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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightTwenty five years...

Twenty five years after Babari demolition


"The agony of this dark day is not something the minorities of the country can easily forget. It is the faith they have reposed in the government that has been shaken. All Indians of progressive mind are sad over this atrocity. The dreams they nurtured in their hearts are undergoing their funeral. But will another secular India rise from the broken remnants of their shattered dreams? To get a 'yes' as its answer, not many flames of hope remain in this darkness."

This was how we concluded our editorial of 7 December 1992 in the background of Babari demolition. Wednesday, it will be a quarter of a century from that incident which caused a vertical division in our country. The demolition of Babari Masjid did invite the rage of civilized society even at international level. But then, it was not a progressive India that took birth from the ashes of Babari Masjid. On the other hand, the forces that led the demolition have won political power and have gained greater sway. In other words, post-Babari era has led the country to a more alarming situation. Reason why democratic forces should view and analyze the circumstances with better clarity and vision.

True, the suffocating atmosphere that followed the fall of Babari does not exist today. However, it is a fact that many things we were not used to earlier have become the norm now. The ways of dirty communal politics that we had kept at bay with an allergy, are now getting celebrated unopposed and has become part of day-to-day political discourse. The last quarter of a century has witnessed a tragic generalization of the methods of far-right communal politics in the name of culture and nationalism. This happened because the advent of Hindutwa politics through inexplicable channels could not be spotted by even those in the progressive camp. The Hindutwa forces' ascent to total political power under Narendra Modi's leadership was only a natural outcome of this. Only when they started taking into its grip all organs of the body of the state one by one, did many come to realize these inexplicable methods. During the Congress regime, at a subtle level the cultural stream of Hinduwa was quietly building up the Ramajanmabhoomi movement through the Ramayana television serial. Eventually, it was only after the Ramajanmabhoomi movement became a concrete reality armed with aimed arrow, that secular India got seized of the fact that the serial was the cultural face of a hidden political agenda. Today, Hindutwa is using the images and myths of nationalism to turn the so acquired political authority into a more strident authoritarianism. But sadly, the progressive democratic forces are again committing the same mistake of pre-Babari times, in identifying this. Thereby, the Hindutwa regime gets emboldened to enforce any divisive agenda in the name of nationalism and anti-extremism. And they are in a position to smartly employ to this end all intelligence and military apparatus of the state.

It is true that it was the Muslims who were directly affected by the fall of Babari Masjid and the subsequent communal violence. At the same time, the incident has enabled the Muslim community to derive positive perceptions too. Hence when government agencies themselves ingeniously tried to lure Muslim youth to extremism, the community has been careful not to fall into such a trap. Huge tragedies may oftentimes lead whole communities to a shell psyche or risky paths. But barring isolated incidents, as a community the Muslims of India did not fall a prey to this. They are also, albeit slowly, evolving ways of making more positive interventions within democratic politics: a feature not seen in them during pre-Babari era. New movements and ideas are shaping up. That youth is their asset, endowed wit h imagination and the conviction that the community should not be tied down by Babari, by ensuing communal riots or by Gujarat. They have vision as well as aspirations. They wish to pave new paths and realize that it is pointless to count entirely on conventional secular political leadership. If they direct their course in a more positive channel, it will only empower our democracy greater.

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