What has actually been lost in 26 years when an old mosque was pulled down at Ayodhya is not only a concrete structure built in medieval times but also quite a bit more vis-à-vis the present times. So much so that the ghosts of the demolished mosque still hover over to cast ominous shadows of medievalism on both politics and society.
Indeed, the end result of this is the loss of collective innocence where violence needs little excuse to resurface and inflict wanton loss of life and property.
The other day’s merciless killing of a police inspector alongside that of another person by a blood thirsty mob at a village near Bulandshahr once again reminds of what should have otherwise faded with times where a police officer, an upright gentleman by all accounts, should have been listened to instead of being put to death amid mindless frenzy.
Thus, over quarter-a-century after the so called turning point of history that Ayodhya is touted to be ever since demolition of Babari Masjid the question is whether we are getting any wiser or better by the turn of events at Ayodhya. The answer to this is certainly no simply because on December 6, 1992 it was not a mosque alone that was demolished but modern instincts and sensibilities of a whole generation and those who followed them in subsequent years too were lost.
The point for reference in the wake of this became history blurring focus and costing aim at future. Ever since this baggage of history has been becoming heavier amid whether mythical or real power-craziness that inadvertently got appended to Ayodhya.
Mythical because the main protagonists of Ayodhya’s Mandir movement, or the BJP, had lost the first polls that were held for UP Assembly in the year 1993 after the demolition. A few years before this and also until a year before demolition the Ayodhya Parliamentary constituency was held by a Communist MP the late Mitrasen Yadav. He also once again humbled the BJP in Ayodhya post-demolition as a Samajwadi Party candidate though this was several years after what is called as a fateful day for Ayodhya.
Yet, the myth of Ayodhya magic continues to challenge the modern times suppositions.
The most crucial among them is the belief that people make and sustain governments to ensure public’s best interests. But of late this has been undergoing a change. Governments now believe in their indispensability by often taking the people’s will for granted.
The collective wisdom has now to pass through the gates of what is posed as a divine approval of sorts to suit the powers-that-be though this can well be warped. And this is how the very modern ethos and instincts evolved through ages that had among other things once humbled the mighty British Empire are now virtually at stake, courtesy movements like Ayodhya and revivalist mantras like Hindutva.
What gets overshadowed by their accompanying stridency are both people’s will and rights. So much so that three decades of Ayodhya stir has been turning into a kind of fatigue with the result of loss of interest among people, or mainly the electorate. So those who draw strength from Ayodhya have intermittently been hopping on other issues like corruption to take on their rivals. This was also the case through the last general elections held in 2014 when Ayodhya issue was pushed to back pages of BJP manifesto. And through the run up to these polls that brought Narendra Modi to power at the Centre Ayodhya issue was hardly whipped up. So has also been the case through most of the past four years of Modi’s rule.
Yet, through past few months Ayodhya has again been pulled out from the reserved closets and this poses a test of sorts for the Prime Minister. The ideological mentors of the ruling party, or the RSS, are again ready to place its bet on Ayodhya. The ideological traps thus created for the ruling party can pose a challenge for the larger conglomerate called the NDA, or National Democratic Alliance, with its various constituents going their own way in case Ayodhya issue gains momentum.
Shiv Sena has been coaxing the Government to bring a law via Parliament to build temple which may not be liked by other allies of the BJP given their socio-political compulsions.
The temple-centric politics generally warrants obedience rather than dissent and this at the societal level can well turn thus far ethno-religious thrust of the temple movement into intra-religious haggling. Signs of this have already been becoming palpable in Uttar Pradesh. The journey of the present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from Shivalaya, or monastery, to Sachivalaya (Secretariat) as the ambience required for this was created by Ayodhya movement and Hindutva’s push has virtually been rejected in a few by-polls that were held in a few pockets of the State after he took over.
Somehow, this included Yogi’s homestead too. And, thus, those who swear to make and build the abode of god are actually also at the mercy of God. More so since people have started turning against the tide brought or foisted in the name of Lord!
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