Ayodhya's Baneful Shadow
The farce played out in Mumbai recently should leave no one in doubt that communalism is yet another weapon in the armoury of politicians to settle personal scores with the rivals on the other side of the ideological divide. The melodrama, the hype, the hoopla attendant to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s brief arrest were nothing but motivated by personal vendetta. These were attempts at consolidating votebank and coming one up in the sordid game of politics. Or, if we may add, may even have been aimed at helping the odd speculators in the stock market, make a quick exit after reaping huge harvest of profits from the unwary investors. It was not meant to deliver justice, punish the real culprit, or deter the prospective offenders.
Mr. Bal Thackeray’s attempt to intimidate the law, bully the law and order authorities and hold Mumbai to ransom against threat of violence are too well known and documented to deserve the casual approach of the Democratic Front government while initiating legal proceedings against a person who has owned up responsibility for demolition of the Babri Masjid. More so when the Centre was in no mood to bale him out of his predicament and the Supreme Court having demanded action on the Srikrishna Commission. The minor technicalities of time bar etc. should have been summarily ignored.
Whatever might be the final outcome of the tug of war in politicians’ camps, it is clear at this stage that the Republic is in no mood to condone the illegality of what happened at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 and its cataclysmic aftermath. The rulers must take notice. The popular mandate will not wipe their slate off the crime they committed to win power. The ghost of Babri Masjid will continue to give them nightmares, if not justice to the victims. A Thackeray shall not agree to quietly face repercussion alone for a crime in which the union home minister also stands chargesheeted. One offender will seek legitimacy from non-action against another offender. If nothing else, a Khurana or a Jethmalani will use it to hurl bouncers at their rivals within the party. And few political parties have so much of a glue in them to withstand these onslaughts as the 115-year old Congress which too has not remained immune to the ripples of Ayodhya.
Let it be understood that the rule of law is the common agreement among all citizens to sustain the order. It is perhaps here that Ayodhya effect will continue to destabilise the polity. Democracy recognizes ripple effect. There will be no escape from this regardless of who is victim, who is being denied justice. It is time we realised how the grotesque illegality of that action in Ayodhya is damaging the social fabric, disturbing the political order and sabotaging the process of law. The nation that we love is in immediate need of being heard.
They came, they dined, discussed, and dispersed. That is how one could sum up the Moemin convention held in Bangalore on July 1. Perhaps Moemin’s (Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians) call could have carried more weight if merely it had chosen any city other than Bangalore for its rhetoric. For, Bangalore Muslims have already done enough to convert all that rhetoric to material shape and are in no mood to rest content.
Whatever may be the resolutions of Moemin, it must be said that the group has proved itself to be a chatting club of bureaucrats from the Capital who are determined not to lower the refrain and continue to do nothing. The flurry of flying visits, resolutions, panel discussions and representations to the powers- that-be conforms to the do-nothing style of the Delhi leadership. One even wonders if their agenda carries hidden ambitions of self empowerment of individuals behind the veneer of community issues.
By now central leadership among Muslims has acquired a familiar pattern. Every former vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University is a Muslim educationist, while every president of the AMU Students Association is a youth leader. Now former bureaucrats too have caught the fancy and are also joining the fray even though they had nothing to offer during their tenure of government service to deserve the special affection or respect of the community.
Leadership, as a principle, emerges from the grassroots work of popular value. Speeches, rhetoric, sermons, and resolutions generate more heat than light and are bereft of practical wisdom. In the context of Indian Muslims they even damage the very cause they are meant to serve. This is why leaders from the capital are found to be totally wanting when it comes to organizing self help institutions. The capital’s Muslim journals too are bereft of any practical guidance to Muslims elsewhere. In fact, Muslim voluntary workers arriving in the capital expect local Muslim organization to be of help in matters of information, liaison, guidance and counselling rather than pontification. If indeed, Moemin could visualize and organize such vital help institutions at the capital, they will be doing a much greater service to the community than what is being doled out now.