By Inamul Haq
In contemporary India, medieval history, which mostly revolved around Indo-Muslim rulers has become a sensitive and mass political issue. From Ghaznavi to Aurangzeb, all Muslims rulers are seen through the prism of hooliganism or as raiders. The Sangh Parivar of democratic India, manipulated Indian history and culture by the “Theology of Iconoclasm”, which stands for fanaticism, lust of plunder and uncompromising hatred. After the end of Muslim rule, India became a colony of the British, who took away the golden sparrow of India, from time to time. After a long struggle, India gained its freedom from British rule and a new foundation of the country was laid on the preamble of a Sovereign, Socialist Secular, and Democratic Republic . However, the notion of a secular and democratic India witnessed a lot of violence from the pre independence era to the contemporary period. It is also remarkable that today’s democratic India is completely controlled by the RSS and whatever they wish, the ruling party has to accept . Before the BJP came into power, the so called patriot organizations put several demands like Triple talaq, Removal of Article 370 and 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir, compulsory obeisance to the anthem, changing Indian history by obscuring real facts as well as the issue of Babri Masjid on the agenda of the party.
The issue of Babri Masjid can be misused for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, because polarization and communalization are the major techniques of choice for the BJP. While reviewing Indian democracy, which is full with black dots, whether in terms of assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Sikh riots 1984, the Shah Bano case, the state of emergency (25 June 1975- 21 March 1977), the demolition of the Babri Masjid 1992 or the Gujarat riots 2002, the 6th of December, 1992, which is a black day in the history of India, stands out. On that fateful day, a mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya was demolished. On the one side, the demolition was seen as a big blot on Indian history, while, on the side of the coin, it was also seen as Shourya Divas(Day of bravery) as well as Nirman Divas (Day of Hindu resurgence) by the Sangh Parivar.
The Babri Masjid, was named after a Mughal emperor, Babar. It was the year 1528/29, that the Masjid was built by a Muslim nobleman Mir Baqi on the orders of Babar, after the victory of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi in 1526 at Panipat. However, in 1880’s, the Babri Masjid became a disputed place by the claims of few Hindu organizations that this place was the birthplace of Rama.
According to Asghar Ali Engineer, the Ramjanambhumi-Babri Masjid controversy traces its roots to the British policy of divide and rule. However, the originality of this issue is around 1855, when few Dharma Sansads of Vishwa Hindu Parishad entered the mosque and installed the idols of Ram and voiced for the liberation of birth place of the same. This issue remained a forgotten one till 1949 and, according to Christopher Jaffrelot (1996), it was 27th July 1984, a committee named Sri Ramjanambhumi Mukti Yagna Samiti (Committee for Sacrifice to Liberate Ram’s Birth Place) was founded under the leadership of Mahant Avaidyanath which campaigned once again for the Ramjanambhumi. This movement brought the various sects of Hinduism into one banner. It is also a fact that fourteen pillars of Babri Masjid bearing non-Islamic motifs, which became the justification that Babri Masjid was constructed on the debris of a temple.
In 1990, L.K Advani started the Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya which was fully supported by right wing Hindus and, in the first attempt, it was halted by the arrest of Advani mid-way by the UP government. This sparked violence around the whole India and due to huge campaigns of Sangh Parivar, around three lakh Karsevaks (Volunteers) were mobilized from all over India. The question arises, why the UP government along with Central Government failed to protect Babri Masjid. It is noteworthy that the BJP’s Chief Minister of the UP state had given written a undertaking to the court to protect the Mosque. According to Asghar Ali Engineer, the demolition of Babri Masjid was a planned conspiracy of BJP along with Sangh Parivar groups. It is a travesty that the UP state police and paramilitary had to withdraw from the site and leaving the site open to Karsevaks.
Unfortunately, the Babri Masjid was raised to ground in five and a half hours and the debris was thrown in the river Saryu. This act infuriated the Muslim community and there was a paradigm shift in India. Massive riots took place all over India- especially Mumbai, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. A committee set up under a retired High Court Judge, M.S. Liberhan, came to be known as Liberhan Commission was established to investigate the matter. After 25 years of the demolition, the issue of Babri Masjid is yet unsolved and the BJP, RSS, VPH and other fanatic sections hold that that the construction of Ram temple is a national demand that they have to fulfill it.
—The author is a PhD Candidate at the Central University of Gujarat. He can be reached at: [email protected]