Bite the Bullet – Now !
September 30, 2010 2 Comments
In a few hours from now, the interim verdict on the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri dispute will be pronounced by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.
I prefer to call it an interim verdict because it is very clear that the parties are likely to prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court. It suits everyone : the parties in dispute and the Machiavellian politicians. An appeal to the Supreme Court will mean, at the very minimum another decade of procrastination.
This dispute has been hanging fire for 6 decades now with each political party vying for attention as the protector of secularism or hindus or muslims as their political interests demand.
With all the reading that I have done in the past few days, it seems clear to me that this is a case of the broth (issue) spoilt by the political cooks. An amazing piece of news that I read was that the representatives of both Hindus and Muslims used to hail a common rickshaw to visit the court to save money.
The bonhomie that existed earlier between the contesting parties even in the midst of a title dispute is a testimony to the real ideals of our country. With the active involvement of politicians, the situation has taken an ugly turn.
I remember a joke that appeared in a vernacular tamil weekly roughly a decade ago. The magazine ran a contest for a witty quip that someone uttered or overheard in a public place. So a reader had sent in a quip which goes like this :
As the bus made it’s way into the terminus, the passengers in true Chennai style threw handkerchiefs through the window to “block” seats. As we are never really too grown-up for refusing a “window seat”, one passenger gets into a dispute with another as to how the other fellow has “occupied” the window seat originally blocked by him. The offending passenger refused to relent saying that window or non-window seat shouldn’t really matter as long as one got to sit. When the “rightful owner” insisted on his window seat being vacated, the offender exclaims : “Do you think that this is Ram Janmabhoomi that you wouldn’t sit elsewhere ?”
As far as I remember the reader who submitted this piece won a prize.
Apart from the question of ego, I prefer to take a conceptual view of the debate rather than a legalistic view. Doing so, I am not avoiding taking a position (I am actually taking one!) but as a Hindu the conceptual view is what seems right to me.
I am a practicing hindu but I am not very overtly religious. With the understanding of Hinduism that I have, I believe that the kernel of Hinduism lies in the maxim : ‘To Each His Own’. The loose coupling that Hinduism is based on, I believe, is it’s significant strength. There are no “right ways” or “wrong ways” of doing things.
I feel that we should pay more attention to the fact that despite having enormous amount of religious scriptures, Hinduism actually is not a “scripted religion”. It does not define as to how someone has to “engage” with God. Funnily Hindu scriptures have even accommodated contrarian views including atheism such as the Carvaka school.
In the backdrop of all this, it seems that Hinduism is getting significantly short-changed by the insistence of building a temple at a “precise spot”. When the system of Hinduism doesn’t insist on such “precision”, it seems odd that the dispute should be entertained in the name of protecting “Hindu sentiments”.
I am of the view that the hindu organizations should accept the verdict, which I expect to go in favour of reinstating the mosque and build a grand temple for Lord Ram elsewhere in Ayodhya. Hinduism isn’t anything to do with specifics so the faith will actually be accentuated, by a temple at some other spot in Ayodhya. On the contrary, insisting on the “disputed spot” will actually tarnish the liberal tenets of the religion.
I am in favour of reinstating the mosque even if the archaeological evidence points to the existence of a temple. I say so because as a mature nation, we cannot go on doing “selective reversal” of history. The destruction of temple, if it existed, is as much part of the history as the existence of the temple itself.
Today’s events are tomorrow’s history. The rolling stone of History, in my humble view, shouldn’t be stopped selectively and certainly not for political conveniences.
The bullet may be hard to bite, but the liberal path that ‘true hinduism’ stands for, it is in the best interest of the religion and the country that the hindus do it and do it right NOW.