25 years ago: Babri Masjid demolition an attack on idea, promise enshrined in Constitution?
New Delhi, Dec 5: Since 1992, every year on December 6, India is reminded of two realities--one a fatal attack on a religious place that could rip apart the entire nation for generations to come, and second, in a secular and democratic country, rule of the majoritarian is the most dangerous idea.
On Wednesday (December 6), India will mark the 25th anniversary of the demolition of controversial Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, which for the first time in independent India divided the nation on communal lines openly.
A day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of medieval-era-structure, which resulted in deadly riots, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court is likely to commence a final hearing in the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.
A specially constituted bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will be hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in four civil suits.
As politics over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site grows bigger with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government both at the Centre and in UP, there is a growing sense of uneasiness among the "liberals" that any "wrong decision" on the part the apex court or the government could further divide the country.
Writing for The Indian Express, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo and former chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, said, "The Babri demolition in 1992 involves us all. It was an attack on idea and promise enshrined in India's Constitution."
According to Lalu, who is currently at loggerheads with the BJP government both at the Centre and in Bihar, said that demolition of the disputed structure is the reason behind the rise of Hindu-right wing party since 1992.
"We saw the triumphant rise of a Hindu right which has culminated as the most dominant force in the political discourse of present-day India. Beginning in the late 1980s, Indian politics has seen the sudden rise of the BJP and the ascendance of a Hindu nationalist ideology.
"Moving from two to 85 parliamentary seats between 1984 and 1989, the Hindu right-wing party was catapulted onto the national political map, where it remained as the ruling party at the national level until May 2004," wrote the former railway minister.
In the same column, Lalu lashed out at the current Narendra Modi government stating that it is a "challenge to secular-socialist fabric" of India.
"In a majority (the BJP) since 2014, it has posed the most comprehensive challenge to the secular-socialist fabric in India's post-Independence history," Lalu wrote.
Lalu added that the demolition of the mosque "initiated a new phase of sectarian violence and the targeting of the minorities, especially Muslims, in several cities across India".
"What is most worrying about present-day India is that there is a marked shift in the political discourse, where there is not only greater acceptability of the idea of a 'majoritarian homogenous cultural nationhood' but also the relegation of minorities and other vulnerable groups to the status of 'non-citizens'.
"The brazen forms of majoritarian violence being unleashed on the people and communities on the margins through mob lynchings, cow vigilantism and religious assertions by the majority, are reflective of the transition India has undergone from the 1990s to the post-2014 political landscape."
While ending his write-up, Lalu questions, whether "twenty five years later, the demolished medieval mosque seeks an answer from all of us?"
"Will the India of Bapu's dreams remain, or will it succumb to pressures from the ideology that assassinated him?" asked Lalu.