Ayodhya and Underlying Issues.

As promised, I am going to write more on the Ayodhya issue. I realize it is embarrassing for most of the young people to even talk about the topic and if you are a Hindu you are expected to be even more apologetic about the destruction of so called Mosque by the so called Hindu fundamentalist.

Indian media which is as usual devoid of any intellectual pursuit portrayed the whole Ram Janmabhumi Movement as a movement conspired by a few to gain votes. Thats a simple hypothesis and hence most of the people especially from my generation are likely of fall prey to. But the movement was lot more than this. It was not a conspiracy of few but a few tried to gain from the movement that had rose from masses. It is unfortunate, shameful and disgraceful that the leaders who lead it one day are now turning their face away. They have not only disowned their own responsibility but they have actually killed the movement.

1. The mosque or just a structure?

Had the case been that there was a very popular mosque sacred to million Muslims. Where Muslims offered prayers and one fine day some Hindu fundamentalists destroyed the structure by applying pure force, I would have understood the whole contempt for those who destroyed the structure. After all we are in process of building a law abiding society why should some group destroy other people’s sacred sites?

“But why do you refer to it as a mosque at all? Where is the mosque, my friends, when the namaz is not performed? When for forty years idol worship is going on there, what kind of a mosque is it? That is just the temple of our dear Ram.”[1]

Now I am not quoting Mr. L.K. Advani here I am quoting V. P. Singh. The structure that was destroyed on 6th of December 1992 was in fact a temple inside. There were idol of Ram inside and people flocked their to offer prayers everyday.The idols appeared inside the structure in 1948. A pujari offered prayers every day though the structure was kept locked.

Who opened the locks? MR. Rajiv Gandhi ordered to open the locks. He started his election campaign from Ayodhya. He had already conceded too much to Muslims in form of Shah Bano case and Stanic Verses Ban. Once the locks were opened VHP began demanding that a temple be built on the site as the structure is a temple for all practical purposes.

The government began to work. V.P. Singh devised the three point formula that the structure will be shifted brick by brick to another place and Hindus would bear it’s cost. Government would acquire the land and hand it over to the Shilanyas Committee. VHP, BJP and RSS agreed. They promised that they will not touch the structure, they promised to pay for shifting the whole structure.

And then what happened? Here in Shourie’s words.

Then came a stormy meeting of Muslim leaders with V P Singh. And so around 5 pm V P Singh let it be known that he had changed his mind. What was the “disputed structure became the “disputed land”. And all lands, the titles to which were in dispute before the Allahabad High Court were now to be taken to be covered by the expression “disputed land”.

As nothing was to be done to disturb what was “disputed”, this change meant that nothing could be commenced anywhere, not even at the spot where the shilanyas had been done.

“But once Government acquires the land,” the law officer of the Government explained to him, “all disputes about its titles would end. There is thus no reason for going back on what has been agreed — about commencing construction.”

“Then I won’t acquire the land,” said V P Singh.[1]

V.P. Singh indeed acquired the land. But instead of prior agreement between him and VHP he did not made any distinction between the disputed structure and non disputed land. This left both L.K. Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpeyi as losers in the eyes of their supporters because these were the two men who were responsible for maintaining peace and solving this matter peacefully. It was because of them that their supporters believed that this matter can indeed be solved peacefully.

People like Mulayam Singh Yadav saw this as an opportunity. If somehow they could jeopardies all move by Hindu leaders such as AB Vajpeyi and L. K. Advani, and instead build a mosque there they would have become eligible to the vote bank of Muslims. Thus the secular class of India which today claims that Babari Structure destruction was a heinous crime back stabbed moderate leaders like Advani and Vajpeyi to appease some factional Muslims leaders.

There wasn’t a mosque in first place. It was a temple. The structure however old was used as a temple for all practical purposes. The demand that it should be erased or respectfully moved to another place was denied in the most disgraceful way to make people like Sayyed Shahbuddin happy.

2. The Demolition

Two wrongs can not make one right. Indeed if Muslims destroyed the temple, destroying the mosque is not a solution. If it was there are over 2000 Mosques waiting for destruction. But then when the one wrong is performed it needs to be punished condemed and it should be made clear that such an act is not tolerable.

If at all India was secular and if the secularists were not Muslim appeasers, they had a brilliant chance to do so with Ayodhya. Had they built a temple over the Ramjanmabhumi it would have not only killed BJP’s upsurge but it would have also sent a strong message to increasing fanatic Muslim demands .

Any ways. The secularism faltered on those line and the structure was demolished. That resulted into BJP’s rise and it sent Islamic leaders on back-foot as they should have been.

The underlying demand and frustration of Hindu community was not an artificial one. Nor it was conspired by “a few” as the liberhan tries to portray it. Instead, it was because untill India got it’s independence Hindus were unexplainably at the receiving end. Not only Islam tried hard to destroy every good thing Hindus built, Islam even cut the nation into tow parts. After independence the government of India failed to even recognize that Hindus indeed suffered because of Islam.

By denouncing the valid claim of the masses. By terming it not just communal but heinous and national shame, they only hurt Hindus further.

What happened that day:

Even VHP leader Ashok Singbal tried to stop the activists, until they threatened to pull off his dhoti. Anti‑Hindutva spokesmen want us to believe that this was all theatre, but it was genuine (as was Murli Manohar Joshi’s jubilation). A small Hindutva faction had prepared the demolition, deliberately keeping the leadership in the dark about it.

If the Indian media had meant business, they would have found out and told you within a few days just who engineered the ‘Kar Seva’. Instead, they chose to spurn the scoop of the year and stuck to the politically more useful version that the BJP did it, somewhat like late Jawaharlal Nehru’s attempt to implicate Veer Savakar in Nathuram Godse’s murder of the Mahatma.

Most BJP leaders (Kalyan Singh being the chief exception) dealt with the event in a confused and insincere manner. The gradual BJP retreat from Ayodhya was completed overnight, and the party was reduced to waging its subsequent election campaign with colourless slogans like ‘good government’.

3. What is to be gained by building a temple?

Nothing. Temple is merely made up bricks and mortar. The question that whether there really existed someone like Ram is debatable. But the movement was no supposed be about the physical structure of some building. It was about undoing the wrong of past.

This is for those people who say things like “Will building a temple solve unemployment in Hindus?” Shouldn’t we have different priorities? At a superficial level it might appear as true. But underneath there is larger goal which BJP should have tried to achieve. Ram Janmabhumi should have been only a step forward.

The spineless leadership and ignorant second tier leaders like Shushama Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Vainkayya Naidu buckled up under the secularist/communist propaganda to downplay the whole movement and kill it.

4. Islamic damage to Hindu psyche.

The Ram Janmabhumi movement was the begging of process of that undoing of damage inflicted by Islam on Hinduism. No one else but Koenraad Elst puts it in the best possible words.

Some diehard Hindus activists demand that all the thousands of mosques built on top of destroyed temples, be handed over to the Hindus. They think that would be a physical undoing of the historical wrongs. Well, that is a very crude way of doing justice to Hinduism. It overlooks the fact that these stone structures are but the outermost layer of the real harm done to Hindu society. There has been a loss of vast territories — they may be claimed back, but that would hardly be any less superficial. Far more fundamental is the moral damage that has been done : the loss of self-confidence, the unprecedented and harsh enmity within Hindu society (internal enmity and bitterness typically occur in powerless groups), the boot-licking attitude among the Hindu intelligentsia, the negative self-image (e.g. Hindu caste inequality vs. Muslim brotherhood). The moral damage again is partly due to a loss of knowledge and memory : the Hindu education system has been destroyed, and the Hindus are helpless in the face of concerted efforts to disinform them and destroy their soul.[Source: Ayodhyaa and After by Koenraad Elst Voice of India publication]

5. BJP’s grand failures

BJP’s grand failure lies in the fact that it could not convert Ram Janmabhumi movement into a grand Hindu reconciliation. The movement had united Hindus across cast and creed. It failed to address their problems and genuine concerns to gather Muslim votes. BJP had not need to be “Hindu” in order to do this.

BJP should have been “truely secular” and worked hard towards the secular lies that Congress and Communists have perpetrated especially to degrade Hindusim. But they failed at every level. Except for few intellectuals like Arun Shourie, Govindacharya and another few it was more concerned about acceptance in Muslim community.

Let me quote Elst again.

So, the more fundamental concern should be the reviving of Hindu consciousness, both in a spiritual and in an intellectual sense. Of all the politicians involved in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, how many have ever taken parliamentary initiatives to revive Sanskrit education, to give more chances to the teaching of the Hindu cultural traditions, to abolish the discrimination against teaching Hindu religion in state-subsidized schools? How many have taken a look into the systematic distortion of history that is being broadcast by all the official media including the school curricula, and taken the official media including the school curricula, and taken initiatives to counter it at the intellectual or political level? It seems that all these Hindu campaigners needed a crudely physical issue like the bricks in Ayodhya in order even to get reminded of their responsibility to Hindu society.

If we check BJP’s track record, there hardly anything that BJP did different from Congress. That explains why people successively decided to vote for congress.

6. Arguments in History

Now that BJP is fully on back-foot and media completly under control of them, both Congress and Communists are getting up their long formlated arguments that there was never a temple on that site and hence it was never destroyed. Historians like Romila Thapar has romaticised that even Somnath Temple was not really destroyed. These people have even destroyed evidence by using their power.

Sita Ram Goel, Ram Swarup Arun Shourie and Koenraad Elst took pains to document these cases. And remind you none of these are RSS men as the secular media often Quotes them. Arun Shourie in his book Eminent Historians exposed Marxists historians like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib in a fashion that they had to hide their faces. They are not lifting their head up again in th Congress era.

Ram Swarup’s book Hindu Temples What happened to them ( a very rare book) documents over 2000 cases where mosques were raised by erasing temples. No historian has yet come forward to refute even a single claim. Most importantly he uses the Muslims scholar’s texts as the proofs.

7. The Path Ahead

I do not think issue of bricks and mortars at a particular place is important. But it should be symbolic of a larger issue. The issue which should lead entire Hindu society to look within, to unite, to rediscover it’s own glorious history and culture and of course to defend it’s beautiful culture from the Islamic and Nehruvian Invasion.

A lot was expected out of BJP. But as of today it is paralysed and continues to exist as Congress’s B team. The convoluted history and facts are running in the vein’s of Indian society making it even more difficult to bring the facts in light. Islam, the religion of peace continues to inflict wounds on our nation but we are more happy it believe that these are few misguided and politically or economically motivated individuals doing it out of frustration. It is easier to accept this fake argument than hard-hitting reality.

Elst wrote 5 years ago

This purely secular posturing worked well in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, but it may prove to be yet another “cheque which can be cashed only once,” especially considering the BJP’s recent loss of credibility regarding governance.

The party’s best chance of a meaningful survival now lies in the adoption of a better‑considered Hindu agenda, not focused on dead buildings but on consequential  political reforms.

The path ahead seems to be dark. India’s survival was possible for so many centuries purely because of it’s adaptive, open and tolerent culture. May be for last one or two centuries we started calling it Hinduism. Several factors today are destroying this culture. Islam remains the biggest threat and Congress the second largest threat. But we should also put parties like BJP which buckle under the pressure and make these values obsolete are an equally dangerous threats.

Today most of ever, political notions are based on labels. Muslims Christians and Communists are secularists by the virtue of their existence and Congress remains the sole certification authority. BJP is tring hard to qualify it self by proving itself secular to congress. This is never going to happen. In the process BJP will become more and more like Congress and Monotheist religious groups.

Optimist in me believes that this phase too will pass just like all previous ones. The cynic in me tells me that God his own designs of destruction.

Ayodhyaa: A cursed Kingdom?

In my opinion whole Ram Janmabhumi Babari Masque issue remains a shame for our judicial framework and concept of secular government. It takes 20 years to deliver a dud report on the whole issue itself is a testimony that no one actually cares about the justice. The generation that was actually behind the movement is forgotten and the younger generation is rarely aware of the issue.

Unfortunately the only thing we are told about the issue is that few Karsevaks destroyed a mosque claiming it was the birth place of Lord Rama. Indians have shown capability to remember historical facts for a very long time but then whether or not there existed a Lord Ram and whether or not he was born at that very same place can certainly not be proven. Destruction of a building irrespective of what that structure was and what was the motive of the people behind the structure was is an act of vandalism that needs to be punished.

Liberhan’s report on the issue remains a dud. But it points out some important facts. Merely the list of people it mentions shows that it was a mass movement. The kind of political leverage that BJP derived from the issue indicates that the issue in fact had a support of large Hindu mass. However the politically correct media and pseudo secularists always claimed that this was a conspiracy of a few people. L K. Advani and Bajrang Dal and RSS and other few to polarize the nation based on religion and gain votes.

It is true that polarization did happen and people responsible for the same should have been punished. But then why shouldnt Hindus be given their plausible demand of building a temple there? The structure in fact though architecturally a mosque, it was being used as temple for all practical purposes right from 1949. Hindus flocked to Ayodhyaa for centuries for pilgrimage where as no muslim went to this mosque for any significant reason. While the place had some special sacred meaning for Hindus it had no special importance for muslims.

The roots of this destructions were actually in Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to open the locks of the temple. Clearly this move was in accordance to Congress’ law of parity. Gandhi had just changed the consitution to overthrow supreme courts correct judgement in favour of Shah Bano. He declared tha  locks of the site to be opened. The presence of locks or their absence had no implication in temporal sense. But it made muslims feel that Rajiv is favouring Hindus.

Over years Congress had bestowed the leadership of muslim community to fundamentalists such as Sayyed Shahbuddin. They knew how to take advantage of such situations. Every time government tried to make some concession to Hindu community they would shout foul and in return to keep them quite government will give them some ministry, a house in Goa or increase the Hajj subsidy.

So when the muslims led by some of the most fundamentalist among them, cried foul, the congress government could have very easily kept them quit by these methods. Which did not happen. Because every one wanted this issue to escalate. And rest is history.

As long as the issue was alive it gave birth to several good things. The Marxist historians wrote imaginary histories to support illegitimate Muslims claims such as “there was no temple in Ayodhyaa”. There was no destruction of any temple there. RSS VHP never had any intellectual base. They were caught unaware in this propaganda and they lacked support to refute this.

It was made to appear that BJP and co. have unearthed some imaginary issue. Sita Ram Goel came to the rescue and later Mr. Lal. These two historians of rare breed refuted all Marxists claims in such an away that I haven’t heard these people talking on the issue again. In fact Sita Ram Goel documented cases of 2000 temples that were destroyed by muslims. No one has yet refuted even a single instance from his book.

Whats the point in talking about things that happened few hundred years ago some would argue. Ignorance of history is what Indian are happy to live with. But in this particular case, Hindu claim on the land is old yet continuous. The muslim argument however is more of arrogance and notorious.

We as a nation  failed to build a system where we could legally do what is just and correct. Our secular institutions tried to be politically correct and search for parity even when sufficient evidence was brought before it. It was our failure and we are paying a price.

To end we will see what Sir. Naipaul had to say

(P): The people who climbed on top of these domes and broke them were not bearded people wearing saffron robes and with ash on their foreheads. They were young people clad in jeans and tee shirts.

(N): One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the tee shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can?t dismiss it. You have to try to harness it.

Hitherto in India the thinking has come from the top. I spoke earlier about the state of the country: destitute, trampled upon, crushed. You then had the Bengali renaissance, the thinkers of the nineteenth century. But all this came from the top. What is happening now is different. The movement is now from below.

Part 2 : BJP and Ramjanmabhumi

Home | Experts’ Opinion | Sir V.S. Naipaul


About Sir V.S. Naipaul

The wanderer who writes of cultures in upheaval. Trinidad-born author V.S. Naipaul, 69, who was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize in 2001,writes eloquently about cultures in upheaval, describing at first hand the loneliness of the refugee. He has often been described as a man without a country despite having lived in Britain for nearly half a century. Author of more than two dozen books and already showered with literary prizes; his life and art have been a series of journeys as he has sought to find a niche in several worlds. The outspoken author, who famously said he is without rival, has increasingly courted controversy in latter years, recently attacking the work and reputations of distinguished authors.

Naipaul, who gained a knighthood to become Sir Vidia, has sharply criticised what he saw as backwardness and corruption in his native West Indies and elsewhere in the developing world from India to Africa. But in his books An Area of Darkness and India: A Wounded Civilisation Naipaul showed distaste for what he thought was intolerance, fanaticism and self-satisfaction there. In 1971, he became the first non-British author to receive Britain’s most valuable literary prize for fiction, the Booker Award, for his 11th novel In a Free State. V.S. Pritchett, once called him “the greatest living writer in the English language”. We bring to our readers a very valuable interview of Sir V S Naipaul on the Ayodhya issue.


The basic ethos of the Shri Rama Janmabhoomi movement is to restore the honour of the Hindu Samaj (society) and Hindu culture. It is not just an issue of bricks and mortar. The renowned Vidiadhar S Naipaul has very tellingly expressed this, when he said:
What is happening in India is a new historical awakening ?. Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Given the response received from the masses in India and other places in the world for the Shri Rama Janmabhoomi movement, Shri Rama is clearly at the heart of our civilization and a major unifying force. There is no section, no region, of the Hindu Samaj that does not exhibit a deep attachment to Shri Rama. This empathy is strongly exhibited not only in other lands where Hindus have settled, but also where the indigenous people accepted Hindu culture, as in the entire Southeast Asia.

To understand the true ethos of the entire Rama Janmabhoomi Movement, it would be pertinent to quote Shri Vidiadhar Naipaul, the great thinker and litterateur whose literary genius, ruthless objectivity and deep perspective of history has been acclaimed the world-over.He was interviewed by Dilip Padgaonkar published in the Times of India, on 18th July, 1993, under the caption “An area of Awakening”, and again by Rahul Singh published in Times of India on 25th January, 1998 under the caption “Hindus, Muslims have lived together without understanding each other?s faith”, and by Sadanand Menon published in The Hindu under the caption “The truth governs writing”. The portions of the three interviews relevant to this point are reproduced below:

“An area of awakening”

Interview by Dilip Padgaonkar
The Times of India,
18 July 1993.

Padgaonkar (P): The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of Islamic nations in Central Asia, the Salman Rushdie affair, similar harassment by fundamentalists of liberal Muslim intellectuals in India: all these factors taken together persuaded some forces to argue that a divided Hindu society cannot counteract Islamic fundamentalism.

Naipaul (N): I don?t see it quite in that way. The things you mentioned are quite superficial. What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. Gandhi used religion in a way as to marshal people for the independence cause People who entered the independence movement did it because they felt they would earn individual merit.

Today, it seems to me that Indians are becoming alive to their history. Romila Thapar?s book on Indian history is a Marxist attitude to history, which in substance says: there is a higher truth behind the invasions, feudalism and all that. The correct truth is the way the invaders looked at their actions. They were conquering, they were subjugating. And they were in a country where people never understood this.

Only now are the people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalizing of India. Because of the nature of the conquest and the nature of Hindu society such understanding had eluded Indians before.What is happening in India is a mighty creative process. Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on, especially if these intellectuals happen to be in the United States. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

However, we are aware of one of the more cynical forms of liberalism: it admits that one fundamentalism is all right in the world. This is the fundamentalism they are really frightened of: Islamic fundamentalism. Its source is Arab money. It is not intellectually to be taken seriously etc. I don?t see the Hindu reaction purely in terms of one fundamentalism pitted against another. The reaction is a much larger response?. Mohammedan fundamentalism is essentially negative, a protection against a world it desperately wishes to join. It is a last ditch fight against the world.

But the sense of history that the Hindus are now developing is a new thing. Some Indians speak about a synthetic culture: this is what a defeated people always speak about. The synthesis may be culturally true. But to stress it could also be a form of response to intense persecution.

(P): How did you react to the Ayodhya incident?

(N): Not as badly, as the others did, I am afraid. The people who say that there was no temple there are missing the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the country (that) he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an act of contempt for the country. In Turkey, they turned the Church of Santa Sophia into a mosque. In Nicosia churches were converted into mosques too. The Spaniards spent many centuries re-conquering their land from Muslim invaders. So these things have happened before and elsewhere.

In Ayodhya the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult. It was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Rama, which was two or three thousand years old.