By Sushil Kutty
The whole idea and ideal of secularism came decades later, but the day India decided to be a pluralistic society, with Hindus-Muslims-Sikhs-Isai, all living under the same sky , that day, India made sure it would be a community cauldron for all. time to come. Dr BR Ambedkar was pragmatic. He wanted to wipe the slate clean of partition – transferring every Muslim “here” to exchange for every Hindu “there”, but another meaning prevailed and the repercussions are felt to this day.
Talking about the mosaic of colorful cultural diversity and the richness of pluralism is well and good; also, it’s great to hear and repeat on every Independence Day, but it can’t make up for the underlying tensions or daily humiliations, both at individual and community level, that have plagued India and the Indians all these years.
Today, there is a communal riot every day in one part or another of the country, with territory and terrain divided into “Muslim areas” and “Hindu areas”. More and more, whole swathes of the country are becoming no-go zones for a large part of the citizens, and nobody, not even the government in place, at state and central level, can do anything about it.
It’s as if one score wasn’t enough – a few more here and there wouldn’t look so bad after all. The other day a ‘minority community leader’ shouted: ‘Our grandfathers chose to stay back in 1947 because we also have a stake in the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal – India is our country. Ye desh hamara hai” Who can dispute that?
Karauli, Khargone, Jahangirpuri and Jodhpur were all up and coming after 1947 largely because a section of the population chose not to behave and look like the other. The preservation of an exclusive identity is only beautiful up to a point; beyond that, things go wrong. Jinnah is gone for good, but he left the fights behind.
Now we are struggling with the search for solutions. Perpetually. And the solutions elude us, because it is impossible to argue with an argument that led to a Partition, which in turn was also supposed to be the solution! The Hindu-Muslim divide is not going anywhere anytime soon. On Saturday May 7, one of those whose grandfather chose to stay tweeted “We are on the brink of civil war”, only to delete it shortly after.
But not before the Washington Post read it. This Twitter handle writes a column for the WaPo and regularly tags @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on their tweets. She herself must have had an idea of the “edge” of Asaduddin Owaisi who had tweeted of a probable “Khoon Ki Bath” if Gyanvapi is forced to go Ayodhya’s way. And from all available indications, things in Gyanvapi are going Ayodhya’s way.
Court-ordered videography of the innards of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi faces resistance. “We will not obey court orders” is the refrain. The urge to discover what all Gyanvapi conceals behind its impregnable iron gates is irresistible. The resistance to any intrusion is equally stubborn and relentless.
There are also fears that if Modi can repeal the Farm Laws, he could easily do the same with the 1991 Places of Worship Law. The Places of Worship Act had sought to end disputes over places of worship. They were to retain their character as it existed on August 15, 1947.
A special waiver has been granted for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. The fear is that the BJP/RSS is equating Ayodhya, Kashi (Varanasi) and Mathura, as a matter of faith for Hindus. And the Hindutva-ization of Bharat depends on the great temples of these “holy places” of the Hindus. The Bharat of Mohan Bhagwat would not be “akhand” without the Hindutva-ization of these three.
The Hindu religion, it seems from the behavior of Sangh Parivar, is built around Mathura, Ayodhya and Kashi-Varanasi. Ayodhya is accomplished, Gyanvapi is a work in progress, then it will be Mathura’s turn. So, in the coming days, tensions around the Gyanvapi Masjid-Kashi Vishwanath temple complex in Varanasi will only escalate.
These are all remnants of the tentative partition, which split British India in two but failed to consolidate the Indian left into one people. The Hindu-Muslim split that followed was a done deal as the first chance that Hindus and Muslims were able to live together as a democratic nation continues to be wasted. The tragedy is that we were divided and we couldn’t make a clean sweep. (API Service)
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