Remembering Babri Mosque

1275 জন পড়েছেন

[Note: This post is simply a remembrance of the destruction of Babri Mosque by Hindu militants. The callous bigotry took place on 6 December 1992, while the world watched with dismay. I wrote this article after the event and it was published under the title, ‘Neo-Hinduism: The Myth and Reality’. Today I publish it here with the new title, ‘Remembering Babri Moque’, to remind us of what had happened. The tenor and tense of the article reflect the time past. The word ‘Hindu’ should be read with causion: it is the fundamentalist Hindus that are meant here, not all Hindus in general.]

While a trend of post-modernist studies of the last part of this century advocated for an `indeterminacy’ and `plurality’ of meaning (in regards to a certain kind of texts), especially pointing to  ambiguous historical narrative, merely as `stories’; the event in Ayodia shocked us all with terror. Because, in this case, a somewhat fiction-like Ramayana (hi)story was given a reality-reading. This led gradually to the destruction of the Mosque. The Mosque stood there for almost five hundred years, and now a prestige heritage, beside being a holy strine, a place of worship. But alas, the Hindu militants have destroyed it! Their reading of the religious myth has been an abusive one. It not only caused an awful destruction, but threatened the social relations between the people of two religions.

Although the Hindu Scripture can be somehow given a tolerant interpretation, the militants sharply deviated from this. Lord Rama, they say, was born in that site at a time, imprecise, and indeterminable, but this is beside the point that the whole thing is more akin to be a myth than reality. Yet it was their justification to destroy the Mosque, which, contrary to their position, has precise and determinable nature in history –the Mosque was built exactly in 1527 by Babor the great Mughal Emperor. As a religious site as well as a heritage, this valued monument ought to have been protected and saved but it was not.

The fundamental reading of `history’ as a means of appropriation has another modern precedence. The State of Israel has been found on similar claim, that some four thousand years ago, the God of Israel promised them Palestine. So, the present occupants of the land either had to be killed or driven out to make room for the `People of God’. The Bosnian atrocity was no different from that. The Aryan Zionists supporting the state of Israel and the invading Aryans of India have much in common. But what strikes the most about the destruction of the Mosque is the face of fascism in history camouflaging its dense ignominious, inhuman character.

Rama’s birth place was always questionable. But, the militants  remained adamant to their claim. Surprisingly, the political leadership provided support from behind for the destruction and to excite the mindless mob. The political landscape of India cannot be put aside in this. Had it not been for the main stream Indian politics absorbing the ethos of ramrajya, this callious deed could not have taken place. In fact it is this political support that ‘made’ the myth-like story the real thing and subsequently the muscle-power brought home the ugly truth.

A remarkable thing to observe is the effacement of the borderline between myth and reality, and the advancement the former over  the latter. The Scriptural stories, construed gradually over thousands of years, giving expression to human experiences in myths and metaphors, became concrete, deadly true, effacing the figurative and the metaphic. Yet, the price of this effacement was tagged on the Muslims, the `Other’ of the Hindus. The Rama-story (the place of birth), whether figurative or not,  it didn’t help the Muslims and hadn’t marked any difference to the rest of the world. It signaled terror and uncertainty to the minority Muslims and carried an extreme threat. It is stricking to note that the scriptural non-human heroes of Hindu stories who fought in the past against seemingly the non-human, they are now the real entities to generate callous emotion to their believers. It is this emotion that is being used as a weapon by fundamentalists. When they stand to fight Muslims like the heroes of Mohabharat, it mean trouble,  bloodshed, destruction.

Setting Rama and Muslims against each other, the Hindu leaders took the role of the mythical warlords; the stories provided the necessary emotion, and the act of manipulation rolled on. A propaganda film had been made earleir by the Bishsha Hindu Parishad which generated emotional uproar. The film portrayed Rama in form of a child, encaged in Babri Mosque. It brought the youth and elders in tears. It excited them to destroy the Mosque.

Behind the façade of the militant Hindu movement, lies the neo-Hindu vision of India, derived from the scriptural text. It is like the Zionist state of Israel. It envisages a theocracy, capturing the vision and emotion of the stories, and devoting itself to the realisation of `ramrajya’-the Kingdom of Rama. This vision has been with them for long and from the fear of this idea the two-nation state of India was born in the middle of twentieth century. This Hindu vision has always projected the Muslims as misfit, obstacle. The Muslims have been threaten many a times to leave India, if they failed to abide by their terms, the terms of the neo-vision.

This vision attempts at rationality (!) and unashamedly evokes `history’, (the mythical) that India is the country where Rama `was’ once the King. And, so the reasoning, India belongs to Hindus. Yet, this reasoning turns a blind eye to the reality of the present, that India is no longer living in the past and that the truth of the present is no less important than that of the past.

Today, the world witnesses a growing tendency of militant interpretation of scriptural texts all across the religious spectrum including Islam and Christianity. If each global race began to make their claims on property, land and historical monuments in similar fashion, then, nothing can survive intact and no security can prevail, for the places where we live today, had been occupied by generations before us and random claims would make life impossible. It is necessary to interogate the myth to draw  distinciton between it and reality, if we are to live peacefully together.


1275 জন পড়েছেন

About এম_আহমদ

প্রাবন্ধিক, গবেষক (সমাজ বিজ্ঞান), ভাষাতাত্ত্বিক, ধর্ম, দর্শন ও ইতিহাসের পাঠক।


Remembering Babri Mosque — ১ Comment