Then came Ayodhya. After India was ripped apart and ravaged by a dastardly communal carnage and a large-scale displacement of people on communal lines during the partition, the Ram Janmabhoomi controversy suddenly resurrected, after dying a peaceful death in the 19th century when the Nirmohi Akhara, promoted and funded by British colonial rulers, started a dispute over the site of the 15th-century mosque, called Babri Masjid, by claiming it to be built on Hindu god Rama’s birthplace. They lost the case in the British colonial court around 1885 and the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation died down only to rock the United Province (now Uttar Pradesh) in 1949. The agitation was resurrected by the Hindu Mahasabha-affiliated riot mongers, who went to file a civil suit against the Babri Masjid, which stood in Ayodhya without any controversy for centuries, by claiming that the land over which the Babri Masjid stood belonged to an ancient Rama Temple and it was the birthplace of Rama, the Hindu mythological figure revered by North Indian upper-caste Hindus. It all started rolling under the rule of the Congress Party and the blue-eyed-boy of the secularists, Jawaharlal Nehru.
The Nehru regime didn’t try to resolve the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi controversy, which the Hindu Mahasabha started in the post-colonial India to distract the people from the heinous role the organisation and the RSS played in the assassination of M.K. Gandhi in 1948. Nathuram Godse was hanged to death along with his accomplice and the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, which was a lathi-wielding fascist stormtrooper organisation employed by the British colonial rulers to divide and disrupt the anti-colonial struggle of the people, were despised by the people for their notorious role in killing Gandhi. Hindutva camp had been at the verge of collapse. The Ram Janmabhoomi controversy was the much-required oxygen for the Hindutva camp, then led by fascist ideologues like M.S. Golwalkar, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, V.D. Savarkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, etc., to revive its existence in the Indian political scenario.
In the post-1947 period, when the country was trying to heal the wounds inflicted by the fratricidal communal riots initiated by the British imperialist rulers and were not experiencing any real change from the British colonial rule under the reign of the utmost reactionary Nehru regime, the war cry for a Ram Temple couldn’t carve a trench in the battlefield where the poor were fighting for bread, employment, clothing and housing. Nehruvian socialism started duping the people into believing that it will build an egalitarian, secular and modern India, while the money from public exchequer was actually invested in building the public sector industries that would be milked by the private sector, which was led by the utmost reactionary comprador capitalists, who were neither secular nor modern but the friends of the Congress, to grow their own business. A large section of the North Indian urban population wanted to trust the Nehru government over its promises of socialism; however, whenever their faith waned, a communal riot will be triggered here and there to distract their attention and to prevent them from uniting against the Nehru regime. So, Jawaharlal Nehru too, needed the Ram Janmabhoomi controversy over the Babri Masjid site to keep the political situation under control and thus, his regime locked the gates of the Babri Masjid in 1949 and declared it as a disputed site, soon after the Hindu Mahasabha men installed the deities of Rama and Sita in the mosque to deceive the people.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan went to coma for decades after 1949, only to surface in the mid-1980s, after the expelled Janata Party leaders, who earlier joined the bandwagon of Jayaprakash Narayan’s anti-emergency coalition and merged the RSS’ political mass organisation, the Bhartiya Jan Sangh, with the Janata Party, built a new party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under the RSS’ guidance. Rama and the Ram Janmabhoomi movement appeared to be the comfortable issues that the new party could harp on to build up a strong support base among the politically-backward and disgruntled upper-caste and backward caste Hindus in North and West India, where Rama is revered.
Though Hindutva, the fascist doctrine conceived and nurtured by the toxic thoughts of Vinayak Savarkar, Deendayal Upadhyay and M.S. Golwalkar, became the official guiding ideology of the BJP, the Congress Party under Rajiv Gandhi, in its attempt to deceive the upper-caste Hindu voters, opened the locks of the Babri Masjid through a court order to allow the worship of the deities within the mosque campus. The Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi literally handed-over the entire Ayodhya city to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which was then carrying the BJP over its shoulders and supplying the newly-formed reincarnation of the Jan Sangh with manpower and monetary support.
The Rajiv Gandhi government’s permission to open the gates of the Babri Masjid and its proactive initiation of Hindu rituals within the Babri Masjid was an act of encroachment by the ruling classes upon the religious freedom of the Muslim community enshrined in the Constitution. The gambling of Rajiv Gandhi paid-off for a while and the Congress reaped the electoral benefits, however, it was the BJP that soon hijacked the issue and made it a survival kit for itself. The six-year-period from the unlocking of the gates of the Babri Masjid in 1986 to the demolition of the ancient mosque in 1992 was filled with several political upheavals that changed India and fragmented its society to a very perilous extent, bringing a sudden collapse in the communal harmony that was built brick-by-brick by the democratic and progressive forces since the partition and the subsequent riots of late 1940s.
When Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th December 1992 by a feral mob of Hindutva-incensed criminals led by riot-monger Lal Krishna Advani, it signalled the advent of an unapologetic version of communal politics at the main-stage of the Indian polity; the mainstreaming of what was fringe and often rebuked as a cacophony of the sick-minded rioters, actually started with full fanfare. Lal Krishna Advani became the hero, the most dark-shaded hero indeed for the upper-caste Hindu feudal landlords, comprador and crony capitalists and foreign corporations at a time when the Soviet Union disintegrated and India had to embrace the neo-liberal economic model as per the diktat issued by the US-controlled IMF. Following the mass struggle for independence in Kashmir, the Muslims were semi-officially portrayed as villains by the ruling classes, across all platforms, to promote disunity and spread mistrust among the people in order to desist them from uniting against the loot and plunder by the foreign capital and its Indian lackeys.
Thanks to the BJP, and also the Congress, India became one of the first countries to officially promote Islamophobia after Zionist Israel, from which the Hindutva camp always drew inspiration. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and their coterie were destined to rule the country, in lieu of the service they rendered to the US and Western corporations, so, the entire system allowed them to flourish with legal immunity from Babri Masjid demolition enquiry. With the support of the foreign corporations and the Indian crony-comprador capitalists, Vajpayee formed his government in 1998 and ruled India until 2004. Lal Krishna Advani, who masterminded the demolition of the Babri Masjid, became the second Deputy Prime Minister of India. The foreign corporations, banks and their Indian lackeys allowed the BJP to kindle the flames of communal riots and large-scale genocides like the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom of Gujarat under Narendra Modi and the 2013 anti-Muslim pogrom of Muzaffarnagar, which eventually helped the big capital to reap more profit from the Indian soil, where people’s resistance was weakened by communal sabotages.
When the state and its corporate media vilifies Muslim youth, arrested abruptly due to their religious belief and then slapped with false charges of terrorism or terror plotting, to support the anti-Muslim doctrine of the Indian ruling classes, which conforms to the doctrine of the ruling classes of the US, the UK, Zionist Israel and many Western imperialist countries, no questions are raised by the mainstream corporate media against these police-milled fabricated tales. However, the same media units refrain from shaming the BJP and other Hindutva outfit leaders, who had been instrumental in demolishing the Babri Masjid. These frenzy media outlets that sell nationalism to the upper-caste elites and middle-class to increase TRP and readership, often remains mute spectator or reluctant broadcasters when the RSS’ head or the eminence grise like Subramanian Swamy openly declares their intention of establishing a Ram Temple at the site of the Babri Masjid. They feel uncomfortable to question the ethics and the morale of the hate mongers, but they miss no chance, whenever they get it, to vilify the Muslim community and relate it either to Pakistan or its synonym, terrorism to score brownies.
The media alone is not in fault. It’s the entire Indian state-machinery that is faulted. The state-machinery that questions a 24-year-old girl’s decision to convert to Islam and marry a man of her choice and force her to live with a “guardian” when she demands to live with her husband – can be anything, but impartial and unbiased. The country where the jails are overloaded with Dalit, Tribal and Muslim prisoners, while the upper-caste Hindu criminals largely roams scot-free, couldn’t have done justice with the Muslim community, which it calls the “other”, due to the inherent Hindutva fascist outlook of the state.
Babri Masjid demolition was an unethical, bigotry-fuelled act of religious terrorism and it was a punitive crime. However, crime pays under the Hindutva state in India, as the criminals are not even prosecuted, leave alone condemned and punished, for their deeds. Rather, Advani and his accomplices lived a happy life without being jailed, out of prison and even enjoyed the taste of power and prestige. Their party is in power almost everywhere in India and these mobsters will be soon canonized for their contribution towards saffronising India and ushering it into the darkest night of doom and despair. Numerous pages of Liberhan Commission Report has found its place in the bin of bureaucracy as the state and the ruling classes love the Ram Janmabhoomi controversy and loathe the Babri Masjid or anything remotely Mughal or traced to Muslims.
It’s not that the Narendra Modi regime is the sole culprit for this nasty scheme. All parliamentary parties, of all hues, shades and ideological orientation, are equally responsible for letting these hate mongers thrive and prosper. The regime of the Congress had extended support to the wellbeing of criminals and riot mongers like Advani and other BJP leaders. The Congress kept the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah clique immune from any legal repercussions for their nasty role behind the anti-Muslim pogrom of Gujarat, it helped Narendra Modi to ascend to the throne of New Delhi with utmost ease and never did any SP or BSP government in Uttar Pradesh try to take punitive action against the rioters who forever drew lines of communal demarcations across the state.
As we reach the 25th year of the dark day in the history of India’s secularism, 6th December 2017, we have to accept that the entire state machinery has a Hindutva bias and it cannot do justice to the people of oppressed communities like the Muslims, Dalits, Tribals and Christians, who are considered expendable by it and their killing is celebrated by the ruling establishment and their agony in the reign of injustice is totally ignored. Despite constructing commissions to investigate the pogroms, consecutive regimes didn’t take any action against the perpetrators of the crimes, which encourage the rioters and mass murderers of the BJP and other Hindutva fascist outfits to become more fearless and attack the hapless Muslims, wherever they come across.
To be a truly democratic and progressive modern nation, India needs a drastic and revolutionary change in the way it’s run. Until the country will be ruled by the boot-licking lackeys of comprador and crony capitalists, arch-reactionary feudal landlords and their master, the foreign monopoly and finance capital, there cannot be a truly secular and democratic system functional. Democracy comes handy with justice and it brings egalitarianism. The approach of the liberals, who pretend that the system is right but the demolition of Babri Masjid is an exception is wrong. It must be understood and agreed upon that the Babri Masjid demolition was a pre-planned act, which had state-endorsement. The culprits are the ruling classes and until the time they keep ruling India such heinous acts will be repeated and communal elements like Yogi Adityanath and Narendra Modi will ascend to power. The only way to stop these vanguards of communalism and unthrone them lies in the strenuous task of uniting the people and leading them with a long-term vision to achieve democracy and establish socialism and secularism, the two powerful weapons that can weed away the scourge of communalism and bigotry from India. Without marching on the path towards these goals, there is no shortcut or easy substitute available for the country and its people.
An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker