The Moving Finger Writes
Coming to terms with the past
What is the matter with us? Why do we constantly take pride in beating our breasts and admitting to imaginary wrong-doings when there is no earthly reason for doing either? The disputed structure at Ayodhya issue has been discussed threadbare, ad infinitum to the point that the very mention of it is sufficient for a vomit. Some questions that need to be faced, but never have been, must now be raised, the disputed structure issue has a history of over a century and quarter and was first raised when the British were in power. The British ducked it. It wasn't in their interest to face it fair and square. The issue, however, needed to be resolved, one way or other. If Muslims had the grace and goodwill to concede a standing plea, their place in India and every Hindu heart would have been eternally etched.
It was General Musharraf who once said that Hindus and Muslims have to come to terms with the past. Conceding to Hindus their most emotive plea would have brought glory to Muslims as understanding and warm-hearted fellow citizens. That, they refused to do. And the consequences are all too well known. The issue let it be said, is more than the demolition of a mosque in disuse. It is a reflection of Islam's refusal to admit to its own guilt for which it has never been punished. Our secularists will immediately point out that the past is past and should not now be focused on. But the disputed structure is only a part—and a very small part at that—of the larger issue of Islamic crimes committed in India for centuries. These have to be boldly faced, if peace between the two communities is to be established in India.
One can forgive but why should one forget all the atrocities the succeeding Muslim rulers committed in India for which they have never paid? The evil that men do, as Shakespeare said, lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. Almost from day one, Islam committed atrocities in India that must be fully detailed for the edification of its Indian followers today. It all began first in 712 AD when Mohammad Qasim from Iraq invaded India, and in the words of a historian "demolished temples, shattered sculptures, killed vast number of men—it took his soldiers three days to slaughter the inhabitants of the port city of Debal—and carried off their women and children to slavery".
Subsequently, under orders from the Iraqi ruler, Qasim's men massacred between 6000 and 16,000 men for good measure. What Ghazni Mohammad did was worse. In his book A New History of India, Stanley Wolpert writes that Ghazni Mohammad's Court Chronicler "claimed that 10,000 temples were destroyed in Kanauj alone". Mohammad's sacking of Somnath Temple is old story. The Shivalinga was smashed to pieces and these were then transported to Mecca, Medina and Baghdad to become objects to be trampled by people.
What Mohammad Ghori and his lieutenants did in the last quarter of the 12th century as did Jalaluddin Khilji in the 13th, in destroying temples and breaking idols is best left unsaid. Aurangzeb, obviously learnt much from these barbarians. Why are these stories recounted? That is to tell our liberal secularists and apologists that we have a tragic past, that that past continues to haunt Hindus often causing deep emotional pain. How can these memories be erased? Has anyone thought of that? How many masjids in India's long history have ever been demolished by Hindu rulers? Would the disputed structure have been demolished if only Muslim organisations had shown some sensitivity to Hindu feelings to understand and positively respond to their earnest pleas?
The earlier existence of a temple devoted to Sri Ram on the site where stood the disputed structure has been challenged. Heartless arguments have been adduced to prove that Hindus have no right to ask for the Babri site. The very existence of Sri Ram has been questioned more by Hindu secularists than by Muslims themselves. It is even possible to believe that Muslim organisations would have been willing to concede the disputed site to Hindus were it not for the vicious backing they received from secularists. And what, pray, would the Liberhan Report, submitted after 16 years of deliberation and at a cost of Rs nine crores, want us to do? Damn L K Advani? Kalyan Singh? P V Narasimha Rao? Would that erase the anger and frustration among Hindus caused by thoughtless secularists who want Hindus to forget the past? Is it mean to coerce Muslim votes?
We learn that in Saudi Arabia (which wouldn't allow a single non-Muslim centre of worship to be built on its soil) masjids are routinely demolished if they are in any way found to be redundant. In India we give a masjid long out of use and one which has a bad reputation, greater prominence than to a temple dedicated to divinity which had been sacked and the idol of the presiding deity disfigured. Haven't our secularists any sense of values? Muslim organisations have no hesitation in pronouncing a sense of grievance. Haven't Hindus any equal right to have a sense of grievance against the demolition of not one but literally thousands of temples in daily use? One British traveller from Surat to Delhi in the late 17th century has recorded that during his long journey he had not seen a single Hindu temple. India was not plagued by secularists then and if there were any, they would have been effectively silenced. What is wrong with Hindu psyche? The more our secularists damn Hinduism the more aggrieved do Muslims sound, which is a clever tactic. It is as if Hindus have demolished thousands of masjids and gotten away with the crime.
Even the disputed structure would not have been demolished but would have been respectfully dismantled if Muslims had shown some sensitivity to Hindu feelings.
But the Hindus want to show the world how guilt-conscious they are.
Hindu temples can be pulled down in Malayasia and not a word of protest would be lodged.
In Qaziristan the Taliban can levy a jazia (tax) of Rs 60 lakhs on non-Muslims with the threat that that they either pay or get killed. Many reportedly left their ancient homes.
Not a dog barked.
The saddest part of it all is that in all these years not a single Muslim intellectual in India has stood up to their co-religionists and had the courage and decency—let alone grace—to say that in the matter of the disputed structure Hindus may have a case that should be conceded with warmth and goodwill if only to make amends for that past, in howsoever small a measure.
As for the Liberhan Report its best place is in the stinking dustbin. Only a people sick and with no self-respect, will give it even a single, let alone a second, thought. Seeking the disputed site to build a temple to Sri Ram is not communalism, no matter what our secularists think. It is an assertion of self-respect and should be seen as such. Anything else is folly.
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