Ayodhya Verdict, Temple And Indian Nationalism
By Ram Puniyani
15 December, 2010
While Ayodhya verdict is under criticism from various quarters for ignoring the basic issue of land dispute, for ignoring the illegal installation of Ram Lalla idols on the night of 23 Dec 1949 and the demolition of the masjid by Sangh Parivar on 6th December 1992, a new dimension has been added to the issue. In the aftermath of the judgment, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat (30th Sept 2010) had welcomed the judgment and stated that this judgment paves the way for grand Ram Temple as court has already allotted 2/3 of land, where the mosque, is located to Hindus. Now (Dec 12, 2010) he goes further to say that division of land is unwarranted and all land should be given to Hindus as division always creates problems as in the case of Kashmir, and that all the land should be handed over to Hidus. According to him this will also be in the fitness of nationalism as it will wipe out Babri Masjid, the symbol of foreign rule. The temple will create the ‘Bharat’s self consciousness’. Giving hint of the future plans, the RSS supremo further said that it is time that we re-establish all such symbols that portend Bharat’s self-image and nature that was razed during the foreign rule.
The statement of Mr. Bhagwat is quiet in tune with the politics, ideology and agenda of RSS. Needless to say the comparison with division of Kashmir is totally warped and illogical. Kashmir was an independent state attacked by Pakistan. Kashmir acceded to India in the face of this aggression and there were clauses of full autonomy of Kashmir barring the matters related to defense, communication, currency and foreign affairs. Indian army entered Kashmir after this accession by which time 1/3 Kashmir was occupied by Pakistan army. It was not a division by any legal authority. The occupation of Kashmir by Pakistan was an act of aggression and United Nations had mandated for plebiscite in Kashmir, which never took place. And Dr. Bhagwat/RSS is worried about the ill effects of division, they can very well leave the ‘manufactured claims’ and restore the masjid pre 6th December 1992 and pre 23 December 1949. That will be an appropriate way to avoid division and solve the issue, releasing us from the vice like grip of identity issues so that nation can focus on infinite ills ailing the country.
In case of Babri masjid it was a protected monument under the Indian act and on the night of 23 December 1949 some motivated elements, hand in glove with sympathizers of Hindu nationalism installed the idols there. Then, RSS elements (Advani and co.) took over the issue in the decade of 1980 and demolished the masjid, which has been one of the biggest crimes in Independent India. It was also an assault on Indian Constitution. The Court gave the verdict in a Panchayat style ignoring the core elements of the case, also under the dominating influence of communalization of society which has been unleashed by the communal violence and propaganda. What is needed is to look at the clauses of Indian Constitution and restore the land to the Sunni Wakf Board, under whose possession that land has been for long enough time to be legally valid.
To regard the structures built during medieval period as symbols of foreign rule is contrary to the concept of Indian Nationalism. Indian Nationalism regarded British rule as foreign rule and struggled against it. Still it did not talk of wiping out the structures built by British during their rule. RSS type ideologies never struggled against the foreign rule, British rule, and regard the period of Muslim Kings as the period of foreign rule. This again goes against the understanding of Indian nationalism. Kingdoms are Kingdoms and we can’t equate Kingdoms to nationalism. Kings of different religions have ruled for power and wealth. They were neither representative of the people nor of their religion. Since RSS ideology emerged form the declining social sectors of Hindu Kings, Landlords and clergy they have deliberately accorded to Kings’ rule the status of nationalism. Same applies to the Muslim communal ideology that accords the status of nationalism to the rule of Muslim Kings. There is a deliberate confusion between the concept of Kingdoms and Modern nation states in communal ideology. Communal ideologies imagine that all religious communities were homogenous and fighting against other religious communities.
Hindu Kings were exploiting Hindu peasants and Muslim kings were not targeting Hindu peasants just because they were Hindus. Barring few exceptions religion was not the goal of kings Also it is interesting that except initial plundering by some Muslim Kings, once they settled here in collaboration and alliance with Hindu Kings, they did not take away the wealth of this land to other places. On contrary British rule was primarily for plunder of resources of the country. The RSS, communal ideologies’ ignoring the British exploitation and harping on Muslim Kings is due to their agenda of religious nationalism, which is away from the values of freedom movement; Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In Modern nationalism, Indian Nationalism, the past is not looked through religious angle and the main goal is to build the future on the principals enshrined in Indian Constitution. That’s how Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru emphasized on ‘new temple’ of Modern India; Educational institutes and industries. Contrary to this for RSS the temples of past when Hindu Kings ruled and applied the laws of Manu, birth based hierarchy of caste and gender, is their political and social agenda.
British deliberately gave a communal twist to the History by projecting Kings as Hindus or Muslims and sowed the seeds of division between the people. Muslim League on one side and Hindu Mahsabha-RSS on the other played a compliant role to British Policy, accepted their version of History, and spread hatred against the other community. This ‘Hate other’ laid the foundation of communal violence and Partition of India, which was the highest index of success of British policy of divide and rule, in which communalists came in handy to execute the British designs of splitting the communities along religious lines. Muslim League-RSS were ideal puppets in the hands of British. Today in India the divisive politics is again being deliberately promoted to sidetrack the core issues related to bread, butter, employment and shelter, to undermine the concept of rights and dignity of average people.
RSS Chief’s call to reestablish all such symbols is fraught with danger. Where will one stop? With rule of Hindu Kings?; some may like to go further back to the demolition of Buddha Vihars by Hindu rulers? And then what will one do with the Aryans coming to India and their dominating the native Adivasi and others? The whole country did accept 15th August as the starting point of our nation, and made it a point of departure from the past to initiate the future building of peace and progress. The ideologies and calls being given by RSS family are something alien to Indian nationalism and they need to be combated against to preserve and protect the very idea of India as it emerged during national movement and as it was nurtured by the founding fathers of India.
Ayodyah judgment also needs a relook form the same barometer of Indian legality and not RSS agenda of dividing people along religious lines. It is needed that all those committed to the values of amity of communities, and Indian Constitution, all those valuing the concept of Human rights come forward and spread the awareness about the Indian nationalism and build the bridges amongst religious communities to focus on progress of the nation in the field of education and industrialization on the basis of Human rights of all Indians, leaving the mosques and temples in peace, as they are; where they are.