The children of the 1990s always had a rough phase in their lives having born in the tumultuous decade. From the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, to the Kargil War, in 1999, the most poignant and irreversible changes had occurred in the post-independence history of India during that decade. Particularly, the hopes of a secular polity and a pluralistic society was bogged down when an army of Kar Sevaks, had pulled down the 16th century mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Babur, was reduced to rubbles. Having pulled down by fringe elements, claiming it to be the birth place of a revered person, and that reverence ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Leaving behind the history and time line of events that led to the destruction of a place, where people assemble for congregation, many could not have witnessed the vandalizing of the epic structure unlike the crumbling of Twin Towers, during the down fall of which we all had televisions in our home. Both events have tremendously changed the course of History and the tremors could be still felt in the form of hatred.
It can never be called as a frenzied mob as there is prima-facie evidence to show that a conspiracy was hatched well in advance to raze down the magnificent structure. Every ‘leader’ leading his troops was crying out commands to carry out his diktats. This year marks the 25th anniversary of demolition of the Babri Masjid, the children of the 90s are now in their 20s and 30s. The one question this generation needs to ask itself is that, ‘how tolerant are we when the issue boils down to religion?’ A secular society needs better governance which does not boasts of a religion and segregates a particular group. But when this happens, an adverse phenomenon is brewed up, which instils hate feelings, penetrating deep into the minds of people, especially the young. How far our country has progressed in terms of technology and science is one thing, but how far have we evolved through the ages, in civilization and cultural ethos, in promoting and preserving religious independence is totally another. The grotesque achievements in economy to carve out a niche in the world platform cannot be a yardstick for measuring progress.
The aftermath of the demolition of Babri Masjid shows that, the ideology of secularism is stuck in a quagmire and extrication of it is not an easy row to hoe. There is lot more of an agenda in the making, to up the ante in the ongoing battle, both in and outside the Court, and it is always an unbalanced equation, as the majority, flexing the muscles accomplishes the ends. One such man-made catastrophe is redundant for the generations to come, to preach hatred and secularism, and the young of the present times and future do not have go through such harrowing happening in their lives.
HOW MUCH TOLERANT ARE WE?
In the wake of a humungous humanitarian crisis, the pouring of Rohingyas in large figures into the Indian Territory in search of ‘Roti,Kapda and Makaan’ (food, clothing and shelter) and tactical moves to banish their presence from the Indian Soil, seems to be preposterous, and this is being done only because of their religious tag. The makers of the Constitution have taken stupendous efforts to enshrine the concept of secularism in order to ensure the safety and security of each of the religions in India. If it was not for them, the pedagogy and ideology of a secular nation would have long gone from the good books of harmony and equality. To be pious has no relevance to be a sanctimonious fanatic, but this is what had exactly happened in the Babri Masjid demolition. Every brick that came down from the masjid had shattered and done irretrievable damage to the hopes of a Secularist society and the belief of millions of Muslims in a Secular Country that was promised by the torch bearers of a secular democracy. Faith took a back seat, when sword wielding ruthless men, dressed in saffron, took down the giant dome of the Masjid, merely for the sake of realizing an unwarranted religious agenda. The hopes of secular India became murkier and it had further deteriorated when the Judgment of the Allahabad High Court made it worse by way of partitioning. Partition had always been a curse and pandemonium for our country. It has not changed and every time the cause is the same, i.e., ‘faith’.
On every 6th December, police and army personnel are kept on their toes with security steps augmented in advance to ensure that, no un towards incident happens. If this had been ensured when the Kar Sevaks assembled and pulled down the Masjid, the riots in Bombay and the consequential serial bomb blasts would have not taken place. The riots and bomb blasts in Bombay had claimed the lives of hundreds of innocents and it had all stemmed from the one cause, ‘faith’. The retaliation done in the name of faith too has no semblance of religion in it. Violence kills and it absolutely kills innocent people.
‘Since when did our state become intolerant towards religious harmony?’ is a million-dollar question, which can be traced only in the annals of history. But the men who had a vision for this nation, to thrive as a Secular state, had ensured the balance between faith and governance. The excesses on the minorities have become the drudgeries, which the newspapers need not tell us. However, the minority which has its hopes pinned on the state for a better future, caved in when a man-made devastation like Babri Masjid, happens in the name of ‘God’. A place for one God, by evicting the other God, is what had unfolded in Ayodhya on 06.12.1992. This was not just any other day that could be passed on by mere remembrance of it. This is a dark, gloomy, black day in a democratic country, where every religion has its own space and freedom. Never in our times should any marauding and outraging event should happen, it is high time to crack the whip to ascertain that, the touchstone of our post-independence magnum-opus, the Constitution of India’s Secular polity, remains impinged upon by roadblocks.
NEED OF THE HOUR:
It is a duty cast upon every citizen to practise his/her faith without hindrance to the religious belief of others and the onus of the State to promote secularism. If the former and the latter are observed to an extent, in the days to come neither a temple will be a roadblock to erect a mosque and vice-versa. Concomitantly, the hopes of any person embarking upon his faith need not be crushed as it had happened once because history, by its nature will repeat and will take its own course in the future. With the hate crimes on the rise, being committed in the name of vigilantism, lynching has becoming an everyday affair. The question which we need to put to ourselves is that ‘is our society tolerant and secular enough to let the faith of any person to be practised without any hindrance?’ Though there is a light at the end of tunnel, envisaging an amicable verdict from the Supreme Court in the Babri Masjid case, a harmonious and civilized society can thrive only when a person values another, overlooking his or her mark of religion, as a fellow human having the same rights and freedom like that of him/her.