By Abhay Kumar
There is no dearth of pain in life. We should not do anything foolish to add to it. To reduce our pain and suffering and to make our lives better, we should all work for the creation of jobs for the unemployed youth and the extension of the basic facilities of food, heath and education for all. Unfortunately, some people, backed up by the ruling elite, are trying to mislead us by saying that the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya at the exact site of the Babri mosque would make India a paradise!
With the assembly elections in five states underway and the biggest of the big 2019 General Elections just a few months to go, the building of the Ram Temple is being projected as if it is the solution of all problems in India.
Note the bankruptcy of the media of the so-called largest democracy of India; it is spreading hatred on TV screen round the clock and trying to communalize the minds of people. Should profits be only guiding forces for those who own and run media?
Moreover, special trains have been arranged to take Ram Bhakts, most of them being unemployed youth, to Ayodhya. See the irony. The unemployed youth should have raised their fists against be-rozgari and complete failures of the government to generate lakhs of jobs which it promised during the last elections. Instead, they are getting ready to inflict blows on one of the most vulnerable sections of our society, the minority Muslims who they despise as Babar ke aulad. In addition, special choppers are being flown to take the rabble-rousers and demagogues to the disputed sites. In brief, the preparation is being done to whip up communal frenzy and usher in a reign of terror as witnessed in the early 1990s. These incidents are a pointer to the fact that our so-called democracy has become hollowed within and the self-appointed Vikas purush of our time cannot survive if he is not able to inject a poisonous doze of divisiveness periodically.
There is strong evidence to suggest that the communal mobilisation is being carefully organised. No doubt the communal forces in the guise of Ram Bhaktas are visible in public, but the nexus of the leaders from the government and the so-called liberal industry is instructing them from behind the scenes. While the leaders are misusing government machinery, the industrialists are generous enough to open their coffer for making the communal plan a success. The so-called liberal scholars – who are never tired of counting the success story of the Indian democracy and do not miss a chance to point to the failure of democracy in neighborhood – should also not feel hesitant to accept the fragility of our system. Can there be a better future if we do not accept the reality?
If the communal forces are hell-bent of diving people, one can understand. They can only win if voters cast their votes on religious lines; to create such polarisation, they are racking up the issue of Ayodhya. But why are secular parties shy of talking about their own politics of opposing communalism and upholding secularism? The secular parties appear most confused today than maybe ever before. They seem to have forgotten its sworn principle of secularism. Instead of countering the communal forces, they are speaking in forked tongue. They are shamelessly trying to appear both secular and communal at the same time. A top leader of the Rajasthan Congress seemed to have gone ahead of Modi and Yogi when he said that his party alone could build the Ram Temple!
Is the construction of the Ram Temple going to solve all the problems? This is what we should definitely ask all those politicians, media persons, industrialists. I wonder how far our system has become rotten that the Ram Temple issue continues to dominate our politics. For me, the Ram Temple issue is nothing to do with aastha or faith. For example, my mother worships Lord Rama but she has never shown any interest in the disputed site. She has never shown her desire to get the Ram Temple built on the same place of Babri Masjid. For her, her Ram is with her. Her Ram does not live in Ayodhya at the site of the Babri Masjid nor does He live in Nagpur, Ashoka Road or R.K. Puram in New Delhi.
That is why I am going to pose a set of questions to the professional Ram Bhakts. These are as follows:
Are all problems of our country going to be over after the Ram Temple is built on the very site of the Babri mosque?
How am I going to get a job like millions of other unemployed youth, majority of them are of course born in Hindu families?
How is my mother – like millions of other old women – going to get adequate heath facilities in a backward district of Bihar?
How is my nephew, like millions of other boys, going to get proper educational facilities in his village?
How are millions of workers, majority of them of course born in Hindu communities, going to get their salary increased which has drastically decreased in these years?
How is the air quality of our city going to improve?
How is universal housing, educational and medical facilities going to cover all of us? How is the construction of the Ram Temple going to improve the ranking of India on the human development index?
How is the construction of the Ram Temple going to put an end to the persisting tragedy of child mortality and malnutrition? How is the construction of the Ram Temple going to ensure security, dignity and equality to all women?
As a matter of fact, the construction of the Ram Temple movement in its core is against equality. We should not forget that Advani, who is now abandoned by his own disciple Modi, took out the rath yatra to suppress anti-caste mandal mobilisation. This time also the Temple issue is racked up to divert people’s anger and weaken people’s movements.
Many of you would agree with me that the frenzy created behind building Ram Temple can only break our society. Such a divisive programme run by the saffron forces can only shed blood, destroy properties and families and inflict another wound on the body-politic of India. That is why we can never let them succeed in their anti-people agendas.
At this critical juncture, we must boldly tell these self-appointed devotees of Lord Rama that there is no dearth of the Ram Temple in our society. What is lacking, instead, is quality schools and hospitals. Our reply to these so-called Ram Bhakta, whenever we meet them, should be like this: “If Lord Rama is God and the Creator of everything, then do not care for the House of Lord. He has not asked you to shed blood for construction of His Abode.”
We must also ask them if the project of building the House of Lord be permitted by God if it involves the destruction of the houses of His sons and daughters. Ask them also why they have never shown any such concern for roti, kapda aur makan.
This time again they have been funded and sponsored by the powerful people at the top. That is why we need to be alert. These poisonous snakes have become active again. The success of the communalist forces in the upcoming elections depends largely on how far they have been able to spit venom.
Given that we have to be alert and watchful all the time, we cannot let communal polarisation and communal tension to prevail. We should never allow them to repeat Ayodhya of the early 1990s.
On our part, we must do everything to maintain peace and harmony in society. Nothing costs us more than violence in society.
Moreover we must isolate and reject the rabble-rousers of our community. Nothing could be more misleading than the talk of Hindus or Muslim being in danger. We should not forget that the rich do not hesitate to exploit the poor of his/her own religion.
The reason why such a false discourse is created is because the ruling elites perceive serious threat from the discontents of the toiling masses. That is why they have (re-)created an emotional and religious issue, the issue of Ram Temple. Their nefarious design is to set the majority community against the minority and appear as sympathetic to the majority community and then claim the lion’s share of their votes.
Given that, we all have to remain watchful. We should never let the unity of people be broken on communal issues. The time is apt to tell these divisive forces and their bosses that much before the birth of their communal ideas and sectarian party, Hindus and Muslims have been living as neighbors in peace and communal harmony. Their peaceful coexistence is testified by the history of thousand years.
To foil their design completely, we all have to work together. Wherever we are, we should work as the ambassador of peace and communal harmony. I, therefore, invite you to take a pledge along with me:
- That we will reject anyone, be it a Hindu or a Muslim, who tries to mobilise us by appealing to our religious sentiments.
- That we will do our best to protect the constitutional values of secularism, peace and communal harmony.
- That we should reject all rumours and hate campaigns directed against any religious group.
- That we will keep in mind that God does not live in any religious place but in the heart of believes. Given that no one is justified to take the path of violence in the name of building any particular religious place.
- That we will keep in mind that religion is a matter of personal belief and anyone making politics over it is not a religious person but a hate-monger and enemy of peace.
- That we will stand in solidarity with our friends, neighbours, and any human being irrespective of any religion, caste, gender and region.
Abhay Kumar has recently submitted his PhD at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. His broad areas of interest are the Indian Muslims and social justice. Some of his other writings are available at abhaykumar.org
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City and India. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.
Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on “New Woman: Then and Now”, edited by Priyanka Chatterjee and Sanchayita Chakraborty, India.