Dr. Mohd. Manzoor Alam muses on the irony of Mr L K Advani’s proposed rath yatra in the backdrop of Dussehra, that symbolises, among other things, the reunion of brothers as opposed to Mr Advani’s divisive politics.
In the twilight hours before Dussehra, one of our national festivals celebrated as an occasion for togetherness and goodwill as well as victory of good over evil, I shudder to think of Mr L K Advani’s proposed rath yatra.
Memories of another day come gushing down, a day of frenzy and fratricide, blood and fire on the streets of Ayodhya, blood of innocent Muslims–men, women and children–whose ancestors had lived there in peace for centuries.
All this had come at the end of Mr Advani’s yatra in the temple town known as a sanctuary of peace. Scholars tell us that “Ayodhya” means a place where yudh (war) is prohibited. To lighten the heavy burden of sorrow associated with being the witness to well-planned, cold-blooded murder of Muslims preceding and following the demolition of Babri Masjid under the stewardship of Mr Advani, I be allowed to resort to some poetry.
Kaifi Azmi wrote a nice poem on the events of December 6, 1992, which began thus:
Chhe Disumbar ko Shri Ram ne socha hoga
Itne divane mere ghar mein kahan se aaye
(On December 6, Shri Ram must have thought Where did so many madmen come into my home)
Well, they came into Shri Ram’s capital from all over India, driven like a big flock of cattle by the illustrious Mr Advani to kill and maim people, burn their homes and demolish the Babri Masjid (and 25 other mosques and mazaars in Ahodhya).
The diwane also ensured that the tradition of centuries-old communal unity was destroyed and the august Constitution of India was rendered lifeless. And, they almost succeeded, as was evident from the spread of riots all over India and its spill over into Pakistan and Bangladesh. That was Mr. Advani’s take on the Two-Nation Theory.
Now, barely a few hours before the return of Shri Ram to his capital is to be celebrated as Dussehra festival, we have the dark forebodings of fearful events that characterise Mr Advani’s yatra.
For centuries the Muslims of Awadh (the region in which Ayodhya falls) have rejoiced with their Hindu brethren in their joy and empathised with them in their sorrow, like Muslims everywhere in India. Mr Advani’s yatra, and the Hindutva politics that sustained it, created an emotional division among people.
We wonder whether Mr Advani’s next rath yatra would be as divisive as its earlier version. For the record, Mr Advani has said the rath yatra would be about corruption which, at least on the face of it, is not divisive as all of us are fed up to the gill with it. However, deep down, it is to be undertaken keeping in view Uttar Pradesh elections within the next few month. And herein lies the crux.
All previous mass violence against Muslims staged by the Sangh was part of electoral politics, using violence against Muslims and building a climate of hate and anti-Muslim hysteria to mobilise majority Hindu support in BJP’s or its earlier avatar, Jana Sangh’s favour.
Mr. Advani has tasted blood. He was instead of being punished for massacre and vandalism, rewarded with the Union Home Minister’s and Deputy PM’s position. He knows that lawlessness and violence pays. Sensing electoral gains, he can change course anytime and start the same old game again. After all, he had publicly promised before the Babri Masjid demolition and killings that his kar sevaks (religious volunteers) would do only kar seva (religious service). He has proved that he cannot be trusted.
That by their actions, the Sangh and its mascot Mr Advani, did not please the Maryada Purushottam (The Great Man of Honour) Shri Ramji is evident from the last couplet of Kaifi, the first of which I have quoted above:
Rajdhani ki fiza aye nahin raas unhein
Chhe Disambar ko mila doosra vanwas unhein
(The unpleasant atmosphere of Shri Ram’s capital did not suit him/On December 6 he went into a second exile).
Quite naturally, Shri Ram, who favoured poor Shabri’s half-eaten berries because they were sweetened by her sincere love, would not like the stench of burning human flesh and the sight of human blood flowing on Ayodhya’s street thanks to the charioteer Mr Advani and his entourage.
One has quite a few misgivings about Mr Advani’s concern for corruption. How come a party whose erstwhile government in Karnataka has looted the country’s mineral wealth to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees talk about corruption?
Perhaps he has also forgotten that his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party, become “Bhartiya Janata (Petrol Pump) Party” because of the criminal loot of petrol pumps by BJP-RSS leaders in NDA rule. At least, he must be remembering that his is the only party whose chief was caught accepting bribe and had to resign.
By now enough people know that whether it is Swami Ramdev’s fast or Anna Hazare’s, RSS men have been lurking behind the scenes. His ostentatious rath yatra is part of that pattern, geared ultimately to win the coming elections in U. P, to be followed by the rest of India.
For most Indians, violence, like untouchability, is a form of the worst possible moral corruption. And Mr Advani’s share of bloodshed has been formidably high. The blood of thousands of innocent people is on his head. He should try to help justice done to victims instead of starting another rath yatra.
My apprehensions about Mr Advani’s next move are reflected in this couplet of my friend Asrar Jama’i:
Hein Ayodhya ke ye mani yudh yahan par hai manaa
Yudh ka maidaan aap is ko banwayenge kya
(“Ayodhya” means a place of no-war/Will you turn it into a battlefield?)
Jamai’s verse (a parody of Ghalib) represents a common anxiety among victims of Sangh terrorism.
This is a moment for the saner sections as well as the weaker sections of our country not to be seduced or provoked by this Pied Piper to advance his destructive agenda.
Let us hope Mr Advani’s yatra is less divisive this time.