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Secularists be warned
M V Kamath

May I make a sincere request to my fellow Hindus to give a respite to the use of the word ‘secular’ for the next five years? The word stinks to high heavens.

It smells of hypocrisy, cowardice, an attitude of holier-than-thou and a singular ignorance of history unparalleled in the annals of our sorry times.

There were no secularists around when Ghazni invaded India 13 times, smashed the lingam in the Somnath Temple and took the pieces to be scattered in front of a masjid in his hometown for his kinsmen to merrily trample over. Nor were there any secularists living when, during the long Islamic reign in India, 3,000 temples were demolished. It was considered part of medieval behaviour and so to be taken in one’s stride.

If not Babar it was his general who destroyed a temple in Ayodhya, and despite the hysterical denials of our demented historians, a temple did exist where the Babri masjid once stood and there are enough records — and architectural evidence — to prove the fact. Only the determinedly blind will refuse to accept the testimony of writers like Mirza Jan (1856), Mohammad Asghar (1858), Mirza Rajah Ali Beg Sarur (1787-1867) and Sheikh Md Azmat Ali (1869) who have had no reason to tell a lie.

But even if, for the sake of argument, there was no temple in Ayodhya, it ill-behoved anybody, let alone a murderous marauder like Babar, to build a masjid in what is considered a Hindu holy city any more than a theoretical Hindu invader of Saudi Arabia would have in building a temple in Mecca close to or on the site of the Kaaba. Ram is as much meaningful to Hindus as Allah is to Muslims. The Babri masjid was raised in Ayodhya to tell the Hindus who the rulers were. The VHP does not have to be apologetic to anyone, least of all to the secularists, for wishing to raise a temple to Ram at a site they believe he was born.

The real issue is not Ayodhya as much as it is the secularists’ dogged determination not to face up to history. The attitude of the average secularist is either to bury his head, ostrich-like, in the sands of time in the face of embarrassing facts or to say that the Hindus deserved what they got. By their cowardly behaviour, the secularists have both directly or indirectly encouraged the hardliners among Muslims to refuse to consider any sensible compromise with the VHP, and if anybody is to be blamed for all the disturbances of the past decade, it has to be the secularist with his contempt for Hinduism.

What happened in Ahmedabad is no different from what happened in Delhi when Indira Gandhi was assassinated or what happened in Punjab following Partition. The Gujaratis are as law-abiding as anyone else and don’t deserve to be maligned. Does anyone remember Rajiv Gandhi’s remarks about the killings of Sikhs following Indira Gandhi’s death? Did the Congress pull him up for his thoughtless comment? The Ahmedabad rioting was not pre-planned unlike the Godhra killings by Muslim fanatics or the killings of innocent Kashmiris by ISI-supported jehadis.

The Ayodhya issue is not for the court to decide but for the Muslim community to concede to the VHP what rightfully belongs to the Hindus — graciously. And who will believe this community when it says it will abide by a court verdict? What happened in the Shah Bano case? For the Muslim community, it is a win-win situation. If it wins the case, it can have the last laugh. If it loses the case, it can always say that the BJP government has bought the judges.

Such is the power of blackmail that the secularists, in their blind hatred of the BJP and the VHP, wield. Why should anyone blame the VHP? Hasn’t it shown exemplary patience for 10 long years?

The blame for the VHP’s and the kar sewaks’ militancy lies entirely at the doors of the secularists. It is not the kar sewak who is destabilising the country. The fault is that of the secularist and a weak and indecisive government which is afraid of its own shadow. Ten years is a long time to wait. That is why the kar sewak is blandishing his trishul.

How long are we going to appease the irrational among the Muslim community to show how secular and law-abiding we are as a people? It serves the rabid among the Muslims to see how the BJP is being reduced to a joke. And the secularists’ stand has only served to strengthen the rabid Muslims to hold on to their own and watch the tamasha.

The Babri masjid was of no great architectural wonder. Masjids are routinely levelled to the ground in Muslim countries including in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to make way for development. No Hindu protested when ancient temples had to be submerged in the course of raising dams. The VHP would have happily agreed to build a special masjid for Muslims to pray in peace in Ayodhya — but in some other location, away from the janmabhoomi site.

But that wouldn’t convince the secularists, who would rather see the country reduced to ashes than worship at the altar of reason. For them, bashing the Sangh parivar has become an end in itself. The nation is heading for a major crisis of unprecedented proportions that would make the Ahmedabad riots pale into insignificance. The secularists are warned.

They are driving a frustrated people to desperation. And when that comes to pass, logic and good sense are stood on their head and the entire nation will suffer. And then let not the kar sewaks be blamed for what is not their fault. There has to be a limit to secular pig-headedness.



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