Turning tables

Completing 25 years is characteristically followed by celebrations in silver; yet, the same wasn't spelt out for yesterday. December 6, 1992, is remembered by most Indians as the day they wish they could quickly erase from their memory. The gore, ruthlessness and mercilessness of a collective populace, our populace, was pulled to display in broad daylight, sacrificing the ideals of our democracy, impinging upon our secular nation and castrating any individual idea of ethics or peace. The Babri Masjid demolition is still remembered by many as a game changer that altered the narrative of modern-day Indian politics. The latent communalism of our society was no longer restricted to designated spaces or colours of individual orientation. It ran over its brim to flood the society, inundating it with the vices of apathy, hatred and suspicion. When India declared itself to be a secular nation in 1947, the leaders then probably hadn't anticipated the consequences it would bear for decades to come. The fact that secularism would still be debatable, unacceptable to many and under constant threat probably did not engage their foresight. Even 25-years later, the debate to grasp the land of Ayodhya continues to persist. A 16th-century mosque, Babri Masjid was built on the land that Hindus claim belongs entirely to Lord Rama. It is bewildering, how in the 21st century, persistent wars are still fought on the basis of mythological figures whose basis of existence remains shrouded in mystery, folklore and myth. Karsevaks demolished the Masjid under the firm belief that the land belonged entirely to Rama and a temple once stood there which was demolished during the Mughal era. This suddenly becomes relevant for contention to fanatics of the 20th century whose literal engagement with history is questionable, naive and myopic. What happened 25-years back was an impingement upon humanity, a mistake, a vile display of fanaticism that must under all costs be condemned. No individual, mob, or political party is entrusted with the responsibility of bringing down a historical or religious structure because they believe it belonged to Rama, whose existence again is immensely questionable. The Allahabad High Court had passed its order dividing the 2.77 acres of land between the Hindus, Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara, denying the permission for setting up any construction on either site. The ruling did not suit the sensibilities of either party involved, each remained resolute to their claim. A day before the 25th anniversary of the dreaded breakdown of the Babri Masjid, the Supreme Court went on to hear the petitions yet again. It rejected the plea of the Sunni Wakf Board to postpone the Ayodhya hearings to 2019, stating that the day-to-day hearing would commence from February 2018. What happened in 1992 was unfortunate and regrettable, but what has unfolded thereafter has been a new dynamic in Indian politics. The communal forces have suddenly gained precedence, whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim has become unassumingly relevant. Playing into this sentiment, and often accentuating it, political parties have battled the Ayodhya crisis, negating the ideological relevance of such an event and how it compromises upon the Indian Constitution. Over 2000 people were killed in 1992 as a result of the riots that broke out across Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid collapse. 58 Hindu activists were attacked and killed while returning from Ayodhya to Godhra in Gujarat in 2002. Consequently, anywhere between 1000 and 2000 people, were killed across Gujarat as riots broke out following the train attack. While Rama sits in heaven and Babur rests in his tomb, the people of 20th century India, who largely have no inkling of either, have laid their lives to contend the supremacy of either. First, it displays that to Indians their culture, history and tradition is important; second, it also displays that Indians are incapable of practising restraint, even when it is actually for their own personal benefit. History is important for knowledge and as a premise for the future—but we must never forget that history is always contentious. As the Supreme Court goes on to attend the Ayodhya hearing in February 2018, mass violence and protests are expected to erupt across India. The ideal solution would possibly be to not concede to anybody's demands. The Supreme Court can lay an essential milestone if it is able to tackle the Ayodhya verdict, practising maximum rationality. God is omnipresent and we are a secular country committed to preserving the essence of every religion practised within our territory. The land that has been so disputed, that has been the source of endless bloodshed could be productively utilised to represent India's glory as a bastion of multi-religiosity. It can house a theatre, a museum, a school of arts and culture. It can be utilised as a home protecting victims of sexual abuse, or those that have been abandoned by their families and roam hopelessly across the streets of India. That would be a more holy act than mumbling meaningless chants inside while committing larceny outside the quarters.