THE COMPULSION FOR CHANGE

Is Politics a blind alley from which there is no escape?A place where no questions is ever resolved? Till today we have not found answers to these questions and the tragedy is that, the people looking for answers are fast disappearing.

One issue which are defied solutions for nearly four years is that of Ram Janam Bhoomi and Babri Masjid, which was pushed into the blind jelly of statecraft by our previous filters. Even after innumerable talks there seems to be no solutions in sight. And today it is apparent that the people in whose days the problem cropped up, want the issue that no solution is found , because in its continuance lies their Political well being.

Our Previous rulers devoted all their energies towards creating a wall of hatred between the hindus and the muslims. They provoked both the hindus and muslims and when riots broke out,fanned the flames of distrust even harder.And they did this keeping in mind the age old strategy of divide and rule.Our Story is witness to the success of sure strategy.

The states which gained maximum notoriety due to recurring communal riots in the past five years are Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Incidentally, all these states are the ones which were governed by the congress-I. states which were not under their rule like Bengal, Andhra Pradesh,Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,Assam and Haryana did not suffer from the after-effects of roused communal passions. So the questions which comes to mind here is, why did riots break out only in state Governed by the Congress-I? There is really only one answer to this – that the Congress I is a communal party whose personal interests are best served by communal riots. This notion is strengthened by the fact that I am unable to recall any incident in which people arrested for inciting communal violence were punished or where an impartial commission’s report on the violence was published.

The strange part of all these deliberations however was that the congress, after deriving maximum political mileage out of the incidents, put the blame on the shoulders of the RSS and the BJP. But still today not one person associated with the latter parties has been arrested on charges of being involved in communal riots. On the other hand people whose involvement in inciting the violence has been established beyond a doubt continued to be openly associated with our previous ruling party.

One example of our previous rulers’ indifferences to the plight of riot victims is meerut. After the terrible carnage there, not only were the main culprits allowed to go scot free but ever the drama of holding an investigation into the affair was not enacted. The same apathy was visible in Bhagalpur, Kota,Mahu,Badaun and god knows how many places which saw the blood of innocents flow on the streets. Blood from which it was difficult to make out whether it belonged to a hindu or a muslim.Anyway, in the final analysis that did not matter because whether it was a muslim or a hindu who died, the pain felt by their mothers was the same. Most of the dead were poor men who wished to fight the battle for survival, but the then regime freed them from struggle.

Things, however, are a bit different today and the people who have some sort of selfish interest in the continuance of the Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid imbroglio are disheartened. They want the mess which was created by Buta Singh and Rajiv Gandhi to be made worse. During their days in power they tried to stretch the problem beyond repair- never letting leaders of the two communities meet in an atmosphere of amity and Peace. What Buta Singh tried to do instead was to increase the hatred and distrurst amongst the two by feeding lies about each to the other. This not only led to increasing distrust, but also widened the gulf between the two communities. And today the sole

Responsibility for dragging the temporal leaders of both communities in political warfare, for mixing religion with political and making the Ram Janam Bhoomi Babri Masjid issue a tool in the hands of selfish politicians, can be laid at Buta Shing’s door.

The pervious hom minister’s in volvement in these affairs is one reason why during last time’s moni amavasya the Hindu leaders-egged on by our previous rulers who wanted to spread the unrest- were so keen to announce the date for the commencement of construction of the Ram Mandir as early as possible. At the meet, the rejected government’s cadres tied their best to get the date announced.And all the those who under stood what was happening, kept quitebecause they did not want to be accused of treating the new government with Kid Gloves.

Another reason was that, many People were angry with V P Singh because they left that in spite of making special mention of Ram Janam Bhoomi- Babri Masjid in his inaugural address he had made no attempt to resolve the issue. And by the time these people understood that the new prime minister had been till then busy channelising all his energies towards the deteriorating situation in Punjab and the border it was too late.

On February 5, 1990, leaders of the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement and the vishwa Hindu Parishad went to meet the Prime minister in Delhi. The next day in their talks with him they explained their stand to him in great detail and expressed great satisfaction at the Sympathetic listening he gave them. But in spite of their meeting with Singh they remained firm in their decision to go ahead with the construction of the temple on February 14. Later on, these leaders want to meet the home secretary and announced their decision to start the construction in a peaceful manner. They also made it very clear that in case the government tried to stop them, they would all court arrest.

After their statements it seemed as if the talks had failed and confrontation between the government, VHP and Ram Janam Bhoomi leaders was imminent. In order to break the impasse the prime minister invited senior leaders of all supporting parties to dinner the same day to discuss the issue. According to one political leader, consensus was reached on the point that the government would take a tough stand on the issue if need arose would also effect arrests. But before this Atal Behari Vajpayee, leader of the BJP along with Jaswant Singh appealed to the Ram Janam Bhoomi committee to postpone the date of construction. But it was to no avail.

During the dinner, everyone was insistent that the prime minister resolve the issue keeping in mind the general populace’s viewpoint, forgetting that the prime minister may have his own perception of the problem. V.P Singh has always perceived the Ayodhya wrangle as on which was closely associated with the hearts and minds of the Indians.

This was one reason whey he was so disturbed about the idea of taking any legal action. And this was also the reason why he set down to write a heart -rending appeal to all involved faction when everyone had left for the day. The appeal was released the same night.

The appeal changed the whole scene. The Pacifists in the various factions felt the underlying pain and Honesty in the appeal immediately. And in their conversations a point which came up for intense appraisal was that to reject the appeal of a man who had been in power barely for two months and who had inherited the questions of Kashmir and Punjab as his legacy and who also had to contend with a disturbed situation on the western border would be sheer inhumanity. On the other hand, the militants in these factions whose purposes were served by a definite constructions date, rejected the appeal outright, knowing that the unresolved issue could be used to pressurize the incumbent government during the assembly elections. But as soon the pacifists got wind of these intentions, they changed tack.

In the emergency meeting of the Ram Janam Bhoomi committee on feburary 9, when it seemed as if the militant forces would carry the day, a prominent sadhu suddenly got up and questioned the assembled how it was that they were sympathising with Indira and Rajiv Gandhi who had never showed any inclination to even meet, let alone have a diaglogue, with them, and were acting tough with a man who had not only listened and viewed their stand sympathetically but was also willing to talk to all the factions. His statement hit home. Many felt that their present stand could be the way of politicians but it could never be one of Sadhus. The decision to postpone the date was taken forthwith.

The Government also rose to the occasion and promptly announced the formation of a committee which would try and resolve the issue with the participation of all the involved factions. The announcement saw the nation heave a sigh of relief. But the whole controversy has left a lingering question in the minds of the people.Questions which I am often asked.

According to one group or people, will the decision of giving Ram Janam Bhoomi to the Hindus, solve their problems of unemployement disease,exploitation and death? Or will the Muslims after getting the Babri Masjid be free from the problem of illiteracy, unemployment, and an abysmal living standard? If such is not the case then why are we inciting the passion of the poor of these communities to a pitch where there is nothing but blood and death? Anyway, what I would like to know is where are the people whose sole purpose in life is to uplift the poor? To me it seems quite apparent that tile people come forward to fight for the right of the poor they will continue to get involved in these meaningless bloodbaths.

There is another group of people who advocate stern governmental action against the rabble-rouser in Ayodhya. They remember the crushing blow the congress government delivered to the anti-cow slaughter movement on November 7, 1967. It was a blow which knocked the stuffing out of the movement and it spite of Vinoba Bhave also advocating the cause, it could never be revived. These people are all for similar action being taken against the committees.

The language used by the people connected with the Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid issue is not one which would promote harmony and ease relation in a democratic process. There is nothing in their language expect the desire to so dreams of heaven and hell to the poor. How I wish these factions had taken up the cause of eradicating illiteracy instead.

When questions such as the above are asked of me, I feel that the process rationalization has begun. But my heart quakes with fear when I think about the consequences of imprudent action by leaders of either community. But hopefully that will not come to pass. For we have people like Vishwanath Pratap Singh amongst us who would prefer to solve these issue keeping the human factor in mind. Also it’s becoming increasingly clear to the leaders of both communities that leading the question into the maze of politics will not take them anywhere and it will be they who will be held responsible for any carnage.

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