Happy to See this Dawn

Ram Temple Ayodhya

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven! O times . . .”

The oft-quoted, famous lines from one of the founders of what is known as English Romanticism, William Wordsworth’s The Prelude (Book Ten), cited above, alludes to the opening of a new day in history, and it is for that very reason that the author experienced “Bliss.” Wordsworth highlighted his acute consciousness of divine temporality by repeating, “When.” These were not ordinary days; these were sacred days “When” momentous “events/ Of that great change” stirred imaginations.In the end, the historic days—and the feelings of youthful infatuation associated with them—did not last. The “Bliss[ful] . . . dawn” gave way to the uncomfortable reality of a stormy afternoon (the Reign of Terror), which in turn gave way to the sober equilibrium of night (the end of the Reign of Terror). [i] Wordsworth, enthralled and overwhelmed with the ideals of the French Revolution (1789), Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, wished to be “young” to enjoy the full magnitude of this historic event. But, he was happy to be “alive” to witness “the dawn” of the fiery days.

In India on December 6, 1992, roughly two centuries after the great revolution, a mob of around 1,50,000 people gathered around the Babri masjid premises to hear the speeches of the leaders of BJP and VHP. Within minutes, the kar sevaks turned violent, overpowered the security forces and demolished the 400-year-old monument, built in 1528-29 CE by General Mir Baqi upon the orders of Emperor Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire. More than 2,000 people were killed in communal clashes across India in the following days. According to a report on The Wire, on the eve of December 6, kar sevaks started attacking Muslim residents of Ayodhya, ransacking and knocking down their houses. Riots broke out in different parts of the country following the demolition days. [ii]

That day, I was in class eight, living in a remote village of Bengal, full of poor rustics. No newspapers. One or two TVs in the houses of the money-lending, shop-keeping Duttas. I and my playmates used to cut grass at dawn, swim in the river at noon, and run kites in the afternoons and evenings. We had no idea of the Babri Masjid or its demolition by the kar sevaks. Kar Sevaks? Ayodhya? Where? Who lived there?…  Our parents might have felt uneasy with the news of the demolition. But, it evaporated with the passage of the day. Elders went to fields, we at our marbles and danda guli. Our maulvis might have learned the news. They might have rued for it. Sunday was the demolition day. Villagers had no Sundays. Fields waited to be cared for, cattle to be taken care of, the dead to be buried or creamed by the riverside…Routine work, routine days. So, the maulvis might have relayed the demolition news in the following Friday prayer. They might have shed a drop of tears and come back home sad.

December 6 is also the death anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. It is striking that the violent actions of the Kar Sevaks that day and the subsequent communal riots across the country, where more than 2000 people lost their lives, are a blot on the values of justice enshrined in the constitution drafted by Ambedkar. In the last 26 years, RSS and its sister groups have continuously attacked the constitutional values of secularism. The frequent calls to re-draft the constitution align with what RSS said when the constitution was passed. The recent political appropriation of Ambedkar by the BJP shouldn’t blind us to the fact that RSS rejected the constitution when it was passed and batted for a Manusmriti form of doctrine.[iii]

UP CM Adityanath ordered all the bookings in local hotels and dharamshalas on the day of the pran pratistha ceremony on January 22, 2024, to be cancelled so that there is no problem in management. He highlighted that special invitees will arrive in Ayodhya, and around 100 planes will arrive at the Ayodhya airport on that day. The Ayodhya airport will be ready by the end of December to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Air India Express will operate its inaugural flight to Ayodhya from Delhi on December 30 and commence daily service on the route starting January 16. IndiGo will also use its inaugural flight on December 30 and begin commercial services on January 6.[iv] 

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo HD Deve Gowda has been formally invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the newly built Ram temple on January 22. On Sunday, Mr Gowda took to social media and said, “I was delighted to receive an invitation for the inauguration of the Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya. The Ram Temple Complex Development Committee Chairman Nripendra Misra, Senior RSS leader Ram Lal and Senior VHP leader Alok Kumar met me at my New Delhi residence today.”[v]

It is probably only a matter of time before one or more leaders of the Congress inform us that since it was Rajiv Gandhi who, as prime minister, first ordered the unlocking of the small shrine to Ram at the disputed site, it is he, and not LK Advani or Narendra Modi, who is the original architect of the temple now being consecrated in Ayodhya, opined veteran historian Ramchandra Guha. [And I add, very few Indians, irrespective of their colour, creed, language, geography, religion and political ideology, will not celebrate January 22 as one of the grandest days in Indian history as it augurs the death of democracy, collapse of the constitution,  the end of India). Guha observed:

One way of understanding what is happening in India today is to set it in the context of the other countries in our neighbourhood. Pakistan and Bangladesh are self-proclaimed Islamic states where Hindus and Christians are effectively second-class citizens. Sri Lanka and Myanmar are self-proclaimed Buddhist states – it is indeed no accident that both have witnessed state-sponsored violence aimed at minorities. India, which once stood apart regarding its separation of faith from State, has now joined this South Asian club.[vi]

Today, in my forties, I cannot reach heaven, but I can feel the warmth of Wordsworth’s “ Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,” by the grace of  Gandhi’s killers, to be alive in a Modified India—“One Man, One Nation”, is a grace indeed.

In this context, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “It is shameful that a blatant criminal act has been elevated to a moment of national pride.” “No political party is talking about December 6, the egregious criminal act of demolishing a centuries-old masjid. The whole conversation is now about whether they’ll attend or not.” (The Statesman, Kolkata edition, 13 Jan. 2024).

It is sad but true that very few will remember 6 December as the blackest day in free India on 22 January. Lakhs of candles will illuminate lakhs of old and young cheeks. Lakhs of temples will be illuminated at that hour. Lakhs of laddoos will be freely distributed as a mark of Hindu solidarity.

On 22 January, I don’t know what Indian Muslims will do or what their places of worship will look like. They may mourn. But they must do it within their walls. And if they are kept alive in the coming years by the grace of Gandhi’s killers, they must be happy and satisfied. They must be thankful to Gandhi’s killers for being still alive to see the dawn of 22 January, 2024.


[i] Hale, Matthew Rainbow. “Measuring Time in a Blissful Dawn: William Wordsworth and American Newspapers during the French Revolution.” Available at: https://www.readex.com/readex-report/issues/volume-5-issue-2/measuring-time-blissful-dawn-william-wordsworth-and-american, Accessed 24 Dec. 2023

[ii] Arya AJ. “Shadows of Babri Masjid demolition still over Indian Republic.” Available at

  https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/india/shadows-of-babri-masjid-demolition-still-over-indian-republic-1.8106763 Accessed December 24 2023.

[iii]  Akhil Katyal. “Remember, Remember, December 6″, Indian Cultural Forum, March 28, 2019, available at: https://indianculturalforum.in/2019/03/28/remember-remember-the-6th-of-december/

[iv] “Ram temple inauguration: Only those with invites, on govt duty to be allowed in Ayodhya on January 22.” Available at:https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/economy/story/ram-temple-inauguration-only-those-with-invites-on-govt-duty-to-be-allowed-in-ayodhya-on-jan-22-410477-2023-12-22, Accessed December 23 2023.

[v]The Hindu. Deve Gowda is invited for Ram mandir’s inauguration.” Available at:  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/deve-gowda-invited-for-ram-mandir-inauguration/article67648537.ece, Accessed December 23 2023.

[vi] Guha, Ramchandra. “Ramachandra Guha: What will the inauguration of the Ram temple portend for India’s future?.” Available at: 

https://scroll.in/article/1060671/ramachandra-guha-what-will-the-inauguration-of-the-ram-temple-portend-for-indias-future, Accessed December 23, 2023.

Abu Siddik is an assistant professor of English at Plassey College, West Bengal. He is an independent researcher, a poet, and a short story writer. He loves to write about the struggle and resilience of the marginalized Indian people, the underdogs, the outcasts, and the invisible. He has 12 books. His recent publication includes Identity and Belonging: Mapping the Margins, Banger Musolman: Samaj Pironer Dahan Brittanto and Violence in Literature, Culture and Society (ed.). His latest book is Lynching in Indian Literature, Culture and Society. Website: www.abusiddik.com. He runs two literary and cultural websites: https://freevoice.co.in/ and https://vinnokatha.in

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