was indeed secular, would the Hindus have become radical as you claim. It was not a secular India but an India where Hindus could be mocked by anybody and Hindus would not react because they belonged to castes more than faith.

    “The temple agitation has radicalised the majority community in India.”

    I agree and it is the need of the Hour. Look at the Europeans, they are living in the same denials that India did for as long as the Gandhi family ruled which is to believe Muslims believe in secularism, Europe is suffering badly with much lesser Muslim population than India. The Hindus need to be radical enough to take on the Muslim radicalism.

    “The larger issue is, can the Hindus of BJP claim to be the owners of India? No. They represent the worst of what India can imagine itself to be.”

    Who gets to decide that, the Leftist or the Gandhis?

    “It is the idea of India which is at stake. If we fail now, we will be staring at a future which is full of social and religious conflicts.”

    You seem to be finding your countrymen among Pakistanis. Good Job. Keep it up.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    It should never have been India in the first place. It is Hindustan indeed just to ensure the inhabitants of this land knew whom does this land belong to.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “The muslim army and conquering king (Babar?) would have claimed it. Such a claim doesn’t extend to all the muslims of India that played no part in it. ”

    I have never heard a single Muslim saying Babar was cruel. I have seen Muslims celebrating Babar and Aurangjeb both.

    “Certainly doesn’t extend to Muslims living in India today who would prefer secularism.”

    Muslims do not believe in secularism in any of the Muslim majority countries but they do in India, how am I, a Hindu supposed to believe this? Secular India suits Muslims and therefore they pretend to believe in secularism. Pakistan and Kashmir are the best examples of the belief of the subcontinental Muslims in secularism.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Not true, some are resorting to violence to avoid being at the receiving end of a very violent belief system.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “The first Mughal emperor Babar did not claim to be secular. The Indian government does.”

    Ahmar give us some time and we would ensure we are no longer secular. What’s the point of being secular at the cost of hurting the sentiments of the majority.Recommend

  • Parvez

    So how was it named India ? and why has it remained so for so long ?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well see, er…as everyone can see it,…hmm… these secular concepts
    are very hard to rationalize, by the average, hardly literate Hindustani.
    Perceptual skills are non existent. And lately, in general it is Mob Mentality
    There is Cognitive Disonance in the Bharati national stream of conscience.
    This has to do with attitudes, specially relating to behavioral decision making. Simply put, attitude changes.
    Destroying a mosque from antiquity. Does it changes reality? History? Or
    proves anything? The fact remains, hindus were ruled by invaders for 1000’s
    of years. A handful of Muslims had Hindustan in their iron grip. For ages.
    This is more so, especially since Modi Sarkar alighted on the Delhi Throne,
    with his two million fake, impossible to deliver promises, he made to the poor masses. A specialist hate monger. He has a Ph.D in Anger and Hate.
    The Great Mahatma visualized a Great Society. a truly secular country, living
    peacefully with itself. But it was never to be. With 3,600 languages, a regressive Caste System, and untold regional, ethnic, sectarian loyalties,
    Perhaps Gandhiji had lofty dreams, he was dealing with 40 Hindustans,
    crammed on the Sub Continent peninsula.Recommend

  • Patwari

    There you have it ! The ranting
    gibberish has achieved new heights.
    Hopefully, the patron saint watching over hindu mullahs,
    yogis, devadasis and sadhus known as the Butcher of Gujrat,
    ne Do No Wrong Modi ne Jashodeben Chimenlal’s husband
    ne Modi Sarkar must be gloating at his favorite foot soldier “wb”
    May Lord Ganesha shower his benedictions on all the hindus.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You don’t have to believe in anything. Ya’ll have
    5,000 years of baggage riding on your shoulders
    and psyches. That’s traumatic. Need another 70 years
    of intense therapy to function normally. Doubt it though.
    Just be glad that you have access to a toilet, near you.
    No walking five miles, or using the fields or parks.
    May Lord Hanuman watch over ya’llRecommend

  • Patwari

    Nope. Dead wrong as usual. But that’s typical for a cyber warrior
    of Hindu Desh. Your Modi Sarkar has NOT moved on. Therefore,
    the severe tensions that exists between the Muslims of Hinduland
    and their extremist new masters. Known as the Gang of Five.
    Modi Sarkar, RSS, Shiv Sena, Amit Shah, and BJP.
    Ooops! Forgot Sadhvi Prachi, Yogi Adityanath and all the celibate
    peacocks of Bharat !!Recommend

  • Patwari

    But,..but,..er,…hmm,…well, see there was never a whole entity/country
    that existed as “India”. Sorry to sink your felucca or kishti or dhow.
    There were 40 to 60 [perhaps more] princely states. Each a separate
    nation. in the South Asian region/peninsula known as Hindustan.
    [The majority religion of this vast area was Hinduism, obviously]
    The name Hindustan was coined by the Muslim conquerors.
    Each kingdom was ruled by a rajah, maharajah, thakur etc.
    Some were satrapies, granted by the Muslims. That’s when the
    Nawabs and Walis started
    Now “Bharat” was/is the true blue hindu moniker of India.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    congratulations!!!Recommend

  • Rajiv

    It will be done.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Muslims living in India today who would prefer secularism.

    that is a joke.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    We Hindus run the country , we own the country.
    Muslims are just aliens living here.And they will be dealt accordingly.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/hyderabad-as-i-know-and-feel.html Supriya Arcot

    Indus Valley civilisation flourished near the very fertile river Sindh / Indus . Sindu / Hindu/ Indus / Sindustan / Hindustan India are similar sounding . .The Greeks could not utter the word Sindhu so it became Hindu . The present day Hindi is variations of Sindhi language .Recommend

  • Patwari

    Agree. It is part of the fabric of how the name came about.
    The Persians of antiquity, called the area south of great River Indus [Sindhu in antiquity] as Hidushan. A mispronouncement.
    The British added to the whole goulash. As they mispronounced
    too. To an extent. And made it India, Adding to the Greeks.
    Here is another twist, Christopher Columbus, started on his
    voyage in 1492 to reach “India”…as everyone knows he dubbed
    the Native Americans as “Indians”. At least we can say the name “India” was well established, as far back as 1492 and
    beyond !Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Secularism is where state does not impose Religious laws. There is no such thing happening here. A historical injustice has been fixed.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs are living peaceful all over the world. You should mix politics in India with Religion.
    Nobody is scared if I say “Hare Krishna”, in any part of the world. Islamophobia is present all over the world. There is no Hinduphobia or Buddhaphobia.
    Lets not generalize shall we?Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Patwari….knowing you for as long as I do, I did not bother reading your comment. Good to see you are still active. Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    It does not matter what we are today, what matters is what will be.

    It is important for any identity to assert itself and do so if required with a certain degree of force to be able to survive.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Patwari, if there is something one can learn from you, it would be “believing in ones self”Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQ

    They must destroy the Taj Mahal and build another Ram temple on it also……….Recommend

  • Anaya

    Then how does the author claim that Hindus are claiming India as a Hindu country by your logic?Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    You see it’s not just India, Muslims are being chased like rabid dogs every where. Reason? They are plague. Where ever they grow in sizeable number, they are toxic to the environment. They are specially destructive in the free society environment. No wonder they are kept in control by likes of House of Saud, Khumeinis, Gaddfis, Saddams, Erdogans , Zia Ul Haqs etc. If left free to breed, they go faster than rabbits and cause huge damage to surroundings. Thats why right now a population control program for Muslims is going all across the world.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    India is secular because of Hindus. Name one “secular” country with Muslims in majority.Recommend

  • Mian

    True….. all the atrocities cannot be levelled… or equalized..or compensated…. imagine….. the marauding army of caliphs who lootd and destroyed Persian… Well…. Somnath was one such temple that was deeply damaged by Md.Ghazni and Ghori and later by Aurangzeb….IT was rebuilt in 1948….. So can any location considred very sacred…

    But certain core temples which has religious, social , cultural inter twinnings… are key…. Marauders like Aurangzeb used to destroy templtes selectively to show who is boss and show how he will enforce his writ..Recommend

  • LS

    No the issue isn’t even timing. The masjid has been in use since very long time. You need to understand what secularism means. There are NO Laws that are created in India with religious bias as in “Religion and State are separated”. In fact there is a court case against LK Advani on this matter.

    pakistanis need to understand the definitions first before you use those words.Recommend

  • LS

    Muslim idea of secularism is “Let us do what ever we want and you cannot stop us and we will reject every basic tenet of democracy in the name of religion”Recommend

  • LS

    Muslim idea of secularism is “Let us do what ever we want and you cannot stop us and we will reject every basic tenet of democracy in the name of religion”

    Another definition that floats around in Muslim world is: “A country is secular if it allows people of all religion to practice what ever they like in the name of religion”

    In fact none of that is TRUE secularism.Recommend

  • LS

    Why are you speaking for Indian Muslims? In fact it was Indian Muslims who wanted a separate nation in the name of religion. So No, Indian Muslims are NOT even a single bit democratic and or Secular (Your constitution is a proof of that). All they care about is how far they can push the Indian constitution and laws to extract maximum mileage in the name of Democracy, Secularism. This exactly what is happening in EU when Muslims get to ban Pork in cafeteria of schools since it hurts their religious feelings, In Brunei they get to ban Christmas because it hurts their religious feelings. They get to have Sharia law in India, UK etc.Recommend

  • abhi

    India and Hindustan actually mean same thing, the people living accross river Sindhu. These name were given by Greeks and Persians respectivily. The Hindu in Hindustan is not pointing to religion but cultural identity of India.Recommend