Political storm raised over Ayodhya issue following the submission
of report by Liberhan Commission certainly marks the beginning of
another debate on the issue, but paradoxically without much
substance. Let us accept it; people and media have never really been
unaware of the mosque’s demolition, the key figures responsible for
the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign and the communal riots fuelled over it.
The debate over the issue and/or the commission’s report has little
linkage with whether those allegedly responsible for the demolition
receive punishment and the victims’ compensation or not. Considering
that the Congress party was in power at the Centre and the BJP in UP
at the time of Babri Masjid’s demolition, neither party can claim to
be above board. If the Congress is of the opinion that this is just
the appropriate time to target the BJP and its associates for the
1992 case, it is certainly not yet fully in tune with the people’s
mind. The same may be said about BJP leaders musing over whether to
seize on this opportunity to play an Ayodhya card for building a
temple at the disputed site.
The leaders need to reflect on the changes that have taken place in
the country between 2009 and 1992. It was not difficult then for
master political strategists to gamble on communally sensitive
issues for electoral gains.
Today, the small screen has reached even homes of poverty-stricken
people living in slums. They, like millions of other viewers, have
the choice to watch news, a religious programme, educational item
and/or some entertainment show or not. If politicians assume that
Ayodhya issue still has the potential to excite religious passions
along communal lines, their political as well as socio-religious
priorities are certainly misplaced.
Gone are the days when mob frenzy could easily incite communal
violence between two religious groups. There was a phase when
newspapers refrained from publishing detailed reports of incidents.
There prevailed the fear that even a short report could fuel
communal violence in another part and/or rest of the country.
Every Indian Hindu has religious right and freedom to feel concerned
about a temple. So does every Indian Muslim about a mosque. Yes, at
Interestingly, an interaction with a cross-section of Indians
revealed that rather than have the country divided over Ayodhya
issue, they would prefer a university, stadium or some other
institution that can contribute to nation’s development. With
inflation and the economic recession staring at the common man
harshly, all the noise made over Ayodhya is least likely to distract
him from his tension.
Let the legal battle over Ayodhya continue, and it may perhaps never
end. But it is time politicians gave a serious thought to actually
resolving the issue as the people desire. Why can’t Ayodhya be home
to perhaps the best temple at the spot where Hindu God Rama is
believed to have been born, and also a mosque, even a church, a
gurudwara and other places of worship Indians believe in? The issue
can be resolved without hurting religious sentiments of the involved
communities. If politicians are keen on gaining media coverage by
raising the issue on communal lines, then they may well expect least
possible attention from the average Indian.
The Liberhan Commission’s report carries little relevance for
today’s India and its citizens. Had the report been submitted before
the revolutionary changes in communication technology had spread the
network across the country, the situation would have been different.
Practically, continuous access to events taking place across the
country and the world has made everyone far more foresighted and
practical than the politicians can think.
Why should those Ayodhya memories remain a dark spot on India’s
image when it is possible through construction of a temple as well
as a mosque or museum to turn the same place into one each and every
Indian can proudly point to as a symbol of our secularism?