XXXVIII, 4, October-December 2022
Assert India’s Unity
WE BOW our heads in shame. The vandals masquerading as reli¬gious heads, their political mouthpieces and their fanatic foot-sol¬diers have been able to accomplish the most despicable job of destroying the four and half centuries old structure known as the Babri Masjid. In order to do it, their religious ethics did not come in the way of resorting to every conceivable subterfuge, deception and blatant lies. On 6 December, they almost succeeded in killing India. And 6th of December will be known in the historical calen¬dar of this country as BLACK SUNDAY.
All patriots, and the Left in particular, have always taken great pride in and stood as the defenders of a united India, indivisible, and hence indestructible. In one of his first poems, Rabindranath Tagore, one of the India’s greatest poets and visionaries, pro¬claimed how the Shakas, Huns, Pathans and Mughals had come as invaders, but in the time became absorbed into and contributed another rich segment to the tapestry of Indian culture. Thus was built the glory and majesty on Indian civilization.
While therefore, ethnically, culturally, linguistically, reli¬gion-wise and now to a great extent politically, India has come to consist of divergent groups, all of them pledged to remaining together in one country called “India, that is Bharat”. Some two centuries back a famous English poet had said that when a part of the whole dies, the whole dies to the extent of the part. Therefore, “ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”. A part of India was sought to be murdered on BLACK SUNDAY and because of it the whole of India is writhing in excruciating pain. Hundreds of lives, nobody knows for sure the exact number, have already been lost in a fratricidal war. How many hundreds are yet to be sacrificed? As Indians, believing in the secular and democratic destiny of the country, we are forced to bow our heads in shame that such things could actually be perpetrated. How this dastardly purpose was achieved though bluster and deceit is now common knowledge, and has been detailed elsewhere in this issue.
The BJP, the common mouthpiece of these fanatic outfits, which assured the Supreme Court, the parliament of India and the country that karseva would be confined to Bhajans and kirtans only, is not only not repentant or apologetic about what incal¬culable harm it has done to the secular and democratic fabric of India’s body politic, it is stridently justifying what has been done in the name of faith. When logic and reason fail to dissuade such betrayers, then it is time to unleash the organized force of the state to bear upon them.
But who is to perform this job? Obviously, the government. But still two days after the event the government of India was still seemingly under paralysis and numbed. Clearly if the BJP was the perpetrator, Narasimha Rao was the abettor. If he seriously be¬lieved that two and half lakh people were coming to Ayodhya for ‘bhajan and kirtan’, he was a simpleton. And a simpleton cannot be retained at the helm of affairs of a country. It was the case that he was afraid to take early action immediately after the non-BJP secular opposition gave him a carte blanche to do whatever he thought fit to foil the suspected nefarious designs of the sangh pari¬var, he must be deemed to be too timid, to say the least, to occupy the exalted position of prime minister of great country as in India.
Internationally, we are fast becoming a pariah. Pakistan is finding justification for its misdeeds, and the Arab countries, with whom we had excellent relations, are reconsidering these relations, perhaps even an oil embargo. Even Bush, despite his own black record vis-à-vis the blacks and Hispanics in his own country, has found an opportunity to express his ‘displeasure’. Thus India’s fair name is being dragged in the mud.
To Keep the secular flag aloft was the duty, obligation and responsibility of Narasimha Rao. He has failed and failed misera¬bly. He must go. He no longer enjoys the moral right to continue. Meanwhile the sternest possible measures must immediately ad¬opted to contain the escalating threat of a fratricidal war. Deter¬rent punishment should be meted out to those responsible for the destruction of the structure, with no quarter given to them. This is time to act with courage, determination and decision.
Editorial in People’s Democracy, 13 December, 1992
Demolition: A Continuum
IF ever any confirmation were needed, it has come in a stunning manner during the course of this turbulent decade. And, that is the following: the demolition of the Babri Masjid was not an in¬dividual isolated act of a frenzied communal mob but is a part of a well-thought out theoretical and ideological project that seeks to convert the secular democratic republic of modern India into a fascistic “Hindu Rashtra”.
These years, particularly from 1998, when the BJP-led co¬alition came to control the reins of State power in the country, have chillingly demonstrated the unfolding of this sinister agen¬da. Their diabolic character is revealed by the manipulation of legal procedures subverting the law of the land preventing action against L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others in the case of criminal conspiracy to demolish the Masjid. The recent Su¬preme Court ruling to try the case afresh in the Rae Bariely courts throws back the process of justice by a decade.
In the pursuit of this objective, the communal forces have ad¬opted a two pronged strategy. On the one hand, they seek to gen¬erate a sort of a monolithic unity amongst the vast diversity within the community of Indians embracing Hindu religion, and, on the other, they generate hate against enemies outside of the Hindu faith, i e the Muslims and the Christians. The entire propaganda machinery is based on the Nazi methodology of `superiority’ of the Aryans and hatred of Jews.
In fact, the ideological foundations for a Hindu Rashtra, were laid in the 20s by V D Savarkar. It was later adopted and an organ¬isational structure provided for this by the RSS after its foundation in 1925 and particularly, in the period of the late thirties when the British inspired communal divide was exploited to the full.
This objective was articulated by none less than the former long serving RSS supremo M S Golwalkar way back in 1939 in a book titled, “We or our nationhood defined”. His chilling fascist articulation of the RSS agenda continues to be the inspiration for the saffron brigade today.
Eminent intellectuals and patriots have described these later years of the decade as “forebodings of fascism”, “pre-fascist up¬heaval” etc. This is all too visible in every sphere of our public life -- Rabid communal polarisation; fascist intolerance against ev¬erything and everybody that challenges the RSS variety of “Hindu Rashtra”; large-scale penetration of all institutions of democratic society by RSS people; contempt for the republican Constitution; unscrupulous maneouvres, manipulations and sordid bargain¬ing sans all principles and norms; heaping unprecedented econom¬ic burdens on the people; and rampant unmitigated corruption.
The international experience of fascism as generalised by Georgi Dimitrov, the indomitable anti-fascist fighter, is being fully confirmed. Dimitrov had said: “Fascism puts the people at the mercy of the most corrupt and venal elements but comes before them with the demand for `an honest and incorruptible government’ speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses…fascism adapts its demagogy to the peculiarities of each country. And the mass of petty bourgeois and even a section of the workers, reduced to despair by want, unemployment and insecurity of their existence fall victim to the social and chauvinist demagogy of fascism”. Recollect the RSS/BJP’s continuous drone of claiming to be a “party with a difference”. The litany of corruption, scandals and scams under this government has put everybody but the Saffron Brigade to shame. Yet, the government continues to brazen out shamelessly.
Dimitrov had also said that: “It is in the interests of the most reactionary circles of the bourgeoisie that fascism intercepts the dis¬appointed masses who desert the old bourgeois parties.” Its years in office have clearly established that this government’s policies are both pro-imperialist and in the interests of the most reactionary sections of Indian monopoly capital. In fact, this Vajpayee gov¬ernment has been the most pro-US government that independent India has ever had. Its economic policies have, on the one hand, mortgaged our country’s economic sovereignty and, on the other, impoverished the vast mass of the Indian people. In the foreign policy sphere, India has been reduced virtually as an appendage to US strategic interests in the region.
Further, these years have also shown the single-minded assault being mounted on India’s education system. The RSS’s objective of seeking to impose a uniformity on the rich diversity amongst the people belonging to the Hindu faith into a mono¬lithic “Hindu” by venomously spreading deeper the communal hatred against the minorities can be seen in the changes that they are bringing about in the syllabus for our school students. The education system is, thus, being restructured to strengthen com¬munal prejudices which the Saffron Brigade hopes will ease its journey towards achieving its fascist objective.
Likewise, these years have seen the relentless pursuit of re¬writing Indian history. Distorting facts and historical evidence is absolutely necessary for the Saffron Brigade in order to establish their so-called claim to be the irrefutable masters of this land called India. For such a “Hindu Rashtra”, it is necessary to estab¬lish that Hindus, and Hindus alone, were the original inhabitants of India. This, in turn, requires proof that Hindus did not come here from anywhere else. For, if they had, then their claim on this land would be no different from all others belonging to different religious affiliations who came to settle in this land.
For Golwalkar then and the RSS today, the term Hindu is synonymous with Aryan. The high priests of Hindu society are still called the Aryawarta.
Rejecting with fascist contempt, all historical evidence to the contrary, the recent efforts to rewrite Indian history are singu¬larly motivated to prove that India and India alone is the land of origin of the Aryans. They would have us believe that it is from here that the Aryans travelled around the world. The Saffron Brigade would have us believe that Hitler, who imposed fascism in Germany in the name of the superiority of the Aryan race, was actually a migrant from India!
The recent years have shown that there is no stone that the RSS would leave unturned in its pursuit of its fascist objec¬tive. The mainstay of its activities, however, remains the whip¬ping up of communal passions and the consequent riots that are engineered. Every single judicial commission of enquiry that was instituted to probe communal riots in India since independence has singled out the RSS as the main perpetrator. Since assuming power, its activities on this score have grown sharply.
The State-sponsored communal carnage in Gujarat remains, however, the worst inhuman and savage act that they have com¬mitted so far. What has happened in Gujarat recently is tanta¬mount to ethnic cleansing. The RSS and its affiliates are so brazen that leave alone showing remorse, they actually hail the incendiary killings in Gujarat as the “glory of the Hindus”.
Another point that was made repeatedly in these columns has also been confirmed. And, this is the fact that the BJP is nothing else but the political arm of the RSS. But for the compulsions of keeping the coalition of the NDA in order to remain in power, the fascist agenda would have unfolded even more rapidly under Mr. Vajpayee’s leadership. While mounting such heinous atrocities, the saffron brigade continues to seek to absolve itself under the guise of upholding “national sentiments”. From the demolition of the Babri Masjid (which was justified by the present Prime Minister himself on the floor of the Parliament by saying that the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya was a reflection of the “national sentiment”, thus echoing Golwalkar who asserts that only a “Hindu” is “national”) to the production of nuclear weap¬ons, everything is, according to them, the reflection of “national sentiment” which has not seen such glory (sic) ever before.
The RSS variety of nationalistic jingoism is sought to replace true Indian nationalism that unites people of all faiths, religions, castes and languages.
These years have actually confirmed, once again, what Dim¬itrov had said: “Fascism acts in the interests of extreme imperialists but presents itself to the masses in the guise of a wronged nation and appeals to (so called) outraged `national’ sentiments.”
Thus, if India, as we know of it today, has to be saved from this fascist onslaught, then this communal juggernaut has to be stopped in its tracks. This requires the unity of all Left, secular and democratic forces who cherish India, i e, Bharat. Given the fact that some regional political parties who succumb to both political opportunism and the enticement to share the spoils of office con¬tinue to prop up this Vajpayee government and the RSS fascistic project, only a popular people’s movement to defeat these forces politically can save the situation.
It is this popular movement that has to be strengthened urgently. This special issue of People’s Democracy, we hope, will contribute to this struggle.
Editorial in People’s Democracy, 8 December, 2002
(Tenth Anniversary of the Demolition)
Redouble Resolve to Strengthen India’s Secular, Democratic Foundations
Today is the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mas¬jid by the RSS/BJP led combine of communal forces. On every 6th of December, since 1992, the country hangs its head in shame recollecting the vandalism and destruction of the Babri Masjid. Amongst all others, this memory highlights the disastrous con¬sequences of having a rabidly communal outfit assume the reins of State power. It is inconceivable that the Babri Masjid could have been destroyed the way it was without the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The complicity and the patronage provided by the government not only allowed but aided the gravest assault on India’s secular democratic foundations.
Nothing illustrates this fact more than the verdict of the desig¬nated court which chargesheeted the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Para 59 of the Hon’ble Court’s order of 9th Sep¬tember, 1997 states:
“From our description it is concluded that in the present case a criminal conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure of Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid was hatched by the accused persons in the beginning of 1990 and was completed on 6 December, 1992. Sri Lal Krishan Advani and others hatched criminal conspiracies to demolish the disputed premises on different times at different places. Therefore, I find a prima facie case to charge....” (The list continues with many people, including Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambari etc.)
Though subsequently when these communal forces assumed the reins of the Central government with the BJP leading the NDA coalition, they tried their best to manipulate this charge sheet and seek the exclusion of Mr. Advani, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. However, on May 7, 2012, the CBI informed the Supreme Court that these charges cannot be dropped. A full twenty years later, justice has been denied to our Republic as those responsible for such an attack on the secular foundations of our country have not been brought to book. Justice delayed is justice denied. The legal proceedings continue to remain before the judi¬ciary. Likewise, nothing tangible has happened on the report of the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry.
The modern secular democratic Indian Republic emerged on the basis of the syncretic ethos that truly represents Indian culture and tradition. The spread of communal poison and sharpening of communal polarization that deepens the virus of strife and blood¬shed only destroys this very Indian cultural ethos. The irony and agony lies in the fact that such destruction is done in the name of protecting and advancing Indian ethos.
Having led the `rath yatra’ for the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya that left behind a trail of bloodshed and strife, Mr. Advani made an amazing claim in the Lok Sabha in 1999 that the demolition of Babri Masjid had jolted him “personally”. “It was unfortunate. It shouldn’t have hap¬pened”. However, he hastened to add, “I am proud of the Ayodhya movement”.
Soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Mr. Advani gave a call for a national debate on secularism. He outlined the BJP’s conception in a set of two articles (The Indian Express, De¬cember 27 & 28, 1992). Though these were a painfully laboured attempt to whitewash the BJP’s brazen violation of law, the ca¬pitulation of the assurances given by it to the Supreme Court and the National Integration Council and to disguise the pre-planned and rehearsed destruction of the Babri Masjid, three `covenents’ of BJP’s definition of secularism were advanced. On today’s occasion, let us examine them.
(a) “Rejection of theocracy”. This means the automatic up¬holding of not only democracy but also secularism. However, does the BJP today repudiate what their Guruji Golwalkar had said: “In Hindustan exists, and must exist, the ancient Hindu nation, and nought else but the Hindu nation. All those not belonging to the national, i.e., Hindu race, religion, culture and language, naturally fall out of the pale of real national life”.
The BJP has not disowned this till date. This only means that they continue the efforts at misleading the people and attempting to camouflage the real RSS intention of transforming the modern secular democratic Indian Republic into a rabidly intolerant `fa¬scistic’ “Hindu Rashtra”.
(b) “Equality of all citizens irrespective of faith”. The BJP’s commitment to this concept can be understood only if they, once again, repudiate what Golwalkar said about all those non-Hindus living in our country as legal citizens inheriting India’s rich plural legacy as much as Hindus themselves. Golwalkar had said that non-Hindus “have no place in national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the nation, and completely merge themselves in the national race. So long however as they maintain their racial religious and cultural differences, they cannot but be only foreigners”. Does the BJP repudiate this today?
(c) “Full freedom of faith and worship”. It is, indeed, ironic that he had advanced this precept of BJP’s concept of secularism soon after the wanton destruction of the Babri Masjid! After the Gujarat carnage 2002 and its constant efforts to return to RSS ba¬sics, it is unlikely that the BJP will repeat such a perfidy. The BJP’s sincerity can be understood, once again, if only they are willing to repudiate what Golwalkar said:
“The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea except the glorification of the Hindu religion and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or they may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu na¬tion, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any prefer¬ential treatment - not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation, let us deal as old nations ought to and do deal with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country”.
Not too ingeniously, Mr. Advani had then deliberately left out of his definition of secularism, its scientific foundation, the separation of religion from politics and the State. As long as this is not adhered to secularism in the sense of equal rights to all belonging to different faiths cannot be ensured. In evading this, Mr. Advani is only echo¬ing, once again, Golwalkar: “With us, every action in life, individual, social or political is a command of religion…Indeed politics itself becomes...a small factor to be considered and followed solely as one of the commands of religion and in accord with such commands. We in Hindusthan have been living such a religion (Hinduism).”
The BJP’s call for a national debate on secularism, which it periodically keeps reiterating, is nothing but a ruse to mask its real intentions of functioning as the political arm of the RSS and working for the realization of the RSS agenda of transforming the secular democratic Indian Republic into their vision of a rabidly intolerant fascistic `Hindu Rashtra’.
In the supreme interests of Bharat – i.e., India – such a diabolic agenda needs to be foiled. Any remembrance of 6 December will have a meaning only if the resolve to checkmate and defeat these forces is strengthened. Ancient wisdom that has filtered down the centuries tells us that “for the evil to succeed, the good only has to be silent”. This 20th anniversary is the appropriate occasion for all Indian patriots to redouble their resolve, to break such silence.
Editorial in People’s Democracy, 9 December, 2012
(Twentieth Anniversary of the Demolition)
The Republic Besmirched
The worst was feared in Ayodhya and the worst has come to pass. The disputed Babri Masjid structure has been razed to the ground. Despite solemn promises made to the Supreme Court, the Kalyan Singh government and the leaders of the Sangh parivar failed to prevent this gross act of vandalism. The failure reveals their inability or unwillingness or both to operate within the con¬fines of the Constitution. No matter how much they try to explain away the destruction of the mosque, the fact remains that in the eyes of the nation they have effectively placed themselves outside the rule of law. The BJP, which has been in power in four states and enjoys considerable influence in several parts of the country, will have to pay a heavy price for its abysmal conduct. In one swift stroke it has forfeited its claims to be a party of governance. The nation will be well within its rights to ask how it can be entrusted with any responsibility if it lost its nerve with such abruptness during the dramatic developments on Sun- day. It has invited the charge of unconstitutional behaviour.
The developments also expose the pernicious features of hin¬dutva espoused by the Sangh parivar. The doctrine draws its sus¬tenance from hate, prejudice, bigotry and a determined and cyni¬cal refusal to abide by the pluralistic, tolerant and ethically sound character of Hinduism. The achieve its political ends, the Sangh parivar has wantonly exploited religious sentiments. Its brand of nationalism, far from uniting the Hindu community, has sown seeds of distrust and divisiveness. This would be all too evident from the consequences of the destruction of the Babri Masjid: the gulf between India’s largest communities has widened; the Indian state has been thrown on the defensive and India’s face has been blackened. The horrendous irony of it all is that such misery has been perpetrated in the name of Lord Ram, a name which in the hearts of millions of Hindus evokes sentiments of valour, justice and tolerance.
It is however not enough to squarely blame only the hindutva forces for Sunday’s developments. The central government, Par¬liament, the courts and all those who shape opinion cannot escape their share of the responsibility. Quite clearly, they were unable to gauge the depth and extent to which the hindutva elements had spread their influence in the body politic. It is otherwise hard to explain the behaviour of the law and order forces and of the administration in Ayodhya. Their passivity and, in certain cases, even complicity during Sunday’s kar sevaks are a shameful com¬ment on their commitment to uphold the law. Had these factors been taken into account, it is more than likely that the situation would not have gone out of control. Steps would have been taken to ensure that the large congregation of kar sevaks remained at a safe distance from the mosque and that hotheads were held on a tight leash. But this is a thing of the past. The critical question now is the response of the Indian state to the aftermath of events in Ayodhya.
An early response, though frankly unusual, has come from President Shankar Dayal Sharma. His statement expresses with eloquence the anguish and anger that Sunday’s developments inspire in the overwhelming majority of our people. He has de¬nounced the vandalism and its perpetrators in the clearest possi¬ble terms, requested the Prime Minister to “initiate appropriate measures to uphold the rule of law, the maintenance of public order and the protection of all law-abiding citizens” and appealed to the people to “maintain peace and unity and cooperate with one another in curbing all anti-national elements”. The statement must command the attention it merits as a testament of faith in the Indian people’s abhorrence of fanaticism. The nation now looks to the central government to demonstrate as firmly as it can that it intends to counter the forces of fanaticism, heal the wounds inflicted on the Muslim minority and ensure that appropriate obeisance is paid to Lord Ram only within the frame- work of the Constitution. The dismissal of the Kalyan Singh government is a first indication of the government’s will. Note must also be taken of the appeal of the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid to his co-religionists to remain calm. Finally the enormity of what transpired in Ayodhya on Sunday would be obvious from the BJP’s statement owning “moral responsibility” for the destruction of the mosque. Many more forceful moves will have to be made in the days ahead if the republic is to be saved from the scourge of hate and bigotry.
The Times of India, 7 December, 1992
The Death of a Dream
The country was treated to a variety of statements in the run up to 6 December by the BJP, and their allies, the VHP and assorted sants, designed on balance to lull this nation into a false sense of complacency. There will be no construction, kar seva means bha¬jans and kirtans, we will not touch the mosque immediately, we will respect court orders and more in same vein.
Even when Mr. L.K. Advani corrected the impression being given, he was careful to refer to shovels and spades only. Those implements are used for construction not for breaking down and the deception was complete.
Around noon, as so-called kar sevaks infiltrated into the mosque in ones and twos, the idols smuggled into the mosque nearly forty years ago were brought out and only then was the assault on the mosque begun. On the evidence, the mosque was destroyed not in the frenzy of the moment but according to plan.
Mr Kalyan Singh’s resignation, the Prime Minister’s anguish on television, and the bandh called by the Congress (1) do not wipe out the impression of carefully coordinated moves to give the BJP what it wanted this time round. The judiciary also will find it difficult to shake off the impression that they were helping the Central Government in an entirely sensible direction certain¬ly, but too close for comfort. Normally, judgements are scheduled only the day before, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court announced on December 4 that their verdict would be pronounced on December 11.
Only the Left parties come out of this disaster with honour. They have timed their moment well to force the Prime Minister to choose between them and the BJP. Mr. Nrasimha Rao will be forced take a stand and he has little choice in the matter.
If he is to survive he will not be in a position to offer the BJP any escape route from the situation they have created with cold calculation but which they will no longer be able to control as events unfold. They will protest that those who perpetrated the deed had nothing to do with them. They will be laughed out of court. As the The Statesman reporter’s eye-witness account tes¬tifies, the BJP this time round had taken good care to select kar sevaks who would do their bidding, no more and no less. The concerted attack on journalists, reporting the ghastly deed partic¬ularly photo-journalists, was part of a pattern.
The short point is that the destruction of the mosque could have been prevented. The armed forces and the reliable para-mil¬itary units should have been deployed between the kar-sevaks and the mosque not held so far from the scene as to be ineffective. If the BJP and their supporters, fired by a spurious zeal, only intend¬ed to exercise their singing voice why was it necessary to cram ev¬ery inch of space and more with hundreds of thousands of them?
To chant hymns of unity on Doordarshan and invoke Tulsi¬das and Kabir, to call on the people to remain calm and appropri¬ate sentiments expressed by the country’s leaders is not enough. If the father of the nation were alive today he would ask the mosque be rebuilt preferably by the Hindus who destroyed it, and suggest that the temple to Rama be built nearby and urge Muslims to help with it, Mahatma Gandhi was shot and killed on January 30, 1948. He died on Sunday, 6 December, and a part of the dream that was India died with him.
The Statesman, 7 December, 1992
The nation must hang its head in shame over what has happened at Ayodhya. The storming and destruction of most of the Babri Masjid by the karsevak is a blot on India’s liberal tradition and tolerant spirit Hinduism has always been known for.
The Kalyan Singh government has been dismissed for its gross failure to protect the disputed structure and president’s rule im¬posed in the state. But is that enough of an atonement for India to retain a place of honour in the comity of nations?
The damage has been done not to the mosque – whatever it was built on - but to what India stands for. No one knows how long it will take now to repair the psychological divide Sunday’s events have brought about.
Heavens would not have fallen if those who claim to be lead¬ers of the Hindus had waited for an amicable settlement of the dis¬pute or the court’s opinion whether there indeed existed a temple where a mosque was there until Saturday. No divine wrath would have been incurred if 6 December had not been fixed as the dead¬line for achieving the objectives decided by the self-proclaimed leaders of the Hindus.
The responsibility for Sunday’s gory events at Ayodhya should rest among others on men like Lal Krishna Advani who chose to ride the ‘rath’ without knowing where it would lead him and the country to and Murli Manohar Joshi whose rigid posture could not be explained by an factors other than party compulsions and myopia. Mr. Advani perhaps was bothered more about personal ambition to the prime minister of the country than concerned about national unity. Dr. Joshi was more bothered about his sec¬ond term as president of the BJP than anything else……
There is a crisis in the nation as much of politics as of con¬science. The nation must now pause and reflect over where things have gone wrong…...
The Congress party opened the locks at Ayodhya, and three years ago allowed Shilnyas to seek electoral advantage without foreseeing the consequences of what it was doing at that time. The BJP leaders, afraid of losing a constituency, chose to ride the temple ‘rath’ without realizing that they won’t be able to control the forces they were unleashing in the process…...
There is national crisis after all. The governments at the centre and in the states have to take all steps to maintain law and order. The people all over the country, also need to exercise restraint and ensure that communal peace is not disturbed by those who are always waiting for a chance to wreck it…….
H.K. Dua, Hindustan Times, 7 December, 1992
The Nation Betrayed
The outrage Ayodhya witnessed on Sunday is an affront to our national honour. India’s principal opposition party now stands exposed as one only too willing to resort to deceit and dastardli¬ness in its frentic pursuit of a religious goal. India’s ruling party has set a new landmark in political pusillanimity.
If the Congress party had not turned its calculated ineptness into a shameful strategy of inaction, if the Bharatiya Janata Party had not hoped to gain political mileage out of brinkmanship and subterfuge, India would have been spared this ominous fallout of all that has gone on in the name of mandir and masjid for these past few years. And, there is little doubt that Sunday’s senseless¬ness, and inexorable culmination of all our compulsive shenan¬igans, will render our fragile fraternity ever more vulnerable to communal extremism.
Conceivably, they may now gloat over their present achieve¬ment, heralding it as an assertion of the Hindu will... (What) their leaders do not realise (is) that their victory is India’s loss, in this fratricidal game. They have mindlessly intensified the morbid fears of some people which their bigoted leaders will now love to put to their narrow sectarian ends.
Much as BJP leaders disown responsibility for whatever has happened in Ayodhya, no one is naive enough to take them for their word. There is ample reason to believe that in the final days of the run up to the vandalism in Ayodhya, they chose to be led by the rabid ring leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal and what have you. Nothing else can possibly ex¬plain the volte face on the part of its leadership which had once decided not to let its MPs take part in karseva. Before the echo of his direction died down, no less a person than Mr. L.K. Advani was constrained to announce that he was himself setting out to Ayodhya to participate in karseva besides the party president, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi...
It is a moot point whether Mr. Kalyan Singh was a victim of the course of events, or an avid spectator and abettor of that act of illegality. There may not be many takers for the view that he or his party was overtaken by events and that they had not anticipated this provocative scenario even as they were giving every affidavit that was sought by the Supreme Court. What is frightening is that a chief minister and his party, which happens to be the country’s principal opposition formation, can make deceit its stratagem and have the temerity to make affirmations in court, which it has no intention or ability to implement.
The Indian Express, 7 December 1992