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

Published: June 7, 2017

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

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 (

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

    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

    “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

  • Rajiv


  • Rajiv

    It will be done.Recommend

  • 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

  • Anoop

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


    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

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