6.12.12

Lord Ram doesn't live here anymore: Dec 6, 1992


I thought it was insensitive, even shameless. Today, 20 years later, instead of keeping quiet, since he cannot show any empathy, he sent a note about ‘The case for the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement’. At least today, he should have spared a thought for those 900 people killed in cold blood, hunted down because of the faith they were born in. Cops who took part in the pogrom were promoted; no politician was asked to resign.

But, then, he did not walk through those lanes, he did not smell the rotting flesh and the blood flowing in the sewers, he did not see broken homes, people fleeing, 200,000, mostly Muslim. 

He is a man who matters, but he could be you. Yes, you. You, who talk about moving on, but are still stuck with a temple. You, who want Muslims to become part of the mainstream, but holy shit, you’ll point them out as beardos or pseudo seculars, depending on what you think of them at a given time. You, who talk about temples destroyed don’t even realise that we did not do it. You, who tell us about how Hindus suffer in Pakistan don’t understand that we are not Pakistani, we can’t do a thing about their Constitution. You, who tolerate us, cry about appeasement - when was the last time you appeased us by keeping your vile words against the ordinary Muslims to yourself? And you, who want us to be silent and not get so emotional: what about your hysterical pronouncements?



In the subsequent revenge bomb blasts, orchestrated by an underworld don and not by the local Muslim population, unlike what happened in Gujarat in 2002, 250 people died.

In the popular imagination of the 2008 attacks, people recall 1984 and 2002. 1992-93 has become a blip. You might remember it as an anniversary token, a hashtag. But, it has little political resonance. Unless, you want to send me that letter.
 
Here it is, and my rebuttal (I have skipped untruths that I had earlier put forth in 'Uma Bhartiji, may I show you the light?'):


  • "The issue is not one of bricks and mortar, i.e. it is not merely an issue of a temple. One more or one less temple does not give Ram bhakts any more or less opportunity to offer their prayers. The issue is related to our nationalism and our culture. Hindus have been making continuous effort for the recovery of the site. In 1885, a judge of the British colonial regime accepted that the site was holy for the Hindus.  In the post-independence period, too, legal cases have been continuing for the recovery of the site."

Isn’t culture larger and more encompassing? How does a temple qualify as nationalism? Where was this nationalism centuries ago? Why were those cases not pursued or reached a conclusion? Why was there no move to demolish the Babri Masjid then? Why were there no riots for this all those years? Because the saffron parties got some national legitimacy at a time when the other political parties were fractured. So Hindutva was built over those ‘ruins’. Get it?

  • "The Hindus believe that the place where the Babri structure stood is the birthplace of Shri Ram. This belief has a continuous tradition of more than 3000 years, as has been established by the archaeological investigation at the site. Such a long belief has to make it into a fact."

If belief could make things a fact, then the world ought to have ended. Even if one were to believe that archaeological investigations are right, how important is it for a temple to be constructed there? It can be proved that a temple existed, but there can be no foolproof evidence that Shri Ram was born there.

  • "If the birthplace was somewhere else, there was no need for people to hold this place as sacred. After all, no one could imagine that some 2500 years later the holy site would be vandalised."

So, why did they wake up after 500 years? Is there any way to gauge that all those years ago people held it as sacred? People have shrines in their houses; they do not imagine it will be destroyed. Yet, it could well be. Will they return to it and want to rebuild it? What if that temple had been destroyed in a natural disaster?

  • "In 1528 AD, the temple that stood at the site was deliberately destroyed with an objective of constructing the Babri structure in its place.  The purpose of the construction was not religious but political, and the purpose had also been intentionally offensive. The intention was to give the Hindus a continuous ocular demonstration that Islam was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism's holy places."

I will not dispute this, as I have stated often that an invader does not come with an olive branch. But if it was not a religious act but political, then you are getting trapped in your own argument. That Hinduism was a political movement and has to be. Isn’t that why Hindutva cannot manage for long without raising this issue? Forget 1528. This is 2012. And you are yet at it. This is even more political because not only do you want to establish Hindutva supremacy over a democratic secular country, you also want to push the minorities into a corner for something they are not responsible. You are playing pathetic political games.

  • "As a second best option, within 50 years the Hindus constructed a Ram Chabootar within the compound of the Babri structure.  This was with an intention of keeping their claim to the site alive.  Continuous pooja were being undertaken at the Chabootar.  Now it is happening where the Shri Ram deity exists."

This is a makeshift structure and those who are offering prayers there are political activists. It has not become a pilgrimage site. And it is protected, not because it will be vandalised by Muslims (remember how the Shri Ram Sene men played dirty by hoisting a Pakistani flag at the secretariat in Bangalore hoping the Muslims would be held responsible?), but the saffron slaves to get some mileage when it is opportune to do so. It is also protected to give the impression that it is in grave danger.

  • "All these efforts were frustrated not so much by an obscurantist Muslim leadership, but by the political and intellectual community who wear the label of secularism on their sleeves."

After all this, you exonerate the Muslim leadership. This is a really smart strategy. For, the case is sub judice. The courts have already decided on the distribution of the land. The Muslim leadership has stayed quiet because they can’t do a thing. I’d like to know how the intellectual community has prevented a temple from being built when they could not prevent the mosque from being demolished.

  • "The issue has become politicised not because of the demand for the return of the site, but because of the denial of the holy significance of the site for the Hindus, and of the deliberate destruction of the temple in 1528."

This is going round in circles. If it is conceded as a holy site only, and the return is not significant, what do you want to prove? That it was destroyed? It was. Now what?

It is really simple. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement does not want a temple to be built because that would put an end to the dispute, and without the dispute they will not have a calling card to flash. 



In all these years nothing has changed. 

This is a small portion of what I wrote in 2008. The full piece is here at ‘1992 vs. 2008’:

In 16 years nothing has changed. A week after this carnage, a flight attendant serving on a private airline was pointedly asked by a passenger what religion she belonged to. He spewed out, "Why the bloody hell are you Muslims doing this to our country?"

She calmly replied, "Sir, this is my country too."

He shot back, "I don't think so, because people from your community are behind these attacks."

She was on the verge of tears but said bravely, "Sorry Sir, they don't belong to India. They are not Indians."

I have had 16 years of practice, yet sometimes the tears flow; sometimes I am taken aback.

It is 20 years now. I believed in nothing particularly. You foisted a faith on me so that you could aim darts. Now you say I should be like you. So stand right there. Let me take aim. But, no. I don’t want to deal with your demons. I don’t want your ghosts to haunt me.

Babar is long dead.

Lord Ram does not live there anymore.

You and I have to share space. You and I were born here. Millions do not have a roof over their heads. Gather some bricks for them. Let us call this nationalism.

© Farzana Versey

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Images: Guardian, Frontline, Indian Express

8 comments:

  1. >> If belief could make things a fact, then the world ought to have ended. Even if one were to believe that archaeological investigations are right, how important is it for a temple to be constructed there? It can be proved that a temple existed, but there can be no foolproof evidence that Shri Ram was born there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madurantakam

    While camping at Madurantakam during a monsoon night, the tank was full and almost overflowing. The Collector visited the tank bund and is said to have seen Rama and Lakshmana keeping guard at the tank. The construction of the shrine for the Goddess began the very next morning and the Lord is known as Aeri Katha Ramar as he saved the tank bund from collapsing.

    If this were the temple destroyed and sought to be rebuilt, would this story need to be proven to be true?

    The nature of Indian traditions is that their continuation and their value to their adherents is not dependent on the truth or falsity of the story or the 'reasons' proffered for them.

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  2. First of all, on the 20th anniversary (or is it 19th?) of demolition of the disputed structure, let me extend condolences to those who are morose and best wishes to those who are not so morose!
    ----

    QUOTE: "..he sent a note about ‘The case for the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement’. At least today, he should have spared a thought for those 900 people killed.."

    This is not unlike saying "Teesta claimed a victory when the Naroda verdict came in. At least today, she should have spared a thought about those who were reduced to ashes with the train coach at Godhra.."

    The cinders take time to cool, after all! At Gulberg as well as at Godhra!

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    QUOTE: ".. revenge bomb blasts, orchestrated by an underworld don and not by the local Muslim population.."

    Assalam, FV, this is Tiger Memon speaking. I am a citizen of Dubai and not of India. Only you understand my POV. (Sob!) By the way, I have some more black soap to spare if.....

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    QUOTE: "You, who talk about temples destroyed don’t even realise that we did not do it."

    You, who talk about 2002 Gujarat riots, conveniently ignore that a miniscule percentage of Hindus (even Gujarati Hindus!) participated in them. The rest of us have merely been offering possible expalations! Does that make us Qafirs worthy of a sekulaar execution?

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    QUOTE: "How does a temple qualify as nationalism? Where was this nationalism centuries ago?"

    That is really a feeble argument. Islam itself did not exist centuries ago. Does that mean...??

    Har cheez ka ek first time hota hai bhidu..! - Munnabhai MBBS.
    --------

    QUOTE: "..there can be no foolproof evidence that Shri Ram was born there."

    Such declarations made against Hinduism are the hallmark of a true sekulaarist! Of course, it would be communal to ask whether Mohammed indeed lived or whether the Kaabah in Meccah deserves the Islamic apartheid which is enforced there with explicit approval of Muslim community worldwide. Shame on me to have thought of it at all!!

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    QUOTE: "Hinduism was a political movement and has to be.." (I assume you meant to say Hindutva there)

    I have said this before in my comments. Hindutva is merely a temporary response fashioned by Hinduism to the hate onslaught of invaders. Hindutva exists only in the context of venomous, poselytising, Hindu-hating cults of Islam and Christianity. If these two undergo metamorphosis and harmonise themselves with Hindu thought, there would be no raison-de-itre for Hindutva to remain. Hinduism is certainly capable of undergoing changes.

    The problem, as I have said before, arises when the sekulaar-Jehadi complex spins motivated theories demonising the response called Hindutva while treating the stimulant with kid gloves.

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    QUOTE: "The Ram Janmabhoomi movement does not want a temple to be built because that would put an end to the dispute"

    One can say that Muslims want to keep playing the historic-injury-to-Islam story and pushing for Sharia so that there can be no real unification among Muslims and non-Muslims. After all, that is politically so inconvenient!

    -------

    QUOTE: "Millions do not have a roof over their heads. Gather some bricks for them."

    Touching! Should we have reservations for minorities, while doling the bricks out? Guess we should, if only to stop the sekulaar brickbats! Here is one occassion when constituion can be set aside!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tamasic Pravrati06/12/2012, 12:56

    To co-exist in a land you must learn to co-identify and co-adhere to a scared covenant, what is called as ‘natural constitution’ and the natural law.
    When a party chooses to subvert the law, democracy and justice (Shah Bano Case for eg) towards a narrow end; that party amply communicates that constitution is just a stepping stone to a more bigoted objective (Sharia-isation).
    Therefore you can hardly playact the victim if shoe falls on the other foot. In this case trespassing and forcible possession of a claimed property (with a certain justification).
    On the other point, for such Babrians asking for Mandirians to prove Ram’s birth at the disputed property, they may also have to prove the presence of Babur or whatever other deity that was supposed to reside there.
    Nevertheless, I still haven’t been able to find the logic of how and why, Mahtre or Dondiba or Radhabai and thousands others must die in Delhi, Mumbai, Surat, Godhra, Hyderabad, Karachi,Dacca etc for events occurring 1400 km away; and/or 25 years in past. But heck. They do die. By the sword, by the bullet, by the fire and by the blast.And all for that building.
    And unless you want to confabulate these jihadi killings (supposedly for revenge for a building) onto others (Jews, Rothschilds, Hinjews, Crusaders, Saffronites, Ram Sene, Mickey Mouse) disguising as innocent Muslims, no argument will stick to defend those ghastly killings. Which still persist, by the way.
    And if you believe that highlighting a rare black-ops by Ram Sene folks, (who by the way are being hounded out by those demolishers), to make a general implication that religious vandalism of temples, churches and gurudwara is a ruse to implicate muslims, I have one only 4 words: “I am not surprised”. You are definitely in a hallowed company of the ‘believing brotherhood’ that follows a similar conspiratorial thought pattern worldover.
    Finally, the exoneration of the Muslim leadership seems as a clever strategy to you since you haven’t read the long talks that preceded the events in Ayodhya. For very which reason, you must not be commenting on that issue.
    The writer you quoted was criticizing the people who contributed to the breakdown of talk. And he was charitable in doing so. Civilized talks warrant a presumption of the possibility of truth of the counter-party; the willingness to arrive at a core truth and the readiness to concede to it if identified.
    But, if the counter-party believes that it is the final judge on the truth, disputes faith when the dispute is of property, the messaging is clear, “we decide what you believe and what the truth is”. Not surprising than that the weak and the unrepresented chose to change this inequality of power.
    Finally, Babrians wanted the building, the Mandirians the land. Modern engineering could have given them both what they wanted. But when you don’t want to resolve a dispute, no option is a good option. Many people think it was the Shiekh Ahmad Sirhindi principle in application. The writer believes it was the ‘monkey between cats’ principle in application. You believe ‘power atop the dome’ principle in application.
    P.S how is the unbearable outrage on the demolition (or the scheduled demolition) of the 90% of muslim holy sites in KSA coming up. Or is babri mosque more holy than the Nabawi, al Noor, Baeyt all Mawlid et al.

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  4. Its irrelevant whether or not Rama was born here,or a mythical or historical figure.Even Mohammed's historicity is uncertain.In fact,simply the indisputable evidence there was a temple,destroyed by Mir Baqi,& masjid constructed & that temple was revered,is sufficient
    My post refuting yours and the way forward http://vijaygkg.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/ayodhya-pass-law-to-reconstruct-the-ramajanmabhoomi-temple/

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  5. n the name of all those sentiments or at least a few of them would you plead as passionately to the ones for whom your heart bleeds. would you rationalize with them that after all Babri Masjid was nothing but a reminder of that invader who was not just a mercenary but also a drunkard,child molester(hence not a good muslim) he also apart from killing his enemies, would forcefully abduct their woman and kids and sell them into slavery.

    I want a mandir to be built their in the name of Lord Ram,Vishnu incarnate.
    And i'm not a political activist, i'm a regular Hindu citizen of this country.
    You are wrong when you say that Hindus were quiet for centuries and did not want to reclaim the site.it is an ongoing battle for centuries now .lakhs of Hindus laid their lives for the cause.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Thank you all for your comments. We will agree/disagree. My views expressed here and in the links within as well as stated several times convey what I think - and that includes referred material/evidence.

    History need not be ignored. But it is not a solution to what happens now.

    My last sentence is what I would like us to strive towards. And we can do that only if there is justice and if in the contemporary situation we are willing to stand up and count and be counted.

    Appreciate the time and effort you have put in to express your opinions here.

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  8. FV,

    Your reply was most educative. People look so tiny when they take the high ground, don't they! Your post focussed on a specific case. But apparently the commentators, in your view, did not deserve the privilege of doing the same.

    The sekulaar debating techinque is highly effective in flummoxing the opponent - Spout platitudes when asked about specifics and split hair when faced with ideological questions.

    Suit yourself please! People can see through veils and hijabs also!

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