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Ayodhya Verdict: A lesson for the coming generation

By Soroor Ahmed, TwoCircles.net,

Though the September 30 Allahabad High Court verdict is too legal to be analysed in simple terms its one important fall-out is that it provided an opportunity to make the young generation aware of what actually happened in the tumultuous 5-6 years of the Ram Janambhoomi movement.

Even in this age of information explosion a large number of Hindu and Muslim youths under the age of 20 were, till a month back, totally unaware of what actually happened on, before and after December 6, 1992 — the day the structure was brought down by a mob of thousands led by BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati. That was not enough. The rampaging mob then went on killing and maiming Muslims and destroying their property. At places innocent passengers were thrown from the running trains or killed on roads while on way to home.

L.K. Advani ON the Somnath-Ayodhya rath yatra of 1991 [Photo: The Hindu]

The court judgement of September 30 does not in any way exonerate the killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children on the run-up to the movement to demolish the structure. Even several Hindus were killed in police firing when earlier attempt was made on Babri Masjid during the chief ministership of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

What happened from Bhagalpur in October 1989 to Surat in December 1992 (where Muslim women were stripped naked and paraded during the riots) to Mumbai in December1992-January 1993 was virtually blacked out by a large section of the media in the later years. The Lucknow Special Court ruling prompted the media to recall some of those facts before the people.

Till a few weeks back the upcoming generation was aware of what happened on March 12, 1993 in Mumbai, where serial blasts killed around 250 innocent people. But they were hardly aware of what actually happened in months and years preceding that incident. Now they have become aware of both the heinous crimes against humanity––not just one.

The verdict, in no way, justified the demolition when the case relating to it was sub-judice and when one of the party was ready to accept the court judgement from the very beginning.

Though Muslims were mostly the victims of the prolong movement, the tragedy is that the older generation of the community failed to pass on to the Gneration-Next what actually transpired, who conspired, who whipped up mass hysteria and provocked the general people and who played the heroic role in safeguarding the secular character of the country.

Uma Bharti in jubilant mood after the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6th December 1992 [Photo: OutlookIndia]

For example, even the harshest critic among Muslims of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav are now forced to recall their contributions to the cause of secularism when they were the chief ministers of the respective states. They were the two men who, then stood the test of the time. And that too when most of the so-called secular elements in the Congress were hand-in-glove with the communalists. The Left too did not play much important role in resisting the movement as one expected them to do. This in spite of the fact that the local MP of Faizabad between November 1989 and May-June 1991 was Mitrasen Yadav of the Communist Party of India. Ayodhya falls under Faizabad parliamentary constituency. It was in 1991 election that Vinay Katiyar of the Bajrang Dal won on the BJP ticket. Mitrasen later joined the Samajwadi Party.

The only exception among the Left is the CPI ML (Liberation), whose cadres came out strongly in their fight against the saffron brigade in a few places in North India.

As the verdict provided an opportunity to debate and discuss in media the whole chain of events it also gave an idea to the coming generation about the gravity of the situation. The fear, panic and uncertainity which gripped the country in the last few days before the September 30 judgement reminded the older generation of those heydays of the movement when the whole country was brought to a standstill. Parents, especially Muslims, were not sending their sons and daughters to schools and colleges, people would avoid journey and remain confined to home after sunset in many parts of the country.

Journey of terror: death and destruction following Advani’s rath yatra in 1990. [The Hindu]

We are now in the position to look at the history from hindsight and can react more maturely. It is good that even the Sangh Parivar leaders, from the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to Lal Krishna Advani and Narendra Modi, are trying to say that it is not the issue of defeat and victory. But the next generation has now become aware as to how these people celebrated on the streets of Ayodhya and many parts of the country the demolition of Babri Masjid. Media have now highlighted the photos which show Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharati and others hugging each other as the 464 years old structure was being brought down. The slogan Ek Dhako Aur Do (Give one more shove) to pull down the mosque is now known to the new generation.

Had the parties been more sensible and mature the solution could have been reached without shedding blood. The whole movement certainly polarized the country no end and gave birth to hotheads among the Muslims too. More than the verdict, the unwinding of the whole chain of events––obviously the by-product of the judgement––may go a long way to change the thinking of both the communities.

Unlike till early 1990s the passion has subsided and people have become more rational. Time has proved a great healer. Even the Sangh Parivar knows that they cannot whip up the same fervour and sentiment on the same issue once again in less than two decades. This is a lesson for the future generation.