I do not know why readers assume I'm interested in their messages to other columnists -- my inbox is perpetually flooded with mail written to others and CC'd to me! I do not know why readers imagine I need help with news-surfing -- a quarter of my mail constitutes opinions and items I've almost always read yesterday!
Take, for instance, the "news" about the 60 karsevaks being burned to death because they had abducted a 16-year-old Muslim girl: "She kept pleading and begging to them [sic] to stop beating her father and leave him alone. But instead of listening to her woes [sic], the kar kevaks [sic] lifted the young girl and took her inside their compartment S-6 and closed the compartment door shut." Forget the scores of Pakis who sent me that mass-circulated piece of shit, even Indian Muslims and Hindus used it to rationalise the incineration of the karsevaks. And this, amidst condemning me for supposedly justifying the massacre of the Muslims...
A variation of this "news" was produced by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post: "[Karsevaks] exposed themselves to other passengers. They pulled headscarves off Muslim women... They failed to pay for the tea and snacks they consumed at each stop," even quoting a mere deputy superintendent of police saying that the attack on Hindus "was not pre-planned", but "a sudden, provocative incident". No matter that Additional Director General (law and order) of Gujarat police J Mahapatra and The Hindustan Times (Godhra: A planned attack, March 3) and The Pioneer (Dastardly crime, March 1) and The Times of India (Attack could have been pre-planned, February 28) *and* the Intelligence Bureau, all indicate a pre-planned conspiracy. Chandrasekaran simply found "witnesses" he wanted to find.
For "secularists", Muslims always act with good reason, while "retaliation" is what fundamentalist forces, aka Hindus, indulge in. Remember the Radhabai Chawl bake-fest of 1993? This is the country where, while reporting a TADA court's sentencing of the perpetrators of that incident, the ToI felt it necessary to say that the burning alive of 6 Hindus (including a handicapped girl) was "a sequel to the riots which took place in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya". Meaning, the burning was "understandable" since the root cause was the Babri demolition. If some set ablaze human beings because a pile of bricks was rearranged, and others killed after humans were roasted alive, guess which of the two groups will be damned forever. Déjà vu, all over again. And thus, from March 5 to date, messages about the villainous karsevaks and the abducted Muslim girl have been steadily trickling in.
Here's some real news for you: The "information" about the abduction was directly lifted from an item on an Islamist Web site purporting to be a news portal, and then embellished with garbage like "I would also mention my sources namely Mr Anil Soni and Neelam Soni (reporters of Gujarat Samachar Newspaper and also member of PTI & ANI) have worked hard to dig the true facts", and gave 3 phone numbers of the Sonis. Well, I found Mr Soni at (02672) 40264. He said, "Are you calling up about the emails? That is complete bogus and rubbish. It is the work of my enemies."
That's how Islamists work -- knowing well what "secularists" *like* to believe.
The portal whence the "news" was lifted proclaims to disseminate "Original Accurate News for the Ummah" and the item in question is written by Rajeel Sheikh and was published on March 2 (which was when I read it, 3 days before dorks sought to enlighten me). To give you an idea about how much Ummah News takes that "Original" seriously -- and which agencies fund the Web site -- here are some gems culled from it:
* September 15, 2001: Who would really stand to gain the most from such an attack [on the WTC]?... The country best enabled to carry out such a humangeous [sic] feat is not an Arab or a Muslim one, but Israel.
* September 28: Alex Diamandis, vice-president of sales and marketing, confirmed that workers in Odigo's... sales office in Israel received a warning from another Odigo user approximately two hours prior to the first attack [on the WTC].
* February 12, 2002: Indian Army murdered 5,359 Kashmiris during 2001... According to the statistics compiled by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, 519 women were raped or molested by official Indian rapists [sic!], 2,395 children were orphaned and 871 women were widowed during 2001.
* February 27: Prominent Kashmiri guerrilla commander martyred... The commander was killed in action after fighting occupying Indian troops for the past 13 years. Rich tributes have been paid to the freedom fighter.
* March 4: Indian occuapation [sic] forces have killed 12 more Kashmiris in fresh acts of military terrorism.
* March 5: Indian occupation forces have killed another 22 Kashmiris including 14 in custody in the last 24 hours... The mujahideen have inflicted their own losses on the occupying army... Quoting statements by senior Indian police and army officials the report confirms that occupation forces are under instructions to kill people rather than attempt to capture them alive.
On Saturday, The Asian Age carried a story titled "Rumour race: BJP is way ahead of Congress". Even as it said that the parties are "vying with each other to use rumours doing the rounds during communal riots for their own gain", all the "rumours" stated were those supposedly spread by the BJP, with poor Congress as the hapless victim: "The Sangh Parivar has been successful in spreading rumours that one of the alleged conspirator of Sabarmati Express massacre, Mohammed Kalota, is a Congressman. Kalota, according to rumours doing rounds is Godhra municipality president and the convenor of the Godhra Congress minority cell... An opinion poll by a local cable network in Baroda confirmed that Kalota's Congress connection has significantly worked in shattering the people's perception of the Congress."
This is not a "rumour". This was reported by the HT on March 4: "Kolota, convener of city Congress minority cell, was picked up by personnel of the anti-dacoity squad of the city police from the residence of one Iqbal in Polan Bazar area during a combing operation, IGP Deepak Swaroop told PTI. Kolota, 45, has been evading arrest since the attack on the Sabarmati Express." Besides which, Kalota was at the Godhra railway station when the massacre occurred.
Pay attention, this is how propaganda is disseminated: On March 2, the ToI's Manoj Joshi and deputy bureau chief Siddharth Varadarajan -- who later joined a march demanding the dismissal of Narendra Modi and declared that "media should boycott the right wing forces" -- wrote about "a method in the casual manner in which the Centre responded to the communal tragedy in Gujarat... In some places, George Fernandes waded amid hostile crowds and appealed to them to keep the peace... In Gujarat, the Union government claims 'there were no Army columns in or around Ahmedabad' for immediate deployment. Considering that the state bordering Pakistan has an especially heavy deployment of the Army, this excuse does not quite wash."
Fair enough -- on the face of it.
However, within an hour, the HT posted Swati Chaturvedi's piece containing: "On several occasions, authoritative sources say, the Defence Minister was forced to wade into the crowds himself to control the situation... The real question is whether there is a method to Modi's madness... The official reason, that troops had to be pulled out of forward positions, seems unconvincing because there was heavy troop deployment on Gujarat's borders with Pakistan."
"Wade". "Crowds". "Method". "Heavy deployment". These are what I call "fed" reports. That is, an opposition party member must have literally handed out the "report" to our respectable, secular, investigative journalists, who simply rephrased most of it -- but left tell-tale clues, anyway. In this case, guess who the "authoritative sources" can be.
But that's not the end of it. The ToI rehashed the same story a week later and stuck it -- once again -- on the front page, under the title "Political observers smell a rat behind delay in army deployment". However, amidst all those "sources in the government" slamming L K Advani and Modi, guess who was the only "political observer" named in the piece: "Manoj Joshi, strategic editor of The Times of India" hahahahahaha...
Now you know why the Indian press makes my stomach heave. But I admit, the revulsion it evokes is far less than that invoked by readers who swallow this shit.
When one scrutinises the technique of the press, one begins to discern wheels within wheels, all held by a pinko fulcrum: On March 4, the Age reported that the editor of Communalism Combat, Teesta Setalvad, held Modi responsible for "mass murder" at a meeting organised by SAHMAT, which organisation demanded "effective deployment of the Army" and "immediate dismissal" of Modi. The same day, Shabana Azmi said, "We want that the government led by Mr Modi be dismissed immediately." The same day, ToI plastered "Citizens for dismissal of Modi Government" on the front page, with "citizens" constituting JNU's Prabhat Patnaik, Nikhil Wagle, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, Valson Thampu, Syeda Hamid. The same day, N Ram (Frontline), Dileep Padgaonkar (ToI), Khushwant Singh, Arundhati Roy, Seema Mustafa (Age) and Vishnu Nagar joined a procession demanding the dismissal of the Modi government...
Doesn't the pinko press grasp it can't fool all the people all the time? Won't people realise they're being manipulated? I guess, not.
Could things get any worse? You bet they can! Our friendly pinkbutts, SAHMAT, has formed a "united front" with The All-India Confederation of SC\ST Organisations to resist the move to perform kar seva at Ayodhya. Udit Raj, the chairman of the Dalit organisation, said the Shankaracharya of Kanchi "had no business to intervene in the Ram temple issue" as he isn't the representative of a majority in the country. And, he declared that the disputed site was neither a mosque nor a temple but a Buddhist vihar, and claimed evidence to support this theory.
Hey, you Christians, Jains and Sikhs out there -- why don't you make a claim to Ayodhya, too?! Our pinkos can be relied on to bolster your cases and ensure that rock-solid wedges are driven between Hindus and every other community that exists. After all, it's the only way that a Red flag can possibly fly on the Red Fort.
When Gujarat was burning, the "secularists" and Communists, instead of marching for peace on the lanes affected by communal violence, marched in Delhi for the dismissal of the state government. While arson and massacres ensued, our editors were busy pontificating on the politics behind police conduct and army deployment -- drilling in "Hindu mobs" and "Muslim victims". These dorks care about the people?! Don't make me laugh; I'll take a Bal Thackeray any day.
Friday: In Mumbai, 7 buses have been damaged, 8 BEST staffers injured, and trains blocked by stone-throwing mobs during the strike called by the VHP. In neighbouring Thane, 6 shops belonging to "a minority community" have been set ablaze; a "100-strong mob moved around in the town... appealing to shopkeepers to down shutters and at some place forcibly pulling them down" (The Indian Express).
Question: Why did the shopkeepers ignore the VHP's call for a bandh? Like agents provocateurs, were they looking for trouble...?
A-ha, you're thinking, this dame's accusing the victims for the crimes committed by the Hindu mob! And you'd be right. But I'm simply following our "secular" tradition: When news spread that 59 "Hindu activists" were killed by "miscreants" at Godhra, "the entire Opposition expressed disappointment over the government's response to their demand for stern action against the VHP for continuing with its mass mobilisation programme in a bid to build a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya" (The Newspaper Today, February 28).
That's right. Unarmed men, women and children are massacred by a Muslim mob -- and the "secularists" suggest that the Hindus brought it upon themselves by going to Ayodhya.
What really happened at Godhra? According to The Asian Age of February 28, "A mob of 1,500, reportedly belonging to a minority community, attacked a bogie of the Sabarmati Express ferrying VHP activists... using iron rods and swords, and hacked to death over 50 passengers... Inflammable substances were also thrown into the coach, which led to a fire in a portion of the bogie, and several passengers were charred to death."
Hacked to death with swords before being burnt.
Could the Age be wrong? But the Ahmedabad edition of The Times of India also carried this bit: "'In our culture, women are respected and not attacked with swords and acid. We should not take this lying down,' thundered [karsevika] Sushma Shukla."
While stuff like "frenzied young men brandishing swords, tridents and iron rods have taken over the streets" occupies the front pages today, silence reigns over the swords, rods and acid used by "unidentified persons" or "miscreants" in the attack on "Ram sevaks" or "Hindu activists".
The man in charge of the Hindu entourage on the train also told the Age, "There were many girls travelling along with the karsevaks and about 10 have been abducted by miscreants belonging to the minority community." The reporter quizzed District Collector Jayanti Ravi about the abductions, which she did not deny: "The reported abduction of the girls is a subject of investigation, which would be done later."
Ten girls stated to have been abducted. Have you read about this in our largest-selling newspapers amidst all the details of the carnage that Hindu hordes have wrought? Has anybody inquired about the FIRs...?
On the evening of the attack on the Sabarmati Express, a STAR News anchor admonished a fellow anchor for saying that a Muslim mass assaulted the Hindus: "Please don't jump to conclusions. As journalists, we have a responsible role to play," he said. The attack occurred around 8am, and even after 7pm, the newsman wanted to project doubts about the religious identity of the assailants...
How do you think the abducted girls' brothers must have felt about the news blackout? How do you think the men who collected the shapeless bundles of charred flesh must have felt when the Communists and the Congress stuck to the supposed legitimacy of the Babri Masjid instead of sympathising with the distraught families? Could they have felt that India is their country, too? Wouldn't they direct their rage at the first Muslim they saw? Then, does this "responsible" press, do these "secular" politicians, have any right to comment on the fury driving the rampaging Hindus? NOT!
Why am I not spewing bile at the Muslims, you ask? I won't; I feel they're little at fault. A spoilt child is created when the parents, fearing the tantrums he throws, accede to his every demand. He invariably becomes a bully, unwilling to share his possessions with his siblings, who then wait for a chance to get even. However, the error is the parents', who shouldn't have indulged him and driven a stake between the siblings. Whether the gruesome acts of the Muslim mobs or the Hindu hordes, none of it would have happened if someone had stuffed all our Nehruvian secularists and pinkos -- politician, press and commoner -- into a giant box and drowned it at sea in 1947. Then, Muslims would have learnt to live in parity with Hindus, and there'd be no Hindu backlash. Indeed, there would be no VHP.
Saturday: The death toll has risen to 375. In Ahmedabad, even after the army being deployed, Hindu hordes armed with petrol bombs, swords and guns continue to hunt prey. In Bapunagar, where Hindus and Muslims clashed, rocket launchers, automatic guns and bombs were used. Six mosques have been razed in Ahmedabad, Surat and Bharuch. In Naroda-Patia, an entire slum was torched within minutes. The stories coming out are as bloodcurdling as that of the Sabarmati 59 -- of entire Muslim families being lynched and set ablaze. In Pandarvada village, 30 were burnt alive. In Ahmedabad's Gulmarg Housing Society, 35 Muslims were butchered, and similar massacres occurred in Saraspur and Shahwadi colonies...
The list of the dehumanization is endless. Most of the murdered couldn't possibly have been part of the mob that burnt the Hindus. Most of them must have been innocents with no connection to any kind of violence. But that's the ugly nature of a riot -- no sanity, all fury. Whether the impetus is race, religion or poverty, riots essentially stem from extreme frustration. Communal riots will not go away unless the devout Hindus' concerns are addressed. Bhosle's "inflammatory" writing on the Web does not reach the Hindus of Godhra -- it is the "national" newspapers, filled with anti-Hindu slants, that fuel their sense of estrangement in their own country. If our "secularists" do not recognise the crime they are committing -- the position in which they are placing a minority -- such riots will continue. With or without the VHP. Why make a tinderbox in the first place and then guard against a spark?? Chuck out the tinder! The spark will be wasted.
As I hear one horror story after another, the only questions that keep ringing in my mind are: WHY did the Muslims attack the train? WHAT were they thinking?! Did they really believe that no Hindu would retaliate? Didn't they know that Gujarat is the land of *that* Mahatma Gandhi who had said, "But as a Hindu, I am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice than I am angry at the Mussalman bullying. Why did not the owners of the houses looted die in the attempt to defend their possessions? Where were the relatives of the outraged sisters at the time of outrage? My non-violence does not admit running away from danger and leaving the dear ones unprotected" (cited in The Tragic Story of Partition by H V Seshadri). WHO were these people?!
Prompt came the reply: The ISI, said BJP leader J P Mathur. Which is so much bullshit that I want to puke. Among those arrested (at the time of writing) -- on the basis of eyewitness accounts or being caught in action -- are two eminent municipal councillors of Godhra, Abdul Dhamtia and Salim Shaikh, the latter's brother Abdul Gaffar, and two petrol-pump owners who provided the fuel to burn the train. Also, the nagarpalika president, Mohammad Kalota, and councillor Bilal Haji -- both accused -- are absconding. Besides which, no sane person can believe that Pakistan would dispatch a 2,000-strong army of spooks to one place.
The Muslims who attacked the Sabarmati Express were neither ISI agents nor al-Qaeda jihadis -- they are plain old Indians. Sure, the hand of the ISI *is* deep in there -- but it's now being cited by the politicians to shirk the responsibility for their continuing with the Congress policy of indulging the minorities, to the point that Muslims began to think they are invincible. Just as Osama bin Laden thought he would get away with obliterating the WTC, so did the Muslims of Godhra think vis-à-vis the Hindus returning from Ayodhya.
Ayodhya... To understand where I'm coming from, I urge you to visit my column of 1997 before reading further. The razing of the Babri has become the embodiment of everything that's evil in India -- that is, practising Hindus are what's wrong with India. You see, if a Vinod Mehta or a Dilip Padgaonkar can't be bothered to wear a janoi or believe fervently in the existence of Ram, it follows that any Hindu who does can't be a sane specimen. If a Shekhar Gupta or a Kuldip Nayar feels no threat to his self-esteem from a mosque built on land traditionally revered as Ram's janmabhoomi, it follows that anyone who does is an extremist-Hindu-fundamentalist-activist.
Problem is, there are far, FAR more Hindus who want to see the Ram temple come up at Ayodhya than there are clutches of "secular" opinion makers, historians, politicians and socialites. The alumni of Cathedral School or JNU do not an India make. This country also consists of the people who burnt Bombay and are burning Bharuch.
The root of the Ayodhya issue is the sacrilege of a masjid constructed at the site of what is held as Ram's birthplace. Muslims -- who believe that the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third-most holy sites -- should have no difficulty in understanding the pulls of blind faith. After all, there is *no* historical evidence to suggest Mohammad ever visited Jerusalem, let alone ascended to heaven from the site on the Temple Mount. Therefore, a court order in favour of Muslims will NOT make Hindu resentment vanish. In fact, it will lead to worse.
In January 1991, when the VHP was negotiating a settlement for the return of the Ram Janmabhoomi, it gave this *written* assurance to the All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee and the government: "We do not even demand the return of the thousands of places of worship that have been forcibly replaced with mosques... We merely want three places back, three age-old sacred places. And we would prefer getting them back from the Muslim community, to getting them back by an official decree... Muslims should understand what kind of message they are sending by insisting on continuing the occupation of our sacred places, an occupation started by fanatics and mass murderers like Babar and Aurangzeb. We do not like to think of our Muslim compatriots as heirs and followers of such invaders and tyrants. It is up to them to make a gesture that will signify a formal break with this painful past." The three places are Ram Janmabhoomi, Krishna Janmabhoomi (Idgah at Mathura), and Kashi Vishwanath (part of the Gyan Vyapi mosque complex).
I propose that the "secularists", especially the leftist media, create such a climate that the Muslim leadership would freely cede these three sites to the Hindu activists. You see, there is no other solution. For, even if the "educated" bend-over-and-spread-up Hindus don't know about the VHP's affidavit and Syed Shahabuddin's obdurate inflexibility, the Hindus who can make or break a riot DO. Wait and see what happens should a mosque come up at Ram Janmabhoomi again.
The devout Hindus have already compromised by asking for just 3 sites from among thousands. It is now up to the parent to cajole or threaten the spoilt child and teach him how to share with his sibling. Otherwise, further pampering = added estrangement = more riots. QED
If one group of politicians labels the Srikrishna Commission Report as biased, can a rival faction use that very thing to lynch them? Shouldn't the claim first be disproved by evidence from neutral parties like the free press? Major problem: Can the English press itself be deemed unbiased? Especially since it stands accused of being controlled by those rivals -- which allegation it has not shaken off to everybody's satisfaction?
So we come to an impasse: Hindutvawad gained strength from what's perceived as the utter bias of leftists/secularists towards minority feelings, with scant regard for Hindu sensitivities. And, the disputing camp has always held any thought/act by right- wingers as Nazism. It's a clash of mindsets. And mindsets are rooted in ideologies. And in ideology, there can be no absolutes.
Well, I finally finished studying the Report. And my own conclusion is that it is not worth the paper it's printed on. Not just because I think it is plainly prejudiced, but also because it's full of glaring inconsistencies, exclusions and oversights...
Some excerpts that bug the hell out of me: "As far as the December 1992 phase of the rioting by Muslims is concerned, there is no material to show that it was anything other than a spontaneous reaction of leaderless and incensed Muslim mobs..." Then, "There is no material on record suggesting that known Muslim individuals or organisations were responsible for the riots though a number of individual Muslims and Muslim criminal elements appear to have indulged in violence..." After which, "though some violent incidents were taking place, large-scale rioting was commenced on January 6 by the Hindus..."
Now why's it that Muslim infractions are committed by "individual" and "criminal elements," while Hindus remain the collective Hindus? That the initial rioters were Muslim, appears to be purely incidental. Not so for "the" Hindus. We get the honour of starting "large-scale rioting" during "some" violent incidents by Muslims. "The" Hindus, you see, must all be criminals and can't operate on an individual basis...
"Spontaneous reaction," that mother of all absolutions, serves as another convenient cover for Muslim communal violence. It would seem that in the Commission's view, Muslim anarchy was an understandable reaction to the Babri demolition. However, Hindu response to that violence is...? The Commission charges, "Because some criminal Muslims killed innocent Hindus in one corner of the city, the Shiv Sainiks 'retaliated' against several innocent Muslims in other corners of the city." By the same coin, because some Hindus demolished a derelict structure in one corner of the country, didn't the Muslims retaliate against several innocent Hindus in other corners of the country...?
Dilip D'Souza quotes to certify the equity of the Report: "When the killers of Mathadi workers were not identified, Hindus, spearheaded by the Shiv Sena, kicked up a furore, saying the murderers were Muslims, giving a call for arms to Hindus. However, later it was established that the murderer of the workers was an alcoholic and the motive behind it was far from being communal." This is *precisely* the kind of wanton fudging that stems from bias of the press...
ONE Mathadi worker was killed on December 25, 1992. FOUR Mathadi workers were killed on 5 January 1993. The "alcoholic" (who only happened to be a Muslim) killed the lone worker. It was after the multiple-murders by, what else, plain old miscreants (who only happened to be Muslims) that Hindus took action... Chapter II, para 1.7(ix) states: "he was set upon by miscreants who stabbed him to death. Three more Mathadi workers who came out of the godown to help him were also stabbed to death. The Mathadi workers union called for a bandh... Speeches were made during this meeting to condemn the police and government for their ineffectiveness with exhortations that Hindus might have to pick up swords to defend themselves if the police failed to protect them. " Weren't they entitled to protection...?
And yet the Commission states, "The communal passion of the Hindus were aroused to a fever pitch by the inciting writings in the print media, particularly Saamna and Navakal, which gave exaggerated accounts of the Mathadi murders and the Radhabai Chawl incident." The less said about the 6 victims of the Chawl massacre, the better. But I wonder, if the papers wrote that they were locked in and burnt alive by Muslims, and that one of the victims was a handicapped girl, why isn't that reportage...? What was "exaggerated" about the case? The reality is grim enough! Or is it suggested that no carnage be reported -- when the victims are Hindus?
Subsequent investigations verified that the butchers in all three above incidents were indeed Muslims. Still, the Commission castigates the newspapers for factual reporting, deeming it as sensationalism. Hilariously, the slip shows: "That they were criminals was underplayed by Hindus; that they were Muslims was all that mattered." As I said: Hindus are murdered by criminals who only happen to be Muslims; and collective Hindus distort that...
Now, this is Chap II, para 1.7(iv): "The last week of December 1992 and first week of January 1993, particularly between 1st to 5th, saw a series of stabbing incidents in which both Hindus and Muslims were victims, though the majority of such incidents took place in Muslim dominated areas of South Bombay and a majority of victims were Hindus."
Please note that the Mathadi multiple-murders took place on January 5, 1993, and the Radhabai Chawl arson, on January 8. Even so, these killings are not part of the ongoing communal strife! The riots have no bearing on them! That communal bloodshed was in progress since two weeks before these murders, is immaterial! Who in his right mind will buy that?
So also, the demolitions of illegal structures by the BMC before December 6, 1992: "Some Muslim extremists and fundamentalists seized upon this opportunity to canvass that their religious interests were at stake... This call to religion found a ready response amongst the Muslim youth." The Commission generously accepts that "it is not possible to say that (demolitions) were directed only against Muslims." Thank you. But what I'd like to know is: Who gave the call to religion...? Funnily, the Report states earlier, "Muslim organisations like SIMI and BMAC also carried on propaganda..." Doesn't this indicate that *the* Muslims were never "leaderless"...?
Why is there no investigation -- at this point or later -- into what was preached to congregations in mosques? The "sudden spurt in attendance at Friday namaaz in Mosques" is taken note of -- and that's ALL! Hasn't it been proved that "miscreants" take refuge (and also assemble bombs) in mosques? Too, why is there no scrutiny of the inflammatory articles appearing in Urdu newspapers...? "The" Hindus are guilty, period. Muslims had no communal motivations, period. Hindus were organised. Muslim individuals reacted spontaneously. Tell me more...
Then we have the Maha-artis: "Some of the Mahaartis were used as an occasion for delivering communally inciting speeches and the crowd dispersing from Mahaartis indulged in damage, looting and arson of Muslim establishments." Only, that comes after: "There was a sudden spurt in attendance at Friday namaaz in mosques. The Hindus replied with their ingenious Maha Artis, ostensibly to protest against namaaz on streets and calling of azaans from mosques, though both were going on for years and were, perhaps, no more than minor irritants."
The admirable principle of seeking the root cause whenever it applies to Muslim offences (eg, Babri demolition okays Muslim rioting), is not extended to Hindus. Given the conditions, why would I tolerate being told in high decibels, 5 times a day, everyday, that "there is only one God and that is Allah"? Why can't Maha-artis be a spontaneous backlash? Why was there a sudden increase in mosque attendance? Did the Commission really look for material indicting Muslim leadership?
Next we come to the abuse of Muslims by the police. You know what 'inconsistency' really means? Why I say the Report should be sold to the raddiwala? Read on:
* Chap II, para 1.5: "Considering it from all aspects, the Commission is not inclined to give serious credence to the theory that disproportionately large number of Muslim deaths in December 1992 was necessarily indicative of an attempt on the part of the police to target and liquidate Muslims because of bias."
* Chap II, para 1.6 (yes, the very NEXT one): "The Commission is of the view that there is evidence of police bias against Muslims... That there was a general bias against Muslims in the minds of the average policemen which was evident in the way they dealt with the Muslims, is accepted by the officer of the rank of Additional Commissioner V N Deshmukh..."
The Commission accepts V N Deshmukh's admission about the bias of the police. Which ACP is later referred to thus: "Deshmukh has no hesitation in calling BJP and Shiv Sena as communal parties as the records show that they have been preaching communal hatred." Oh really? Is that why his testimony is placed above those by A A Khan, A S Samra, R D Tyagi and S K Bapat -- all senior officers stating that the police are not biased? Why is Commissioner Bapat's testimony brushed off thus: "Bapat's attempt to give a sanitised version and a diplomatic answer does not impress the Commission"...?
For those who love to chant that "The response of police to appeals from desperate victims, particularly Muslims, was cynical and entirely indifferent," here's another: "Two constables in Deonar jurisdiction were killed with choppers and swords by the rampaging Muslims. While one lay on the ground bleeding to death, the body of another was dragged and thrown into the garbage heap from where it was recovered seven days later."
About a police officer dying from a head shot, the Commission notes that "it cannot be said with certitude that it was a case of private firing." Who can accept that the famed miscreants had no arms? Which community dominates the mafia? Who spawned the Bombay blasts? While making sweeping political statements ("Unlike elsewhere in the country the Muslims have not acquired sufficient political clout, nor have they been able to increase their representation in the BMC or in the legislative assembly"), the Commission plays charmingly safe over the existence of unregistered weapons.
But let's take for granted that the police are indeed anti-Muslim. Then why's it so? Are they all conscripted from the VHP or Sena? If "the irresponsible act of the Hindutva parties in celebrating and gloating over the demolition of the Babri structure was like twisting a knife in the wound and heightened the anguished ire of the Muslim," then why not agonise over the equally anguished psyche of ordinary Hindus who rejoiced at the erasure of the insult by Babar...?
If I didn't know, I'd have said that the Report was the handiwork of a typical "secular" Hindu. That species which bends over backwards to make excuses for the minorities; which has never given a thought to why there is a Hindu awakening; a species so bent on being politically correct that it has destroyed the delicate communal balance of this country. As M V Kamath wrote: "To get the right answers, we must ask the right questions. Even if they prove inconvenient to our cherished beliefs." That, the Commission seems not to have done.
This essay contains just the tip of my objections. I haven't touched on what irks me vis-a-vis the role of pinko/secularist journalists; analysis of death/injury figures; role of Shiv Sainiks; discrepancies in notation of violent incidents; actions of the Congress regime... Actually, if rationalists (aka Hindutvawadis) decide, they could well produce a release tabulating why they consider the Report biased. Which will then promptly be garbaged by the opposing camp. There are no absolutes...
No doubt, for us Hindus in India, life has an ersatz quality about it. You can find any amount of people, including atheists and non-Hindus, dilating on the fundamentals of Hinduism, how/what we must think, where we err and what's good for us. Ours is the community which perpetually needs external guidance.
Ours is the country where objections are raised to (Hindu) ministers being pledged by the Bhagwat Gita, and where a prime minister is criticised for performing a (private) yagna. It isn't secular, you see. For in India, secularism does not denote a government's being free of religious influence. What it means is that the majority of citizens has no right whatsoever to a political lobby. Here, democracy is not the same as majority rule; here, a good Hindu is one who denies his identity.
It doesn't matter that even the American Prez must touch the Bible at swearing-in; or that the sovereign head of Great Britain is officially the Protector of the Church of England, and that the House of Lords must include two Anglican archbishops and 24 bishops to serve as Lords Spiritual… Anything West and white, is secular and right (so also, anything Middle East, can't be bad in the least).
Like most of my ilk (go figure what that is), I'm wary of Bal Thackeray. And frankly, the Shiv Sena frightens me. But then, so do BJP, CPI and Congress: each bears its unique odious defects. Lately, however, I find my back pushed to the wall by these diatribes against 'divisive, fascist, communalist forces' – since they are used exclusively to still the Hindu voice.
For instance, there was not a peep from our noble secularists when: in October 1996, the Khilafat movement – the Quranic concept which urges Muslims to unite into a single nation devoid of zonal boundaries and local loyalties and to obey only an Islamic government – was launched in Bombay by the Students Islamic Movement of India; on January 26, an armed 8,000-strong mob of CPI-M activists attacked and set ablaze Kavada village, the base of (Hindu) tribal sympathisers of the BJP in Talasari taluka. earlier this month, the education department admitted that since 1990, the Jammu and Kashmir government had absorbed 1,100 hardcore Jamait-e-Islami activists as teachers in government schools – and which accounted for the high rate of drop-outs, which fed the terrorist brigades.
Such things aren't weighty enough for us Hindus to feel insecure – that temperament being reserved for sensitive minority souls. Thus, we are advised to defend the rights of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh; to reject Article 44 which mandates the enacting of a religion-free common civil code; to applaud the scrapping of the anti-terrorism Act used against the Bombay-blasts accused; to condemn the Intelligence Bureau's raid on the Islamic university suspected of harbouring terrorists, and then to ignore their being found there, and then to overlook their being released by Mulayam Singh, and so on and so forth…
Like Mr Kumar Ketkar, I'm a Maharashtrian. Unlike him, I'm a capitalist bourgeois who does not need to parrot a party line, nor to adhere to Zhao Ziyang's counsel to those akin to our intelligentsia: 'Communists should be the first to be concerned about other people and countries and the last to enjoy themselves.' Thus, I am concerned only about my own lot and my own country and, above all, I'm going to enjoy this:
Mr Ketkar's speech foxes me throughout. First he says that 'over the past decade, nationally, it is this section – the upper caste and upper middle class – which provided the critical support base for this Hindutva alliance in Maharashtra'; after which comes, '(Bal Thackeray) enthused youngsters to violently challenge their family's political leanings.'
Now, is there a 'critical support base' or isn't there? If there is, does he mean that Mr Thackeray incites rebellion against that familial, pro-Hindutva base? If there isn't, then 'how could a force like the Shiv Sena and all that it represents be born on Maharashtra's soil?' Well, Mr Ketkar, why not look to the appeasement policies your sort advocates… or have you forgotten that, along with a Tilak, Maharashtra's soil also threw up a Nathuram Godse?
From his tirade, we know Mr Ketkar believes that Hindutva must be vanquished at any cost. He also says that 'in Maharashtra, the support the RSS has had (comes) traditionally from the educated, thinking, upper middle class.' Now does this mean that the political decisions of an educated, thinking class is only fit to be routed…? Really, Mr Ketkar will be happier in rustic Bihar. Oh, and he should avoid Punjab.
On a run now, Mr Ketkar lapses into familiar hammer-and-sickle motifs: 'The BJP has emerged from the fast-urbanising upper caste and upper class elite and its support of Hindutva…', 'to struggle against the fascist thought-processes within society that this alliance represents…' Which makes me ask: Does everything undesirable stem from the upper caste/class? Don't mill-workers support Thackeray's Hindutva? And if Hindutva is fascist, what's Stalin's Communism?
And then, Mr Ketkar can't help his roots (this is India remember, where even Muslims and Christians have castes): 'The BJP could pull the support of this class and give the Shiv Sena the respectability of the middle class it needed, while it was the Shiv Sena that could provide the numbers from the ordinary Marathi manoos.' Since we know all about the goonda base of the SS through Mr Ketkar's Maharashtra Times, we finally know what constitutes it: the ordinary, non-elite, Marathi manoos.
But wait a minute: 'In these 31 years, (Thackeray) has commanded the support of not merely the uneducated but undivided loyalty of the educated middle class.' Uh? Didn't he just say that the BJP provided the SS with middle-class respectability?
Actually, in Ketkar-speak, neither the elite nor the non-elite should have a say in Maharashtra's politics – it's best left to the 'Left and progressive forces'. You see, 'political opportunism and a wedding of numbers' isn't what the CPI-M is engaged in with its once sworn-enemy, the Congress, and the alphabet-soup of parties that form the United Front: Apparently, that holy alliance 'put the country above all else' – by assuming power!
But the best part is when Mr Ketkar ascribes to us his 'Muslims saale,' 'uncouth, fanatical, they breed like rabbits' – and goes on to declare that 'the birth rate of Muslims is on par with, in certain regions even less than that of Hindus'. Strange, that, coming from an editor. Especially as 1995's year-end national census showed that while the birth rate of Hindus had declined by 2%, that of Muslims had risen by 3%. But to rue the trend even when the slightest increase in population may be detrimental to India, is to betray shades of the Final Solution.
Mr Ketkar waxes eloquent about 'genuine Maharashtrian culture that is full of dissent, struggle and debate.' Yes, but only 'progressives' can dissent etc. The rest of us have 'fascist tendencies', and so the caucus is quite right to topple the single-largest party, and never mind the ethics in a solely anti-BJP agenda. I marvel at Mr Ketkar's vision of this 'genuine, secular, democratic trends within society'.
Mr Ketkar won't stop: 'In the central government, too, we have an alliance, maybe of opportunistic rogues…' Now picture Mulayam Singh Yadav, Laloo Prasad Yadav, H K L Bhagat and Phoolan Devi as 'maybe' merely scamps.
I do not understand Mr Ketkar's pique when he adds, 'If the BJP had remained in power today, the text books in all our schools would have been changed.' For a cadre whose foundations lie in making an entire royal family disappear, for whom 'indoctrination' is not a terrifying word, what's a few facts in history books? Or would he prefer us to continue in the mutiny-for-Independence-war Colonial mode? (BTW, this week, after a two-day academic seminar on distortions in history books, eminent historians including Dr Romilla Thapar and Dr D Pannikar urged upon the government a review of text books every five years).
All in all, it's not just that 'we have been deluding ourselves these forty years or more', but that we continue to do so even after all the evidence of a Hindu backlash. 'That ideological base will stay', all right – after all, it has survived the Mongols, Arabs, Portuguese, French and British. But it won't merely stay – it is growing, and it will sweep India to bloodshed if the scales remain tipped. Arthur Miller said, 'Without alienation, there can be no bloody politics.' To say that the majority does not feel alienated in its land, is the dangerous delusion I dread.
Today, 26 February, is the barsi of Swatantrya-veer Savarkar, the exceptionally brave and star-crossed man who coined the term "Hindutva." It is a fitting day to muse over that concept, in view of Sonia Gandhi's claim that the country would disintegrate if Hindutva was voted to power, and, the dismissal of CM Kalyan Singh by Romesh Bhandari. Whatever the cynical aspects of the Loktantrik Congress Party's actions may have been, the excuse is that support was withdrawn because Kalyan Singh embarked on a communal agenda...
All "secular" parties supported Bhandari's action -- even as constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said, "The move is directed towards halting the BJP's march to power. This could even lead to bloodshed on the streets... The only constitutional method of finding a solution in this case is testing the strength on the floor of the House."
But, Bhandari even ignored a fax from the President, which warned that no decision on dismissal should be taken on poll eve. In fact, the Governor played the partisan politician and asked Mulayam and Mayawati to secure letters from all non-BJP parties, and, even before the dismissal, asked LCP's Jagdambika Pal to assume the oath of office. Noted jurist Nani Palkhivala asserts, "By doing what he has done, Romesh Bhandari has proved that he is not fit to be a governor."
Then, Atal Bihari Vajpayee embarked on an indefinite fast. I winced, for I've no faith in Gandhian blackmail. Fortunately, the judiciary proved its mettle and reinstated Kalyan Singh...
I'm sick to the gills of hearing what an evil Hindutva is. Many think that it was Savarkar's reaction to his supposed loathing of Islam. Nothing of the sort: It was simply an academic exercise -- conducted during his 12 years of hard labour in the Andaman penal colony -- to define the undefinable state of being a Hindu. Since political prisoners weren't allowed paper and pen, chapters were scratched with a pebble on the walls, which departing compatriots learnt by rote and delivered to the Nagpur-based publisher in stages. Since Savarkar was still incarcerated when the booklet was printed in 1923, it was accredited to 'A Maratha.' It was later that the Hindu Mahasabha adopted Hindutva as its guiding force... About the Mahasabha, you'll hear from me post-elections.
Few know that the ideology that's declaimed by secularists as Nazism, had stalwarts like Lala Lajpatrai, Madan Mohan Malaviya and the man who once presided over the INC, Vijayaraghavacharya, as its followers. The story of how Hindutva was turned into an ominous ideology would be a direct indictment of the Fabian Jawaharlal Nehru (who confessed to Professor Galbraith, "I am the last Englishman to rule India") and the pinkos who thereafter controlled the Indian press. But let's leave that tale, too, for another day.
Yeh Hindutva kya cheez hai? For instance, everybody "knows" I'm a fundie who advocates murder in the name of Hinduism. But do you also know that I'm an agnostic who never visits a temple except to admire its architecture? That I think the dogmatic VHP is a bag of nuts? And yet, what's it that so firmly attaches me to L K Advani or Govindacharya or Bal Thackeray -- who are all devout Hindus of the rudraaksha type?
It's a dilemma that Hindus have always faced: The absence of unity and uniform dogmas and doctrines that exists in the community and which makes it resilient, also prevents it from grasping the full import of the national aspect implied in the question "Who is a Hindu?" This was the inexplicable that Veer Savarkar sought to explore and define. Incidentally, Savarkar was a beef-eater. For he was, above all else, a rationalist -- a true Hindu -- and eons ahead of contemporary Hindutvawadis.
Hindutva defies attempts at analysis -- which is why Sangh Parivaris are often at a loss to explain the concept which they describe as "cultural nationalism." Veer Savarkar wrote, 'Prophets and poets, lawyers and law-givers, heroes and historians, have thought, lived, fought and died just to have it spelled thus. For indeed, is it not the resultant of countless actions -- now conflicting, now co-mingling, now co-operating -- of our whole race? Hindutva is not a word but a history. Not only the spiritual or religious history of our people as at times it is mistaken to be by being confounded with other cognate terms like "Hinduism," but a history in full. Hinduism is only a derivative, a fraction, a part of Hindutva.'
How much of a Hindu extremist was Veer Savarkar? Oh, an absolute Dracula! Eg, he says, 'There is throughout the world but a single race -- the human race, kept alive by one common blood, the human blood. All other talk is at best provisional and only relatively true. Nature is constantly trying to overthrow the artificial barriers you raise between race and race. Sexual attraction has proved more powerful than the commands of all the prophets put together.' Sorry, you pointy-headed intellectuals who can't even park your bikes straight -- Savarkar got there way before you.
Secularists insist that Hindus do not need Hindutva to survive; that we absorb and so overcome external attacks. That's where I part company. After the centuries of Islamic rule and Macaulite propaganda, it has become necessary to make Hindus aware of a common bond in order to fight the fissiparous tendencies among us. Hindus developed such a morbid fear of militancy that they even conceded the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan. That was when Savarkar led the movement for the vivisection of Pakistan itself: Lord Mountbatten saw the justice in the demand and forced Jinnah to part with the Hindu majority parts... Or it would've been, Goodbye West Bengal and farewell East Punjab...
A quarter of his booklet Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? is assigned to proving how the term 'Hindustan' stems from the Vedic 'Sapta Sindhu' which finds mention in the Avesta of the ancient Persians as 'Hapta Hindu.' He proves with faultless logic and tons of references from Vedic, Puranic, Persian, Arab and Chinese sources that 'the land which is to the north of the sea and to the south of the Himalaya mountains is named Bhaarat, inhabited by the descendants of Bharat called Bhaaratis' (Vishnu Puran).
Another part is devoted to the features of a pacifist Buddhism and its detrimental effect on Hindus: 'As long as the whole world was red in tooth and claw and the national and racial distinction so strong as to make men brutal, India must not lose the strength born of national and racial cohesion... No; the only safe-guards in future were valour and strength that could only be born of a national self-consciousness.' In other words, a VIRILE Hindutva.
And even as he writes about Hinduism absorbing the values of a degenerating Buddhism, he makes a statement that the LCP/BSP- absorbing BJP would do well to digest: 'Everything that is common in us with our enemies, weakens our power of opposing them... The necessity of creating a bitter sense of wrong and invoking a power of undying resistance, especially in India that had, under the opiates of Universalism and non-violence, lost the faculty even of resisting sin, crime and aggression, could best be accomplished by cutting off even the semblance of a common worship.' Savarkar refers to the Church; today, he could well have said "a shared power."
Century after century, India kept up the fight against foreigners morally and militarily. Savarkar says, 'The day of Panipat rose, the Hindus lost the battle, but won the war. The triumphant Hindu banner that our Marathas had carried to Atak was taken up by our Sikhs and carried across the Indus to Kabul... This one word Hindutva ran like a vital spinal cord through our whole body politic and made the Nayars of Malabar weep over the sufferings of the Brahmins of Kashmir.' This, written in the 1920s...
When I read the flames thrown by today's Khalistanis in Usenet, I remember the couplet written by Guru Gobind Singh and quoted by Savarkar: Sakal jagat mein Khalsa Panth gaaje / Jage dharm Hindu sakal bhand bhaaje (May the Khalsa Panth flourish everywhere, so that long live Hinduism and falsehood vanish). What a travesty the Nehrus have made of our society...
But what captures my imagination is Savarkar's insight into secularists. He says about the resistance to Hindutva, 'This objection is in some cases backed up by a secret fear that if the epithet be honoured and owned, then all those who do so would be looked upon as believers in the dogmas and religious practices that go by the name "Hinduism". This fear, though it is not admitted openly, that a Hindu is, necessarily and by the very fact that he is a Hindu, a believer in the so-called Hinduism, makes many a man determined not to get convinced.' Or, oh-beat-me-for- I'm-a-Hindu...
He fathomed the Muslim, too: 'The majority of Indian Mohammedans may, if free from the prejudices born of ignorance, come to love our land as their fatherland, as the patriotic and noble-minded amongst them have always been doing. The story of their conversions, forcible in millions of cases, is too recent to make them forget, even if they like to do so, that they inherit Hindu blood in their veins... Many a Mohammedan community in Kashmir and other parts of India, as well as the Christians in South India, observe our caste rules...'
And there's optimism, too: 'It may be that at some future time, the word Hindu may come to indicate a citizen of Hindusthan and nothing else; that day can only rise when all cultural and religious bigotry has disbanded its forces pledged to aggressive egoism, and religions cease to be "isms" and become merely the common fund of eternal principles that lie at the root of all that on which the Human State majestically and firmly rests.' But try convincing the Khilafat-walas to grasp this, or the pinko that the founder of Hindutva wrote this...
However, Savarkar's no wimp: "As long as every other "ism" has not disowned its special dogmas, whichever tend into dangerous war cries, no cultural or national unit can afford to loosen the bonds, especially those of a common name and a common banner, that are the mighty sources of organic cohesion and strength." *That* is the raison d'etre of today's Hindutva.
But are Hindus really a race? Savarkar retorts, 'Are the English a race? Is there anything as English blood, the German blood or the Chinese blood in this world? Do they, who have been freely infusing foreign blood into their race by contracting marriages with other peoples, possess a common blood? If they do, Hindus also emphatically do so. For the very castes, which you owing to your colossal failure to understand and view in the right perspective, have barred the common flow of blood into our race.'
But I myself have said that Hindus are not a Nation! Savarkar pooh-poohs me: 'The story of the civilisation of a nation is the story of its thoughts, its actions and its achievements... The fall of Prithviraj is bewailed in Bengal; the martyred sons of Gobind Singh, in Maharashtra. An Aryasamajist in the extreme north feels that Harihar of the south fought for him, and a Sanatanist in the extreme south feels that Guru Tegh Bahadur died for him. We had kings in common. We had kingdoms in common. We had triumphs and disasters in common.
'What about the War of Roses amongst the English? What of the internecine struggle of state against state, sect against sect, class against class, each invoking foreign help against his own countrymen in Italy, in Germany, in France, in America? Are they still a people, a nation, and do they possess a common history? If they do, the Hindus do. If the Hindus do not possess a common history, then none in the world does.'
Yes, there is a Hindu Nation. Alien Sonia or not, mullah Mulayam or not, the battle for the UCC must continue. This article is nothing but the words of Savarkar, Savarkar, Savarkar... For I believe in nothing if not him, him, him...
There’s excitement in the secularist air: The court’s decision to frame charges against senior BJP and VHP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case is said to have put the saffron brigade on a defensive. Apparently, the lust for power, along with the influence of the minorities, had moved them to soft-pedal Hindutva, and this raking up of old wounds wrecked all their plans of gaining wider acceptability.
I agree. Last week, BJP spokesman K R Malkani alleged that unknown, unruly elements had infiltrated the kar sevaks and destroyed the mosque to defame the Sangh Parivar. He said that there was celebration in the Pakistan high commission when the destruction occurred — thereby also implying an ISI presence. What a cop-out.
But somehow, [grin] nothing seems to affect Balasaheb Thackeray. For instance, Gulzar Azmi, chief of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema (which had opposed the creation of Pakistan on the basis that it would limit “the glory and sway” of Islam to one area when the whole subcontinent was a sitting duck) exonerated him with, “Bal Thackeray only tried to take credit for the demolition of Babri Masjid. The real culprits are the Congress and the BJP. The Sena leaders only talked about it, while the Congress succeeded in razing the shrine by inciting the BJP”. Tiger with 900 lives…
Mr Azmi almost inspires me to run into the Congress’s arms. Which obviously suggests that I approve of the razing: Typical, knee-jerk divisive-communalist-fundie. But, this is how I felt about it in December 1994: “As I write this on the eve of the second anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, I still do not comprehend the issue which gave the impetus to Hindus. As supposition, even if I take the VHP’s belief of the Ram Janmabhoomi as the gospel truth, how does it justify the destruction of a masjid? What has the common man gained, and what other ancient, historical monuments are to be brought down while invoking the names of gods? Is the Taj Mahal safe?”
Shocking, eh? What happened in the interim was that I made an effort to comprehend the core issue. Result: I sailed from knee-jerk Hindu defensiveness smack into an aggressive Hindutva awareness. I am not interested anymore if there was a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya or not — actually, I don’t care whether Ram existed or not. The question is not one of history or theology or archaeology or jurisprudence (but if you want me to expand on that, I can). To me, it’s a matter of psychology, period. This is a good time to revisit my mental processes and deliberate on the crime of Hindutvawadis: We will be awash in its ramification for years to come.
In an intellectual clash, it’s futile to be polite when the adversary is intractable; and if he also lacks ethics, it’s absurd to be virtuous. All defense and no attack never did win a war — and the Ram Janmabhoomi affair is nothing but a battle. In an ideological conflict, people must learn to wield the weapons the foe employs. Which, in context, are critiquing the systems of Islam and Marxism (just as they criticise caste, sati, etc), and using their tactics to expose the religious, political and social prejudices which motivate them. Lesson #1: Just as Muslims use the rod of feeling offended if Islam is challenged, it’s alright for Hindus to feel god-damn outraged when Hinduism is.
So, did Ram or the Mandir exist at all? Not if Muslims can verify the authenticity of Abraham’s having built the Qabah. Not if the Al Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem is built over a footprint in rock caused by the Prophet’s having landed rather hard on the ground — after having flown through the heavens on a winged horse. Not if it can be proved that the hair in Hazrat Bal belongs to Mohammed. Point is, the belief that the only true God is Allah is intrinsic to the Hindu-Muslim cleave. Just as Christianity (with its Shroud of Turin and Weeping Virgin icons) pickled the Greek pantheon into a mythology, Islam and Marxism would do the same to Hinduism — and hence their denial of Ram Janmabhoomi. Lesson #2: Take the fight to the opposite camp — let them first establish Islam’s credibility.
Now, did Hindus have the right to appropriate the Babri Masjid in 1949 if it was indeed in use? Once we accept the belief of pre-Parivar Hindus — eg, in an 1858 document, one Muhammad Asghar demands the removal of a platform outside the masjid, complaining that Hindus performed worship there — this is easy-peasy: Internationally (but excluding the pillage by colonial Britain), even stolen art is restored to its original owner, regardless of status quo; and if the buyer should be dead, his descendants are duty-bound to return it. If they don’t, the law forces a restoration — like the litigated ancestral property returned to Native Americans and Australian Aborigines. But if the State refuses to take cognisance, what then? If the original owner has spunk, he finds his own ways to repossess it — like Spain recovered its churches after driving out the Moors. Lesson #3: Reclaiming one’s heritage is normal, customary and desirable — claim the Krishna Janmasthan, too.
Next, couldn’t the dispute be settled amicably in a court of law? Easier said. In October 1990, Imam Bukhari of the Babri Masjid Action Committee declared that if a court ruling went against Muslim demands, an “agitation” against the verdict would be launched. Then, the Muslim Personal Law Board announced: “The Shariat does not allow the shifting or demolition of the Babri Masjid as it has not been built on a temple or illegal land” (Times Of India, 9 December 1990). Then, realising that they’d lose the debate, appended it with: “The law protects it even if built on a temple” (Syed Shahabuddin, Indian Express, 13 December 1990). Why V P Singh scuttled the agreement with the VHP, why the suit of possession was postponed, do Hindus have constitutional rights, is immaterial. Lesson #4: When secularism comes to mean different strokes for different folks, it’s time to cry, “Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain!”
The tricky question is, what justifies the destruction of a house of worship? In a word, nothing. But do not forget that masjids and mandirs are of the same genera — and the first stone was cast down by a Muslim. I once believed that two wrongs don’t make a right — but that was when I confused revenge with redressal and before I grasped the basis of the Mahabharat: Even after the Pandavs offered to cede the whole kingdom save 5 villages, the Kauravs refused to grant them “a speck of land the size of a pinhead”. Upon which, Krishna said that such self-righteousness and intolerance would brook no compromise, that war was inevitable… The VHP had been asking for just “three age-old sacred places” of the thousands converted to mosques — which were to be relocated, not destroyed. Lesson #5: Stop apologising for Hindutva — recognising, confronting and defeating Muslim fanaticism is practical and required.
So what has the common man gained from the demolition? Nothing that our pointy-headed intellectuals who can’t even park their bikes straight will understand. Nothing that our Leninists, for whom the solutions to ALL problems begin and end with roti-kapda-makaan, will grasp. After all, how can the ideologically servile be expected to know the psychological benefits from the effacement of the most offensive symbol of Hindu slavery? I attribute the Hindu society’s negative self-image and utter lack of self-respect to the moral damage wrought by Nehruvians and leftists who have distorted history by projecting marauding conquerors as protectors and Hindu nationalists as villains to, supposedly, “ensure communal harmony”. And look where it led us. Lesson #6: History is not the jahgeer of vested interests — no matter how inconvenient the Truth, it releases: Satyam muktye.
And so to the present predicament: Who demolished the Babri Masjid? In 1990, when Mr L K Advani undertook the Rathyatra to amass support for the bricklaying of the mandir, everywhere, the common devotee’s response was enthusiastic. Meanwhile, in UP, chief minister Mulayam Singh had suspended all public transport, blocked roads, imposed curfews, sealed the borders and arrested Parivaris and kar sevaks after hounding them out from houses. On October 22, Mr Advani was arrested. But on October 30, thousands of kar sevaks defied police cordons and planted flags on the masjid’s domes. Eventually, the police overcame the crowds, arrested thousands and killed between 10 to 50. Human and religious rights exist only for minorities.
And yet, on November 2, the kar sevaks came back in droves. But this time, Mulayam’s police, greatly out-numbered and probably under specific orders, skipped the usual procedures of warning, lathi-charge, tear-gas, firing in the air and shooting in the legs, and fired straight into the crowds. Most of the dead, of whom many were sadhus, had bullet wounds in the head and chest. As usual, the death toll is a matter of dispute; Koenraad Elst writes, “many of the bodies have been carried off in army vans and unceremoniously disposed of in an unknown place.” Press figures vary from 9 to 25, Mulayam says 16, the home ministry claims 30, the BJP cites 168, the VHP alleges 400, and eyewitnesses quote thousands.
Whatever the number — logically, it has to be in hundreds — there has been no badgering for a probe à la the Srikrishna Commission from our tender-hearted intellectuals, who, of course, also support a government with Mulayam as its defence minister: Islamic bricks, too, are more precious than Hindu lives.
So Mr Malkani… who demolished the masjid? Were the people who congregated for kar seva, who faced bullets in the name of Ram, who joined the Rathyatra from Karnataka, all agents of the ISI? Also, unruly or not, the thousands who brought down the structure couldn’t all have been card-holders of the saffron brigade, could they?
Truth is, most were people without political affiliations, bairagis and sadhus too, who had followed their trust in the Ram Janmabhoomi. They were of the stock that had rioted around the Babri Masjid in 1934 when a cow was slaughtered in its vicinity. If at the first shake of the chair, the BJP is Congress enough to turn its back on all that *those* kar sevaks died for, then I turn my back on the BJP. A party without principles is no Hindu party — shape up or ship out. Lesson #7: It was just another election plank, after all.
- Back to the future
- What's the Hindu bias in that?!
- Towards Balkanisation, Part I
- Towards Balkanisation, Part II
- Towards Balkanisation, III: Missionaries
- Towards Balkanisation, IV: Catholics
- Towards Balkanisation, V: Adivasis
- Class action
'Indeed, the NGOs, "secularists," etc, have founded an entire industry based on laying all the evils at the door of Hindutva.'
'If Dr Joshi hadn't dared to single-handedly take on the pinkos, there would have been no case, no ruling, no vindication of his policy of curricular restructuring, and no triumph.'
'Hindutva at least has an imagination of India; Communism wishes its annihilation.'
'The hatred that pinkos and "secularists" have for Chhatrapati Shivaji is quite understandable -- considering that Aurangzeb could never defeat the Hindupad Patshahi established by the Maratha and advance south of Golconda.'
'I support reconversion and the dissemination of Hindu awareness because I want Hindus to remain Hindu, Jains to remain Jain, Buddhists to remain Buddhist, and Sikhs to remain Sikh.'
'For centuries, Pakistan and Bangladesh were a part of India; only in the last century, that changed. What's the guarantee that a "Christistan" won't be carved out over the next 50 years...?'
'The Adivasi or Vanvasi or tribal was and is a Hindu. And as a Hindu, he did not require "successful experiment" to rise in unprecedented anger at the unprecedented provocation of 58 Hindus -- men, women and children -- locked into a bogie and set on fire.'