Hi, today I would like to talk about an extremely sensitive issue, issue that dates back to days even before my father was born. And I feel like talking about it because it is related to a deity I deeply revere and aspire to inculcate some of his values and principles in my life, Lord Ram.
Lord Ram, the ideal man, most honorable of all, a man who’s integrity and ethics is so pristine that even millennia after his existence, it still guides the majoritarian society in this country.
Where I do believe that even a single person should be allowed to practice his/her religion provided it doesn’t harm others, I also believe that religion merely plays the role of a guide in a person’s life in aesthetic sense and it should not be tied down to physical structures. But hey, if a temple is instrumental is uniting the society, why not build it? Build more I say. Put best quality resources in it, spare no costs. But does “spare no costs” mean destroy others’ faiths?
What happened in 1992 with the mosque, was unfortunate and purely unwarranted. Peaceful protest turned into a lynching ceremony of an innocent structure of another faith. For the sake of majoritarian argument, let us hold it to be true that the mosque was indeed a “stick in the face” attempt by an invasion crusader centuries ago to Hindus but it had since grown to be a source of aesthetic dependence for a community who happen to live with us, the Muslims, followers of Prophet Muhammad.
My justification for the sympathy for the incident is simple, if some opportune facts do prove that my house is built over some previously undiscovered social site, does it give anyone any right to even consider burning my house down just to build a holy shrine on it. Won’t the foundation of the shrine be built on my crushed hopes and aspirations?
Cutting to the current, the Supreme Court has asked the two sections of the society to reach over a peaceful conclusion through a dialogue, in an attempt to maintain peace and stability for the years to come. And I definitely agree to this position the Supreme Court has taken. The last thing we want is for the Court to be painted politically and appear to be taking sides, thus harboring malice in the party who would not be happy when the verdict doesn’t go in their favor. And frankly there is no right answer to even consider a black and white verdict. A verdict in favor of Hindus has the chance of making the Muslims feel they are second grade and open up themselves to social bullying, ultimately resulting in violence from both sides and taking the country back by decades. A verdict in favor of Muslims would result in the majority population losing their faith in the institution of Supreme Court, thus effectively crippling us for decades to come. In short term, violence, more lynching of Muslim shrines and taking us back by decades.
What I am seeing currently, and I am not sure why this perception is created but Muslim leadership is appearing weak and accepting dialogue process as though they have lost the war and accepting whatever they could salvage from it and save face. The Hindu leadership on the other hand is swelling chests as though they have victoriously defeated some decades long fued, as though they have avenged something when all they have done is break hearts of a major section of society, who by the way, are extremely crucial for the future of this country.
I wish the dialogue happens, sensibly, honestly, with the country’s best interests at heart and sensitive to everyone’s sentiments. This should not become a business negotiation where either you lose or win. Whatever outcome comes out of a bragging negotiating technique is ultimately an emotional matter, aesthetically important to each and every Indian and ultimately both parties will lose. And why?, because it will set an extremely dangerous precedent, perhaps for decades and centuries to come. Everyone loses.
There is only one solution to this problem, build a hybrid culture center on the spot. Like we see in Ganpati pandals in Mumbai. Aarti gets delayed for a namaaz bring prayed in the pandal itself and mosque kitchens being used to cook Prasad. In current times, we need to get our priorities right. Do we want to collaborate together, make a transparently robustly mixed and unitedly diverse progressive society or start another round of lynching at each other’s throats and go back to stone age?
I appeal to everyone to stop throwing tantrums around something that has deeply burned a lot of hearts over centuries in past. This is not a contest. Lord Ram doesn’t teach this. And even if you somehow manage to dominate each other and build a temple, His soul would never reside in a building built over someone’s crushed emotions. This is not what his life was about.
Build a hybrid culture center where Ram Lala’s childhood can be celebrated. Else, is it even worth it?
Feel free to leave your views on this. And please no unnecessary lynching of this thought process for your self appreciation. Allahu Akbar! Jai Shri Ram!