When Babri Mosque was being demolished in broad day light, the slogan being chanted by the leaders was, Yeh to Kewal jahnki hai, Kashi Mathura Baaki hai (This is the beginning, Kashi Mathura are next on the line).  Supreme Court despite giving the same land to those who demolished the Mosque did call it a crime. The Ram Temple was used to the hilt for electoral purpose and for dividing the society along religious lines. The faith that ‘Lord Ram was born precisely at that spot’ was constructed. This constructed faith formed the base of politics and later the judgement of the Courts.

Having achieved this milestone of religious nationalism, now what next? As such there is no dearth of divisive issues, issues based around identity, issues which demonise the religious minorities, marginalise them and give a boost to sectarian nationalism, some of these are permanently on the agenda like, love jihad, (added on by land jihad, corona jihad, civil service jihad etc.) holy cow, large families, Uniform Civil code among other. There is a regular addition to such issues, through which the majoritarian politics aims to show the majority community as the victim of minorities.

In that sense the issue of Kashi and Mathura are potent issues, which can add on to the already existing plethora of identity issues. In Kashi, abutting the wall of Vishwanath Temple is Gyanwapi Mosque. Some say this was built at the time of Akbar and others say it was Aurangzeb during whose reign it was built. In Mathura, Shahi Idgah mosque stands next to Krishna janma Bhumi Temple. As per the section of Hindu belief the Holy Trio is Ram, Shiva and Krishna which are the most important deities. So the places of importance become Ram (Ayodhya), Shiva (Varanasi) and Krishna (Mathura) which are the three major places to be retrieved.

While the current narrative being popularized is that scores of temples have been destroyed by the invading Muslim rulers of these at least three have to be retrieved as per Hindu Nationalists. There have also been talks and formulations floating that Jama Masjid in Delhi and Jama Masjid in Ahmadabad are also the places, which have been built on Hindu places of worship. The temple destructions have been dealt with by many scholars of History and Archaeology. Temples have been destroyed for political rivalry, assertion of one’s rule and for wealth. It is not only Muslim kings who destroyed Hindu temples, some of them gave generous donations to Hindu temples. Firmans of King Aurangzeb tell us of scores of temple where he gave donations, to recount just couple of them- Kamakhya Devi in Guwahati, Mahakal in Ujjain, and Lord Krishna in Vrindavan. He also destroyed a mosque in Golconda when the local ruler refused to give him the tribute for three consecutive years.

D.D. Kosambi points out (Quoted in ‘Religious Nationalism’, Media House 2020, page 107) that Raja Harshdev of 11th Century Kashmir who appointed a special officer, Devottapatna Nayak, to uproot gold, silver and precious stones studded idols during his regime. Richard Eaton tells us about rival Hindu kings destroying the defeated opponents Kuldevata (Clan god) Temple to build temple of their own clan God. In Srirangatnam Maratha armies destroyed the Hindu temple and Tipu got it repaired! Somehow selective communal historiography has ensured the temple destruction becoming a major seed of divisive politics in India.

If we go a bit further back into history the clash between Buddhism and Brahmanism led to destruction of thousands of Buddha Viharas. Recently while levelling the ground for Ram Temple ground breaking many remnants of Buddha Vihar were found. Historian Dr. M.S. Jayaprakash points out “Hundreds of Buddhist statues, stupas and viharas have been destroyed in India between 830 and 966 AD in the name of Hindu revivalism. Both literary and archaeological sources within and outside India speak volumes about the havoc done to Buddhism by Hindu fanatics… many Hindu kings and rulers took pride in demolishing Buddhist images aiming at the total eradication of Buddhist culture.”

In this backdrop where do we go from here after we have seen the mayhem created around Lord Ram Temple in Ayodhya? The social and political fallout of the whole issue has pushed our democracy several steps backwards. It has relegated the religious minorities in to the cocoon of second class citizenship.

As Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad has declared that it will initiate the campaign for liberation of Kashi and Mathura, it has also said that in due course the arms of Sangh Parivar will be asked to join in. At the moment RSS is saying that it is not keen on the issue, but it seems it is a matter of time when it will jump into the Kashi-Mathura fray and deepen the impact of the campaign to be launched by Akhada Parishad. Already calling the mosques as two “symbols of slavery”, BJP leader and rural development and panchayat raj minister in Karnataka K.S. Eshwarappa had said on August 5 that “a symbol of slavery disturbs our attention and points out that you are a slave”. He reiterated his stance and said, “… All Hindus across the world have a dream that those symbols of slavery should be removed on the lines of Ayodhya. The masjids in Mathura and Kashi will be destroyed too and temples will be rebuilt.”

As such legislation is in place which states, “prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

Temple politics has dragged us into the politics, which is against plural, democratic ethos. The success of right wing forces to increase their clout through Ram Temple campaign may further, prompt them to go in this direction, which is detrimental to the progress and development of the country. The hope is that the majority people oppose such issues being rekindled again.

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

Stay on Transmission of Hate Programof Sudarshan TV

Prashant Bhushan, the up, Bindaas Bol, which light legal luminary and social activist has shown the mirror to the Judiciary in a reamarkable way. But thats not the whole story. Recently two interventions of the Courts do give a hope that the judiciary is the hope for preserving the democratic values in the osicety. The first one of this was the judgement where the Tabiligi Jamaat members were exonerated from the charges of spreading Corona (Corona Jihad, Corona bomb). The second one is the courts coming to stop the transmission of hte series Bindass Bol by Sudarshan TV. Its Editor Suresh Chavanke in his tweet had announced the relay of the series which aims to expose the UPSC jihad, Bureucracy jihad by Muslims. As per him through a conspiracy the Muslims are infiltrataing (ghuspaith) into our bureaucracy by getting place in the UPSC exam, which will entitle them to become IAS or IPS officers.

Mr. Chavanke through a 45 Second teaser of his serial claimed that Jamia Jihadis will be occupying the prestigious positions of power through this Jihad. Interstingly of the 30 odd candidates who qualified in the exam 16 were Muslims and 14 Hindus. The Jamia Students approached the Court for a stay on this serial, which hte Courts gave on the gounds that htis serial is likely to spread hate in the society. A joint letter of retired Civil Servants, who have served that Indian Government in various capacities point out that they have no poltical affiliation, stated “It is completely perverse to allege that there is a conspiracy to infiltrate Muslim officers into the services, or to use terms like UPSC Jihad or Civil Services Jihad in this connection. These communal and irresponsible statements amount to hate speech and are defamatory of an entire community.”

As such “Muslims make up 3.46 per cent of the country’s 8,417 IAS and IPS officers. Of 292 Muslim officers, 160 are among the 5,862 who had been selected through the Civil Services examinations conducted by the UPSC, while the remaining 132 are among 2,555 who were promoted to the IAS or IPS from the state civil services on the basis of seniority and performance, which is also assessed by the UPSC. (https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/muslims-add-up-to-3-in-ias-ips-list/). The other data is also very revealing. In the 2019 examination, 35 out of 829 selected candidates were Muslims. That comes to 4.22%, whereas their percentage in the population of India, according to the 2011 Census, is described as 14.2%. In the 2018 examination, out of 759 successful candidates ,just 2.64%, or 20, were Muslims. In the 2017 examination, out of 810 successful candidates, 41, that is 5.06%, were Muslims.

Chavnke claims that these candidates are given the option of Arabic studies due to which they are able to compete and succueed. All in all Sudarshan TV and its Chief Chavanke are on a track,where Muslims should not be in any position of power and privilege. This is what their majoritarinaist poltics dictates them to state.

While on one hand, this sees few Muslims, much lees than their percentage in population to come to the bureaucracy, which should be operating on the principles of Indian Constitution, above the narrow considerations of religion, Chavanke and his tribe, who are in abundance, cannot see Muslims having any power and authority. The jaundiced vision of Hindu Nationalists like Chavanake are now introducing a new dimmesnion to the process of national governance.

As such the percentage of Muslims in the Government services is abysmally low. This average of 4% in top jobs matches with around 5-6% of Musims in overall Government jobs. This has a lot to do with the economic and educational status of Muslims, worsened by the insecurity caused by the regular repeated violence against them, manifesting in the form of spectacular acts of violence like Bhivandi, Jalgaon, Bhagalpur, Meerut, malyaana, Mumbai, Muzzafarnager and lately in Delhi.

Various commissions and committees have gone into the issue of proper representation of Muslims into Government jobs. Gopal Singh Commission (1980), Rangnath Mishra Commission and lastly Sachar Committee have given the similar observations that Muslims are grossly under represented in the jobs and their representation in jails is much higher than percentage in jails.

Their poltical plight has also worsened over the years and the representation in the Parliament is on constant decline. Many a Muslim leaders have gone to the extent of saying that any way they have been marginalized at poltical and social level. The need for increasing focus on education has been on the agenda of many a major Muslim groups and many oversees Indian groups of INDian origin also try to promote the educational efforts of Msulim community.

It is paradoxical that Jamia Mila Islamis, which has been targeted by Chavanke ranks among the top Universities of the country. The economic declime of Muslim community, insecurity and ghettoisation have dealt a severe blow on the aspiatrations of Muslims, Muslim youth in particular.

Saeed Mirza’s classic, Salim Lande Pe Mat ro’ (Don’t mourn the plight of Salim Langde’, brilliantly shows the dilemmas of Muslim youth in choosing the path for their future. They realize that getting jobs is so difficult for them as they are Muslims, so why bother so much about education!

With Chavanke’s efforts to introduce a new dimension in the Civil services, the process of communal divide and marginalization of Muslims will only go in the worse direction. There are photographs of him greeting Narendra Modi and AMit Shah from close quarters. The channel is close to RSS ideologically.

This coming on the back of Tabhligis undertaking Coroan Jihad, its is a further terrible move, which needs to be countered. Jihad seems to be the dog whistle to demonise Muslims, land jihad, love jihad, bureaucracy jihad and what have you. Courts by staying this have done a yeomen service to promotin of fraternity, the core value of Indian Constitution. And this example gives the hope that Indian pluralism and diversity has a chance to survive.  


Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED