The Supreme Court verdict in Ayodhya title suit is a moral victory for Muslims, although they were deprived of the justice as per the expectations. On the other hand despite giving the land to Hindus, the judgement puts Hindus – who have not been `Modified’ yet – on the path of Agni Pariksha that will decide whether the democracy in India will be dictated by the rule of law enshrined in the Constitution framed by our freedom fighters or majoritarianism espoused by the ruling Sangh Parivar.
The Agni Pariksha for Hindus now is to resist majoritarianism with all their might like Mahatma Gandhi did in 1948. Simply, because the biggest threat to democracy comes from within, when people start believing that democracy means rule of majority. This is the narrative which we have seen gradually gaining ground and poisoning the minds of the Hindus after the launch of the Ram Temple movement in 1980s and in the subsequent three decades claiming thousands of lives in communal clashes in the country.
The verdict emphasised on the rule of law in its observations, but ended up strengthening the notion that majority is right. Though the SC handed over the land to Hindus, it acknowledged that there is no proof that the mosque was built after demolishing a temple and described installation of idols in the mosque in 1949 and demolition of the mosque in 1992 as illegal acts, which is in consonance with the stand Muslims have maintained all along.
It exposes the propaganda of Sangh Parivar which for years has been arguing that Babri mosque was a matter of shame for Hindus and a symbol of slavery and tyranny as it was constructed on the ruins of a temple. The arguments were used to justify installation of idols and demolition of the mosque and stoke communal passions that helped BJP to grab power. But now, Muslims have been proved right, which in my view is a big moral victory. However, on the other hand, the SC, in contradiction of its observations, unwittingly awarded those who were behind the illegal acts.
Nevertheless, the `balancing act’ by the judges in the judgment may put an end to the divisive issue that was successfully used by the saffron brigade to win elections one after another and destroy social and constitutional fabric of the country, which may pave way for reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims.
However, at the same time, as of now it appears to have provided a free and unrestricted passage to the Hindutava march for rolling out its plan to change the constitutional character of the nation. Many see SC as the last and the most formidable barrier to stop the saffron brigade from trampling the idea of India conceptualised by our freedom fighters.
After the verdict, the RSS leaders announced that Kashi and Mathura are not on their agenda, but they cannot be trusted because similar deceptive promises were made before demolition of the Babri mosque. Now, they have a legal precedence to repeat similar act in future as and when required to keep them in power and divert public attention from real issues. They will also use it to implement their ultimate aim of converting India into Hindu Rashtra by changing the Constitution.
However, at a time when pillars of democracy are falling one after another, I still have faith in country’s judicial system and hopeful that it will help in fight against majoritarianism as it did in overturning some of the decisions taken during emergency period, but the responsibility to use it tactfully for defending the Constitution is now on the Hindus, who still believe in the idea of India for which Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed their lives.
Those justifying majoritarianism, cite India’s partition in 1947 on religious grounds and provoke people through selective and distorted account of medieval history. What the votaries of the constitutional values have to make modified Hindus realise that our founding fathers had chosen the rule of law over majoritarianism because it guarantees and guards the rights and interest of every individual including the last one in the queue.
These Hindus also need to be told that as cheating in examination cannot be allowed even if majority students in class support it, majoritarianism cannot become legal despite support of the majority because it is against the spirit of the Constitution. If allowed, it will trigger a nuclear fission that will catastrophic for the constitutional democracy, which will adversely affect Hindus as well.
Modified Hindus will have to understand that the rule of law including secularism is equally important for them as it is for minorities because it also protects their rights to preserve their languages and diverse culture as well, besides freedom to choose from various sects of Hinduism they want to follow.
The concept of Hindu Rashtra where all minorities are relegated to second class citizens may sound seductive to some Hindus but they do not realise that it will give rise to new generation of power grabbers who will mobilise the community – which in that situation will constitute majority among Hindus – to make their will to reign supreme. There will also be bickering among followers of Hindutava, a glimpse of which can today be seen in Maharastra after assembly elections.
Not just political, such `majority domination’ among Hindus can be sectarian, ethnic, lingual, regional, sub-nationalism, racism and castism. The breakdown will continue till you will find yourself standing alone. Then, the rule of law alone will be the only instrument left to protect your rights. The situation may also give rise to separatism among minorities leading to increase in religion terrorism or a civil war because there is no dearth of people and forces on the other side who will use the opportunity to further their political agenda.
This is the reason why Bhagat Singh wanted free India to be secular and socialist and Subhas Chandra Bose was of the view that communalism by majority should be crushed, if required, by force. For the same reason, Sardar Patel banned organizations advocating majoritarianism. It also explains why Bhimrao Ambedkar was against Hindu Rashtra.
Hindus need to think whether they will carry forward the baton handed over to them by freedom fighters or follow demagogues who are follower of those who cooperated with British?
Last not the least – The SC has given a golden opportunity to Hindus to rebuild Babri Mosque at the same spot and hand it over to Muslims to uphold constitutional values. I am sure the omnipresent Ram will be more pleased by this act of compassion and redemption for committing the sin of demolishing a place of worship.
This will then be moral victory of Hinduism – the same Hinduism which was defined by Swami Viveknanad in Chicago on September 11, 1893 in Parliament of World’s religion amid thunderous applause from representatives of various religions from across the world.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.