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.

Vande Mataram and Islam

It is very annoying to see that everyone around you is more happier to live in darkness despite of knowing where the light is. Or it can be other way round as well that I am in darkness and all others are in the true light. But no one so far has managed to convince me.

An organization of Muslim clerics declared that “Vande Mataram” is unislamic. Now there were two reactions expected. One from the secularists and another from the so-called hindutva organizations. If one thinks that both these camps would fight over the issue, one will make a mistake. They will certainly fight each other but their basic understanding of the issue is inherently the same.

Should the state force a song on its citzens or not is purely a state affair and hence must be dealt with true secularism. It is certainly a right of people to study a religion and declare something “unislamic”, “unhindu” or “blasphemy”. But I dont see a need for the state to bother about what does a book say about things which are not at all religious.

But see how the secularists respond. They are shocked. They now instead try to prove that “Vande Mataram” is in coherence with Islam. How the Quran should be interpreted in order to make it look like something that permits Muslims to sing vande mataram. Using religious arguments to counter religion’s attack on secularism is the mistake that the have been doing for a long time.

Imagine tomorrow the same organization gives away a fatawah saying “frisking muslims is unislamic” will the government refer to Quran and argue with them that it is not the way to interpret Quran? Shouldnt it say “If it is unislamic, so be it.” ? Failure of our leaders to do so has costed us so much. Instead the secular camp has bent before the Communal demands of various religions from time and now.

If someone considers RSS and similar organizations to be the nemesis of Secular camp they will be making a gross mistake. The Sar-Sanghchalak says

I don’t think any religion is against desh bhakti. To say Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram is not like a religious puja or idol worship.

Isnt this the same thing? Now I hear that Sangh has also offered to translate Vande Mataram in Urdu. The difference between the secular and RSS approach apparently has absolutely no difference. And both these approaches are essentially deviating from the secular principles over which we are supposed to function.

By using such arguments the leaders are actually legitimizing the “living by the book”. In a long run the public is only going to demand that the state policies be modeled on these books that are written thousand year old.