There is a mood of euphoria in the country. It’s understandable. But there should also be quiet contemplation, introspection, humility and long term vision.
There is euphoria. You can smell it in the air. It is sometimes ‘on-your-face’. Not subtle at all. RW Twitter handles, to name but one group, have been jubilant and unforgiving of anyone they see as saboteurs of the temple plan. It may be difficult if you are a Muslim. But a lot of it is understandable. The wait has been long. About 170 years, even if you accept that prior to about 1850, Hindus didn’t care. That is not true of course as it cannot suddenly happen overnight. Centuries of grievances, not just over Ayodhya but over many other such temples destroyed by Islamist invaders, were held bottled up, for raising them will only invite more violence and destruction.
It had to wait for decline of Mughal rule, to take advantage of divide and rule British tactics where it could be. And of course a newly independent India where you could pursue it through the ballot or through the juidiciary or when both seemed to be a waste of time, through a more “hands on” approach. Sad as it was, the events of 1992 were centuries in the making and as emotionally significant, as the re-conquest of Serbia or Spain from the Islamist occupiers were.
More than opposition from the Muslims, it was leftist influence on Congress and the pseudo liberal discourse that kept the issue boiling for years without solution. For the Polpotist Indian left, waging its own pogrom on the Hindu faith, surrender on Ayodhya was out of question. It tried all tricks. including getting its fake archeaologists to perjure themselves before the courts. Articles were planted in leftist media flatly denying history and promoting conspiracy theories of RSS burying evidence of earlier temple. Muslims were incited and told not to compromise. Like Pakistan wanting to fight India to the last Kashmiri, Stalinist left wanted to fight Hinduism to the last Muslim.
Any Muslim talking of compromise was cancelled, de-platformed or abused. For the Nehru dynasty, beholden to the leftists to provide propaganda resources, media power, intellectual weight and shift focus away from years of sloth, loot, plunder and depravity, setting aside Hindu concerns was easy cheap and convenient. It even declared Ram a myth. Caste politics provided a convenient weapon too, a mirror of British divide-and-rule trick. It was a “all benefit, zero cost” tactic.
Until Modi happened.
Kartikeya Tanna’s excellent article in the medium (1) set me thinking. I have always felt the need for Hindu Muslim ties forged on the realities of new India and its development and of course, on the solid foundations provided by India’s rich religious and cultural heritage. I have also argued that new edifice should be built, not on lies and fake history promoted by left for its own evil reasons, but through truth and reconciliation.
Now that the “victory” is ours (and in ours, I dont just mean Hindus but all right thinking Indians), isn’t it time for introspection, accommodation, building bridges etc? As Tanna puts it,
Important as it is to cherish this moment when beliefs held by millions of devotees around the world attained judicial validation, it is equally important to bear in mind the tone surrounding this moment.
If we Hindus strongly believe that centuries of Islamic rule was brutal, oppressive and discriminatory, we should also believe that today’s Muslims are not to be blamed for that and they deserve to be our partners not adversaries.
Just as Muslims should not allow the Hinduphobic left to perpetuate conflict between the two faiths, Hindus should not allow internal strife that can only weaken the country and help real adversaries.
It is easy to argue that for the sake of economic progress and growth, we need peace. That is a good argument but is also almost the same as bribery. Yes, we need progress and we need peace but solid Hindu Muslim relations are not just about investors and stock market. It is about who we are as a people.
The way forward
For these and other reasons, I have always argued (2) that Modi is the best placed person in this century to bring about a genuine rapproachement between the two communities. We have already lost many years, as I would have thought right after the 2014 victory would have been the best moment for Modi to do that. But it is never too late to do a good thing.
Here is a ten step process to build a new India with the blessings of Lord Ram on the 5th August
- It may be too late to invite prominent Muslim faces but Modiji should address India’s Muslims directly, in conciliatory and friendly tones, offering them partnerhsip.
- Tell them it is their victory as much as it is their Hindu brothers’. That BJP and its formidable machinery will help construct a good mosque in Ayodhya as per SC judgement, should that help be needed. The enormous symbolism of this will not be lost on them if there is sincerity behind it.
- UP elections are a as good time as any to introduce good, winnable Muslim candidates that are meritorious and not selected for just being Muslims. BJP should even dare to field them in constituencies where Muslims are NOT a significant vote factor.
- Instruct its loud mouths to make changes to their habits. They are right to question anti-Hindu events or alleged atrocities. Even if they may ocassionally be wrong on facts. But they should not paint the Muslim community itself with black brush. Target the offenders, not their faith. Publicly denounce anyone doing so.
- Make it abundantly clear there is a way forward for Muslims to join BJP and rise up the ranks exactly as any Hindu can. This has happened but in token forms. Needs more numbers.
- Make clear to Muslims, Hinduism is not their enemy but leftists are. They should easily buy into this argument given the silence of Indian left’s to China’s atrocities versus Muslims and Pakistan’s own pogroms on its Shia, Baloch & other minorities. The left-jihadist alliance is but a byproduct of Beijing-ISI alliance of evil. Indian left are simply coolies of this ecosystem.
- Bring more Muslim talent into the Union cabinet. It needs fresh faces, new ideas and a more diverse outlook. There are many that are eligible, even if inexperienced. At least they can’t be any worse than some of the less competent among the current bunch.
- Go for symbolism where it makes sense. But not meaningless gestures.
- Sell them on the idea of demanding benefits for their village, mohalla or district not their religion. Make clear same principle applies to those demanding this or that concession to their own caste, religion etc. More importantly, walk the talk.
- Restore JK statehood and hold elections. Restore 4G mobile and other civil liberties but be ready to clamp down if Pakistan resorts to violence through its proxies.
- Kartikeya Tanna’s brilliant article: https://medium.com/@kartikeyatanna/ayodhya-bhumi-pujan-a-lesson-from-the-mahabharata-4b92270a422a
- 2017 article: http://www.falsenews.com/post/bjp-muslim-vote/