I know it is more than a little late to sit down and comment on the indigestibility of the entire Babri episode - its ghastly demolition, the unbearably long gestation of the title suit in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri case, and the recent regurgitation of a judicial verdict by the Allahabad High court that had little to do with justice or law. Still - I thought I would voice the following.
India is held hostage by its own people, a relatively small but highly volatile, right wing, communal hindutva group which who threaten the fabric of our democratic constitution. And, we all cow down before them. We encourage them with our apprehensions, and strengthen them with our fears. The entire Babri Masjid epic has been fuelled, burnt and finally, recently disposed, by these fears of the thinking and comfortable middle class, who refused to take a visible, vocal, and secular stance, favoring instead their own peaceful comfort, prior to, during and post-demolition of the Babri masjid. This despite episodes of extreme violence, despite thousands who were killed, and despite the innumerable lives destroyed. As a nation we continue to exist in this same immoral daze of fear plus apathy.
Prior to the judgment day, appeals rang out - appeals made from the highest office in the country - that citizens maintain peace. It is strange to appeal for peace at pronouncement of justice – for any nation. And who were the appeals made to? To the knowing and ignoring middle class? Or to the minority community of Muslims, lest they take on Ramrajya?? No. The appeals were directed to the same segment that had demolished the Masjid and were rumbling warnings even before the judgment day. A Just Peace is not to be appealed, beseeched, requested but disciplined into habit and willed into necessary action. The nation, and by representation, our government, lacks both the will and the discipline to enforce peace rooted firmly in justice – as defined by our constitution.
And then the verdict came….
Eighteen years after the demolition of Babri Masjid, the verdict did not ring out with truth, did not proclaim justice, did not uphold with respect and honor the ideals pronounced by our constitution. It instead attempted to negotiate an unequal compromise in favor of communal peace and harmony, and in doing so proclaimed the violators, desecrators, miscreants - victorious. There was jubilation by the Hindu right and relief by the minority Muslims that blood would not be shed, nor homes destroyed or lives ruined – a virulent mafia had been appeased. The verdict reeked of justice being sold out in favor of peace - a cowardly attempt that does not confront the illegitimate premise of the title suit, the illegal acts perpetrated, nor attempt to question if the statute of limitations runs out for Hindutva claims over a piece of real estate where those of Muslim faith had prayed for over three centuries. It compromises the real question of justice in favor of an unjust peace. And this has a historical precedence. Illegal acts committed over ownership by Babri masjid by members of a visible, powerful hindu majority have been condoned systematically by legal amendments to the prevailing status quo from 1949 onwards, gagging down a faith that had practiced here.
And now…we have an unjust peace. We have rendered our brothers and sisters of a minority faith mute, quiet, humbled that Indian justice has no place for their justice, Indian peace demands their acceptance of a secondary citizenship, and being Indian is really about being a hindu. A rich, vibrant, alive culture of a faith has been castrated by the rule book of Ram Rajya.