From Mandir Wahin Banayenge Until Now
The political situation prevailing at present in India can be attributed largely to the demolition of the Babri Masjid by thousands of karsevaks on 6 December 1992, when Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti captained a mob of incensed karsevaks to the site of the Babri Masjid, which the VHP and other Hindutva outfits affiliated with the RSS called the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram following a 19th century dispute.
Before the Babri Masjid was demolished by the RSS and VHP led feral mob at the insistence of Advani and other BJP leaders, the Hindutva camp, especially the VHP used the context of the Babri Masjid and Ram Temple dispute initiated by the predecessor of Yogi Adityanath’s mentor, Digvijay Nath, an accused in the conspiracy of Gandhi’s assassination, to arouse the wave of Hindutva to gain political mileage for the saffron camp. The entire Ram Mandir agitation and the call for the demolition of the 15th-century mosque were carried out by the VHP and the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Parishad, which contested with the RSS in weaning upper-caste Hindutva supporters.
After splitting from the Janta Parivar on the question of not leaving the membership of the RSS, the former BJS leaders under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani formed the BJP, which soon hijacked the Ram Temple issue from the VHP and gained momentum following the post-Mandal upper-caste discontent in India. The VHP was forced to oblige the BJP and the RSS and follow their lead in a political game it masterminded decades ago. The manpower that the BJP managed to secure using the influence of the VHP and the RSS by spreading crude form of Islamophobia among the post-colonial Indians, helped the party to multiply its political fortune in Indian parliamentary politics.
During the height of the Ram Mandir and anti-Mandal agitation by the upper-caste privileged Hindus, there were no political party or group in the sight, including the parliamentary left, that could throw a serious challenge to the hate mongering and riot instigating conspiracies of the RSS led saffron camp with Advani at the helm. All parties were trying to distance themselves from the BJP, without condemning its nefarious acts, and they refrained from initiating a large-scale movement to uphold secularism and national unity by fighting communalism.
The parliamentary left that today calls itself a champion of secularism and is battling the RSS in a crude political power wresting competition in the feudal heartland of Kerala at present, held the hands of Advani and Vajpayee to form an alliance against the Congress Party led by Rajiv Gandhi and helped in the formation of a united government with V.P. Singh at its helm.
It is not that the RSS only subscribed to the jaundiced outlook of Hindutva, but the same ideology was also shared per se by the Congress Party that loves to call itself as the true defender of India’s secularism. Under the leadership of Nehru, the Congress Party fanned excessive Hindutva passion for outwitting the RSS in Gujarat and for weaning the upper-caste feudal Hindu Gujaratis to its side.
The re-establishment of the ancient Somnath temple was done by the government of Nehru using the people’s money to appease the communal passion of the North Indian upper-caste Hindus and upper-caste Gujarati usurers and compradors, who strongly believed that the ancient temple was demolished by the Muslims to make India an Islamic country.
The government of Indira Gandhi did extreme appeasement of the self-styled Hindu godmen and criminal turned spiritual gurus to get the votes from their followers. These Hindu gurus used their influence, in turn, on the Congress Party and its government, to have some of the heinous Hindutva agenda see the light of the day.
It was the RSS that stood behind the Congress like a strong pillar of support during India’s military adventurism with China and Pakistan; it also supported the Indira Gandhi regime to unleash fascist terror on the people of the country through the draconian national emergency.
In 1986, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ordered Bir Bahadur Singh, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, to open the locks of the Babri Masjid and in 1989, the Gandhi scion also allowed the foundation stone laying for a future temple at the site of the mosque, which was then disputed and the matter was sub-judice.
The Rajiv Gandhi government and the subsequent governments led by V.P. Singh and Chandrashekhar, helped the militant Hindutva groups through their soft-Hindutva peddling, to acquire mass base by instigating communal passion and using vitriol to demonise the Muslim community before the majority Hindu community.
It was with the help of this militant and bigotry filled movement for a Ram Temple at the place of the Babri Masjid that the BJP managed to polarise a large vote bank of upper-caste Hindu voters and a section of Dalits in North and West India. Advani started his infamous Rath Yatra (chariot journey) from the very Somnath in Gujarat, which was symbolically used by the Hindutva brigade in the pre-Babri demolition days as an ideal for the Hindus, where the latter’s temple triumphed even after being smashed 17 times in the history.
Advani started his infamous journey in September 1990, during the reign of the Janta government, and his yatra reached its climax in December 1992, when the centre was ruled by a Congress-led government and the BJP was ruling Uttar Pradesh. It won the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in 1991, by cunningly fanning communal passion and by tweaking the anti-Muslim xenophobia in the state. In the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, it was BJP’s major and maiden victory, which scripted the party’s future victories in several parliamentary and state assembly elections for the next 25 years.
Soon after Advani began his journey, Prime Minister V.P. Singh started appeasing the RSS leadership in a most shameless manner to ensure that the latter drop its hatred filled violent agenda. The pursuance failed and Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav, the then chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar respectively and part of the same Janata family at that time, plunged into the murky water to carry out their part of reverse polarisation of Muslim votes.
On one hand, through an adventurist attempt to garner Muslim votes, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s government suddenly imposed a ban on the karsevaks entering the Babri Masjid site and worshipping the Ram idol installed in the mosque by Rajiv Gandhi’s government. On the other hand, the Bihar government led by Lalu Prasad Yadav arrested Advani, while the latter attempted to enter the state during his journey in October 1990 and detained him for a short while.
The ban on religious rites in the Babri Masjid compound fuelled the Hindutva temperaments among the upper-caste Hindu elites of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, who spent millions of rupees to hire hooligans as karsevaks and parcel them to Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. The police fired upon the karsevaks in October 1990, under a conspiracy to evoke Hindutva passion and build up more hatred against the Muslim community among the majority Hindus. More than 15 hooligans were shot by the police during their attempt to seize the mosque and unfurl the saffron flag atop. The police firings helped the notorious BJP leader cum Bajrang Dal founder, Vinay Katiyar, to encourage more trouble by bringing in a large contingent of hoodlums to carry out the karseva and thereby, incite a riot in the town and its neighbourhood.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s government soon revoked the orders that banned entry into the Babri Masjid compound and thereby helped his accomplices in the saffron camp to carry out their nefarious plans. Mulayam Singh Yadav soon formed his own party Samajwadi Party, which has played a dubious role in the politics of India and has helped in the anti-Muslim agenda of the RSS through back channels.
Following the call of Advani and the two-year long vitriol filled propaganda drummed by the RSS against the Muslim community in general and the Babri Masjid in particular, the BJP and the RSS managed to bring forth a crowd of more than 150,000 lumpen karsevaks from all over the country. These people not only started vitiating the environment of Ayodhya but were also actively taking part in the RSS’ secret conspiracy to demolish the mosque, despite Kalyan Singh, the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh assuring the Supreme Court that the Babri Masjid will not be harmed. He also promised the karsevaks a Ram Temple in the spot. Kalyan Singh had to break one promise for keeping another, he chose to stick to the promise made to the Hindutva lobby.
The Congress government remained reluctant to maintain law and order in Ayodhya in the fear of a backlash from the pro-Brahminical administration and armed forces and kept appeasing the Kalyan Singh government, which pursued the RSS’ plan of demolishing the mosque using the feral mob of Hindutva bigots. As the only credible evidence that exists till date, the Newstrack video of the entire event showed clearly that the police and security forces were acting in connivance with the Hindutva mob and by faking an act of retreat, while charging teargas at the karsevaks on rampage, they were allowing the latter to enter into the mosque, which was later demolished using some sort of chemical or explosive from below, rather than from the dome as was told by the officials.
There was an attempt in the then corporate media to shield the RSS and the BJP from the allegations of the mosque’s destruction, which fanned communal riots throughout the country and resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people, majority of whom were Muslims, killed by the RSS thugs as well as by the state apparatus that went trigger happy only to contain the “Muslim menace” of the time.
The reporting by all leading mainstream media, both English and regional languages, showed the Babri Masjid demolition as a spontaneous act by over-enthusiastic mob of karsevaks who went berserk after being incensed with the Hindutva fanaticism by the radical elements of VHP. The tactical condemnation of the incident by the RSS and the BJP, which lacked the substance and was done to save their skin from the Supreme Court, was taken literally as gospel truth by the mainstream corporate media that tried to play the role of Advani-apologists.
Most of the media outlets, barring that of Newstrack and few more, showed the crime as an isolated incident and highlighted the condemnation of the Babri Masjid demolition by the BJP in New Delhi and Advani’s so-called “grief” after the incident as evidence to back up their loosely concocted tale. The BJP office managers in New Delhi, in 1992, had Narendra Modi, who answered back to back calls along with other team members to dissuade the press from not linking the BJP with the demolition but the VHP and other Hindutva outfits.
The RSS and the BJP managed to distance themselves from the act by putting the blame upon the VHP and the Shiv Sena, however, the Newstrack video recording showed how karsevaks from all camps colluded together to bring the mosque down and how, in the presence of the senior BJP leaders like Advani and Joshi, the deceased VHP leader and Hindutva fanatic Ashok Singhal kept tempting the hired foot soldiers to bring down the mosque by force.
An utmost pro-Hindutva police force, sourced from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, was deputed by the BJP government and the Centre at the site of the Babri Masjid and their officials, as shown in the Newstrack video, kept sipping tea while the karsevaks carried out the berserk just beneath their nose. Even the police constables denied firing on the mob out of their caste and communal allegiance to the karsevaks and carried out a silent mutiny while getting paid by the money taxed upon the poor of the country.
The cheerful Joshi and an over-enthusiastic Uma Bharti showed the camera how happy they were to see the Babri Masjid being brought down by the Hindutva mob led by the RSS and the Brahminical administration. Their photograph still shows the unapologetic grotesque face of Hindutva fanaticism, which is now, unfortunately, ruling the country with utmost impunity.
In the pre and the post-Babri Masjid demolition narratives of the mainstream media, Advani and the BJP were portrayed as strong opponents of the demolition and the VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena were portrayed as the main culprits. But these claims about the man and the party that kept persecuting the Muslim community for the next 25 years were blatant lies, milled by an upper-caste media to legitimise the illegal things done by the BJP, which was to become the future ruling party of India.
Advani was portrayed as a victim of circumstances to pave his way to power in the future, which was then clearly in the blueprint of the foreign monopoly and finance capital owned corporations, who were then given a free reign in the country under a neo-liberal economic order set in motion by the Brahminical conman P.V. Narasimha Rao led Congress government in the same year. The corporates saw a promising power in the RSS led Hindutva camp that can wreck the unity of the people easily with the stroke of bigotry and they needed these bigots badly.
Within a period of ten years, Advani became the last deputy prime minister of the country and he was projected by the corporate controlled mainstream media at that time as a tough statesman and a strong “nationalist”, the same attributes that Narendra Modi enjoys from his toady servile media at present. His tenure brought the laurels of fame for the Hindutva camp from the foreign monopoly capital and its comprador Indian allies and Advani played a crucial role in making India an official partner of the US and the Zionist Israel led military bloc to utilise the alliance in fanning Islamophobia in the country.
Through the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent Hindutva rhetoric milling, Advani and Vajpayee fanned the communal passion of the upper-caste Hindus of India for the next one decade with an uncompromising zeal and their efforts helped Ashok Singhal and his coterie of Hindutva mobsters to assemble again for another Ram Temple agitation in Babri Masjid in 2001, from where the conspiracy of Godhra and the aftermath, which included a planned state-sponsored genocide of more than 2000 Muslims in Narendra Modi governed Gujarat from the end of February to the first week of March 2002.
Towards the Modi-fied India
Narendra Modi, then an office bearer of the BJP, sat quietly beside Sunder Singh Bhandari (under whose gubernatorial tenure in Gujarat, Modi was picked up to lead the state and also organise the large-scale Muslim genocide of our times), then BJP vice president, and listened to the veteran RSS propagandist declining the media claims that the BJP played a crucial role in demolishing the Babri Masjid along with the VHP and Bajrang Dal.
A decade later, in 2002, he would refute claims that the BJP and his government played a more heinous role, under the patronage of the Vajpayee-led central government, in the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. The blame was shifted to the VHP and Bajrang Dal again in 2002, the same outfits that work hard to push BJP’s poll tally high since the 1980s.
Narendra Modi led the mobsters of Gujarat with complete impunity and an overtly saffronized Brahminical establishment stood by his nefarious, pro-corporate and anti-people communal policies with full vigour. The Indian law gave an unofficial immunity to the future premier and the heir apparent of Vajpayee and Advani, even when there remained a lot of evidence that showed his complicity in the Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom.
With the Gujarat genocide and the subsequent revival of a renewed Hindutva polarisation drive by a strong corporate-funded RSS and BJP, there have been no looking back for the saffron camp, which kept expanding throughout the country with the magic wand of Hindutva playing as its driving locomotive. Narendra Modi became the new poster boy of Hindutva for his role in appeasing the corporate houses and for being their saviour at every hour of crisis.
These qualities of Modi and his ability to manipulate facts and figures by using a servile media, made him the right choice for the premier’s post and helped him and Amit Shah to cast Advani, Joshi and other yesteryear Hindutva mavericks to the oblivion. Despite putting a lot of labour behind instigating communal riots and Hindutva polarisation, Advani could not cherish his dream of becoming the heir
Now that they have their own government at the centre and in Lucknow, probably the BJP will try to lay the foundation of the Ram Mandir at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid with utmost impunity. We try to review who all helped in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and how the demolition of the mosque catapulted the BJP to the echelon of power in New Delhi gradually. apparent of the cunning Hindutva ideologue and his mentor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and failed to wrest the premier’s position.
Narendra Modi not only advocates for an unapologetic Hindutva kingdom but also legitimises all type of fringe elements and activities as mainstream in Indian politics. So far, the Modi regime has been the most unapologetic servant of foreign monopoly capital in India and surpassed its predecessor Congress government in appeasing corporate giants and mixing Hindutva with the governance in the country.
In appeasing foreign monopoly and finance capital owned corporations and their Indian crony and comprador subsidiaries, Narendra Modi has left no stone unturned. His government has mastered the art of hyping the communal sentiments of the majority community and in using a populist clout of fighting “corruption”, which happens to be the favourite political cliché of the right-wing in India that got huge fan base, to divert the attention of the people from the most notorious programmes of the government that aims to sell off India and its natural and mineral resources to foreign corporations for a kick-back.
The Hindutva agenda is serving the interest of the Modi government well and its periodic reference to the Ram Mandir issue points to the people that the agenda is alive and the BJP will never let it die, while they are not allowed to see how the economy of the country is turned into a totally neo-colonial economic order by providing free reign to the foreign corporations and their Indian crony associates and how the nation’s society is divided along antagonistic communal lines to fuel infighting between different communities that will allow foreign and domestic corporate loot and plunder with full force.
The present course of the Ram Mandir agitation
Though the Ram Temple agitation by Advani and the subsequent demolition of the Babri Masjid by his followers on 6 December 1992 paved the way for the feral Hindutva fascism to conquer the country and the imagination of the majority Hindu community, which led to the formation of the Modi government in 2014 after traversing through some bitter and shaky coalition experiences in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but now the entire Ram Temple issue is now turned into a cow, that the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS milk before each crucial election to polarise the Hindu voters in the “cow belt” of India.
Though the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government will hasten the process of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, it will not let the temple vs mosque debate to die down soon, as letting the past to go away will certainly hamper the future poll prospects of the BJP in the entire cow-belt. The establishment of the temple may be shown as a proud achievement of the saffron camp, but it cannot be milked for a long term to win elections repeatedly. These issues are the cannon fodder for the Hindutva brigade and it helps them in controlling the mood of the hardcore Hindutva fans throughout the country. Letting them die-down will be suicidal for the RSS and its affiliates, including the BJP.
The BJP government can still start building the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya at the site of the Babri Masjid following the footsteps of Nehru, but delay the construction work by creating logistical or technical hurdles so that the upper-caste Hindu vote bank remains consolidated and a large section of the backward caste and Dalits are retained as hostages within the Hindutva fold by showing them that the temple construction work for years.
The start of the Ram temple construction at the Babri Masjid site will also help the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to instigate trouble in Varanasi for reclaiming the Gyan Vapi mosque, an issue over which the Advani led BJP differed with Ashok Singhal’s VHP in the past, and also to demolish the remnants of the Kamal-Maula mosque in Madhya Pradesh. They will claim their rights on one after another mosque by concocting tales of Muslim aggression to ignite communal passion and flames of bigotry among the politically backward masses and the privileged upper-caste Hindus of urban India.
The continuous flow of Hindutva trouble through the route of the Babri Masjid will help the RSS and the BJP to keep the flames of communal hatred safely flare throughout the country and use their usual vitriol against the Muslim community to sweep elections on the basis of extreme Hindu voter polarisation. The temple vs mosque agenda will also help the BJP to foray into new territories where traditionally the Hindutva fascists were weak despite having ideological penetration, like West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Tripura, etc. The one India, one leader, one party, one religion and one language agenda will be fuelled by the prolonging of this Ram Temple and Babri Mosque saga.
As long as no attempt is made to break the shackles of the corporate-funded communal polarisation drive of the Hindutva camp by uniting and streamlining the poor and exploited classes and the oppressed sections of the society, to build up a popular and extra-parliamentary opposition to the BJP and the RSS, with a transparent and focused political line and agenda, understood by the common working people, to provide economic relief to the poor and usher the nation to a realistic dawn of economic self-realisation, it will be impossible for any political party to kill the ill-effects of the Babri Masjid demolition that helped the saffron fascists to seize control of the country within a span of 22 years.
From Advani and Joshi to Modi and Yogi Adityanath, the country has experienced enough of Hindutva hate mongers; and these communal fascist bigots, funded by big foreign monopoly and finance capital owned corporations, never felt shy to contaminate the atmosphere of the country, slacken communal unity among the poor, and instigate genocide to exterminate Muslims and Christians. They used these notorious weapons to reap rich electoral harvest repeatedly and use their influence to rapidly radicalise the entire pro-Brahminical administration of the country.
Building up the opposition
It is a mammoth task today to combat the Hindutva fascism by uniting the democratic and progressive forces of the country and by uniting the oppressed people, especially the Dalits, Muslims, Christians and tribal people of the entire country. However, it cannot be successfully accomplished unless there is an uncompromising and an open political struggle waged by a new, progressive and visionary political front that will dare to take the country and its poor beyond the limitations set by the neo-liberal economic order and its corporate masters.
The task is imperative and it must be started with full vigour and vitality to ensure that the people of the country are equipped with the alternative politics that can be a lethal alternative to the toxic Hindutva and soft-Hindutva political stream.
The pivotal role in building this crucial extra-parliamentary and broad-based alternative can be played by the youth and especially those from the poor, backward and oppressed backgrounds. This alternative cannot be built by the privileged and upper-caste section of the society who have traditionally wrested control of almost all major political parties of India.
Such an alternative political front also must refrain from appeasing the urban middle-class alike other political parties and basically base itself among the common people, the working people, among whom the real antidote to the Hindutva fascism, strengthened by Advani and others through acts like the Babri Masjid demolition, dwells, and they will indeed be able to lead such a broad democratic and patriotic political front to exorcise the evil of Hindutva fascist xenophobia and communal bigotry from Indian politics forever.