Demolition of Babari Mosque : An assault to democratic principals of Ambedkar

Remembering Baba Saheb Ambedkar

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

17 years have passed when the lunatic fringe of the Hindutva variety under the disguise of Hindu nationalism and pride brought down a three hundred years old mosque supposedly constructed by Mughal King Babar, in Ayodhya. The fringe wanted that every other structure in India termed as mosque is actually some temple and deliberately destroyed by the Muslims to spread Islam in India and kill the ‘native’ Hindu dharma.

Mughals had four hundred years of history in India and then came British who ruled over us nearly for three hundred years. In all these years, the Christian population remains in India below 5% while the Muslim population remain 12% but the Hindutva’s fanatics are roaring and feel that this 17% or say 20% population will take over India some day jeopardizing its political interests.

It would be highly simplistic to consider L.K.Adwani’s w(rath) yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 just to strengthen Hindu Unity. We all know how the Hindu upper castes created ruckus in north India on the implementation of Mandal Commission Report decided by the government of India on August 7, 1990. The Dalits and the backward communities came together. In fact, in the fight for reservation under Mandal, there were more Dalits in the streets than the backward communities. L.K.Adwani and his Sangh parivar bosses knew very well that once the Dalits and backward communities come together, it will be lethal blow to the brahmanical hegemony in India. And that is why they thought what could be better than the movement for Ram mandir in Ayodhya. Create an enemy of Muslims among the masses and convert all the Dalits and backward communities into one monolith Hindu group. Adwani’s agenda was that under the broader framework of Ram mandir, all the internal contradictions would melt and he would become the leader of entire ‘Hindu masses’ fighting for its dignity against the Muslim assault on its holy structures particularly at Ayodhya, kashi and Mathura.

For the Ram janmbhoomi campaign, the backward communities became special target. I still remember having visited one Gujar village in Haryana two days before the destruction of the mosque where a friend actually mentioned that they were going prepared to build the grand Ram Temple. The movement of hate was created all over the country. Hindutva’s ‘intellectuals’ infiltrated in media and started writing about the entire movement in a very nationalistic way. Indian nationalism was converted into an upper caste north Indian Hindi nationalism. The bricks were collected and Dalits were used. On one side, Arun Shourie kind of pamphleteers were targeting Ambedkar but for Sangh parivar he became ‘pratahsmaranaiya’, one who should be remembered first in the morning. The ‘ Shila pujan’ were conducted by some of the Hindu Dalits as they completely fixed in the Sangh Parivar’s broader ‘Samarasta’ concept. Samarasata for them mean co-option of your identity.

On October 30- 31st, 1990, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the then chief minister of Uttar-Pradesh, actually took unusually strong stand against Hindutva’s lunatic fringe. All over Uttar-Pradesh, the police assaulted any one who said Jai Shri Ram. In Ayodhya, police fired killing several ‘kar sevaks’. Many states went into communal disturbances. The central government headed by V.P.Singh also took bold step to arrest L.K.Adwani in Bihar, before he could complete his Yatra. But the gap between rhetoric of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Central government was too big and the Hindutva forces understood it well. Adwani’s arrest forced withdrawal of the support from the National Front government and it fell in the Parliament.

In the subsequent elections, Mulayam Singh’s mistakes paid way for BJP’s ascendency in power curtsy the backward communities particularly of the Lodhas. Kalyan Singh, who is today oscillating between different political outfits for survival, became the biggest mascot of Hindutva. The Shudra were completely turned into the food soldiers of brahmanical Hindutva. Once they had their government, BJP and Hindutva’s outfits realized that it is time to act. Sangh Parivar is a multi headed monster and it work thinking in different directions. Once government in power, it felt the need to communalise the entire country. Already, their paid volunteers in the media were writing and glorify their ‘nationalism’. No need to say, insiders in the Sangh Parivar were worried about Dalits hence with great strategy, December 6th was selected as the day of kar Seva in the Ayodhya’s Ram temple. It was solely aimed as Sanskritising the Dalits so that they too get involved in the anti Muslim sentiments. Broadly speaking, once both the Dalits and backward communities forget their pain, and issues of power, you would only have upper caste Hindus are your leader defending ‘ Hindu nationalism’. Already, upper caste journalists were angry with the janata Dal for Mandal commission report which they felt would threaten the very hegemony of the upper castes hence their the Sangh parivar which never had got any sanctity from middle classes and intelligentsia got wide acceptance and support from it. It was the fear of Mandal that forced these elite editors and reporters to be with them.

On the fateful day of December 6th, 1992, the nation watched with horror one of its worst nightmares which the Hindu terrorists, a term used by late Prabhash Joshi in his editorial in Jansatta, destroyed the age old mosque at Ayodhya. The central forces were kept away five kilometer from Ayodhya and were not given any marching order to contain the unruly and unlawful kar Sevaks. Adwani, Joshi, Ashok Singhals and all their upper caste friends where jumping in glory as if they have won gold madal for India in an Olympic event other than Hockey. The nation erupted into communal frenzy. It was a mishap of gigantic magnitude which rocked the basic foundation of our constitution so laboriously drafted by Dr B.R.Ambedkar.

The central forces can not act with out the permission of the state government. Kalyan Singh government was immediately dismissed by the then prime Minister Narsimha Rao but all know that he was equally guilty in participating this heinous crime against the secular constitution of India. Narsimha Rao addressed the nation on the night promising the rebuild the mosque at the very same site. Jurists like H.M. Seervai wrote in Economic Times that Hindu organizations have their legal right to claim the temple as they have unlawfully dismantled the place of worship which was sub-judice.

Ayodhya’s impact was big on nation. It survived yet the wounds are powerful. The nightmare in Mumbai in 1993 after the Shiv Sainiks and other hooligans targeted Muslims, the Gujarat 2002, are example of the state of Muslims in India and how state watch their killings in utter helpless situation.

It is in these circumstances that the Communal Violence bill being brought by the Central government in the Parliament is a welcome step. We all know those who have come to power on the wounds of others, will always oppose it. The bill gives right to central government to declare any area as disturbed area and send its forces directly. The state governments obviously feel it as an infringement in their rights. But if we understand what Dr Ambedkar wanted in the constitution to protect the rights of the Dalits and tribals was strong constitutional safeguards so that state can not do injustice to them. That is why act like SC-ST prevention of atrocities acts are central act and state have no power to amend them. It is also important to understand that Dr Ambedkar always wanted center to be proactive in protecting the Dalits and minorities.

It is important to understand that in the event of communal violence or Gujarat like situation, the central government can not just be a mute spectator with prime minister reminding the chief minister his ‘raj-dharma’. The government need to more than just reminding as how can a country allow its own citizens to be butchered by the others with connivance of the local authorities. It is also important for the government to secularise the state. The state should have no religion. It can not be a place for every lunatic from different religions to blackmail the state in the name of their identities. Dr Ambedkar challenged the religious scriptures not just of the brahmanical one but he also had the capacity to even walk out of a very personal meeting with Pope in the 1930s, which has been well described in the Times magazine.

If India need to modernize itself, Ambedkar’s forthright ideas are the best example. Ambedkar never ever glorified villages like Gandhi. He was critical of the whole village economy based on caste. He wanted to modernize and brought Dalits to negotiating tables. One can understand that despite all their tortures and humiliations, today, Dalits in India are relatively better positioned, politically, socially and educationally, compared to tribals. That is the contribution of Ambedkar as Dalits are developing their leadership, they are looking forward, they are rejecting religion and moving ahead in the democratic frame work of India. Dalits have become a big middle class and in the coming days we will have more of them in Media, companies, sports, music and every where of life. That is the silent revolution of Ambedkar which saved India from catastrophe and making it look forward. It does not come from symbol of political empowerment but over empowerment through modern education and changing themselves and not by merely romanticizing our past and our cultural value system.

Our political class needs to show strength of ideas that Ambedkar had. A vociferous reader, Ambedkar lived to the convictions. Those who lay the first brick in the name of Rama should know what Ambedkar said about Rama. He refused to accept the greatness of Rama and wrote about the pain of Sita. He wrote about how our religions were anti poor and anti women. So Ambedkar’s Ayodhya can not be that of Rama. It can be that of Buddha’s Saket. Ambedkar’s Dalit will only be enlightened one, modern looking and can not be those with jai Shri Ram on their lips and with a Trishul on their hands to kill the innocent. Those Dalits, OBCs who want to become part of such hate mongers can not be really Ambedkarite and will only serve the purpose of the brahmanical forces in India.

December 6th is a day to remember Ambedkar, who inspite of pains became modern india’s tallest intellectuals, who defended right of every individual, who cared for women’s right, who wanted land to be nationalized and who told us to be modern, to get best education and move ahead. December 6th is a day when all these ideals of Ambedkar were sought to be bullied by the unlawful, unruly and barbaric fringe who did not just destroy Babari Mosque but the secular edifice of this nation.

One sincerely hope our political leaders will have sagacity to think on these and will not play with the emotions of people in future. If India has to survive as a nation, it must respect diversity and its democratic constitution must be made applicable to defend the people, the marginalized and minorities so that they have confidence in government and its structure.


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