Bypassing Ayodhya – Ravi Shankar Etteth

Babri Masjid Demolition

Ravi Shankar Etteth“Advani was the general of the BJP’s march to power, riding on the chariot of faith. But the new saffron samurai who lays his claim to the seat of Delhi has skipped the road to Ayodhya for now. Narendra Modi, the self-defined “Hindu nationalist”, uses the weapons of development and aggressive rhetoric—sometimes historically incorrect—to attack UPA’s corruption, economic ruin and dynastic politics.” – Ravi Shankar Etteth

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad BaburSomething happened twenty-one years ago, this week, this month, that would forever alter the political geography of India. It was the anniversary of the collapse of the ancient regime of secularism, which had been fattened on political cronyism.

Standing on a crowded terrace overlooking a square, hemmed in by bamboo barricades, I could see the crowd of kar sevaks becoming restless as the sun slowly banished the December mist that had obscured Ayodhya’s temple towers. The huge, time-blackened building menacingly squatted on a rise in front. It was built by a brutal warlord who had come all the way from Uzbekistan to seize India. On his way, Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur had torched Lahore, watching it burn for two days. The invader, who Guru Nanak described as “messenger of death”, soon seized the throne of India. He laid the foundations of the Mughal dynasty, born out of a jihad of greed and power. He was no illiterate avatar of Tamurlane, but was a poet and an aesthete. In the tome he wrote, Babur Nama, poetry and ornithology coexist with schizophrenic zeal: “For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer; I battled infidels and Hindus. I was determined to become a martyr, Praise be to god that I became a Ghazi—killer of non-Muslims.” In 1528, Babur “attacked Chanderi and by the grace of Allah captured it in a few hours…. We got the infidels slaughtered”. Mughal rulers, except Akbar, followed Baburology with the same zeal. Shah Jehan ordered the destruction of 76 temples. Aurangzeb was the greatest monster—Mughal court records reveal he ordered the destruction of Kashi Vishwanath Cemple in 1669, followed by the Krishna Temple at Mathura and “a grand mosque was built on its site”.

Sri RamaOn a December evening, 21 years ago, Babur’s “infidels” fought back at the past.

At a press conference at Faizabad the previous day, L.K. Advani answered my question whether the VHP would demolish the mosque. He dismissed the possibility. The next day, after a journalist was attacked by kar sevaks, all media was herded into safety behind heavily protected police barricades. Looking for more journalists, the cops arrived at the terrace where I stood along with a throng, watching the tumult in the square. I didn’t want to be herded to safety. The atmosphere crackled with the electricity of history. I borrowed a saffron ‘gamcha”—a cotton towel that kar sevaks wore around their necks—to make the cops believe I was a pilgrim among many. As the domes fell one by one, people left their positions and rushed towards the mosque, which was by then being attacked with pickaxes, tridents and iron bars. I was swept along in the tide and was perhaps the only journalist to get inside the mosque when it was being demolished. Amid chaos of dust and falling stones, a sadhu with matted tresses and a flaming white beard thrust a gleaming trident into my hands and urged me to strike a blow for Ram. The air was thunderous with the ancient war cry that conquered Ravan’s Lanka.

L.K. Advani: Broken promisesThat Hindu banzai made Advani India’s first Hindu Knights Templar. His first rath yatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya was stopped in Bihar, but the seeds of Hindu political triumph were sown. Advani was the general of the BJP’s march to power, riding on the chariot of faith. But the new saffron samurai who lays his claim to the seat of Delhi has skipped the road to Ayodhya for now. Narendra Modi, the self-defined “Hindu nationalist”, uses the weapons of development and aggressive rhetoric—sometimes historically incorrect—to attack UPA’s corruption, economic ruin and dynastic politics. The difference between Advani and Modi reflects India’s departure from the politics of communalism to the gratification of aspirations. Manmohan Singh showed that Nehru’s “modern temples of India” were not dams and PSUs, but the stock exchange and mega malls. Modi seeks to take it forward by forging a new future for India by departing from the ‘Secular’ versus Hindu debate. God is the passenger, and not the driver, of his chariot. – The New Indian Express, 8 December 2013

» Ravi Shankar Etteth is a columnist for The New Indian Express. He can be contacted at ravi@newindianexpress.com

2 Responses

  1. Understand your spirit but unable to agree with form and expressed words.Hindu dignity and survival is at stake.After 6dec knight act,vivid India scene needs no discription.Now hindus are orphan in their own home and in most subdued spirit,’Hindu’ is almost untouchable word.All power nodes are in unfriendly hands with formula of divide and rule in all pervasive use.Now whats ways are left for hindus.Their sages cant go Ayodhya due to prohibitary orders.Even Modi has not become samurai on bed of roses given by Hindus or India. Buthis movements and planks have again given hope to majority Indians including to Ayodhya and Ram as well.It appears that God’s will is again giving sapling in new format.Election results of four states have thwarted vote bank politics.Now old questions have to be solved by new knights in latest methods.Now times call for cementing bonds and for halt of anti unity processes to project new strong India.

    Your pen wields strength and force.you understand problem like billions others but solutions are eluding.For Ram setu of solutions all coopertion is called for to maximise the greatest unity for brilliant India.One samurai needs fortifications from big and bigger samurai family.Still user of Ravi and Shanker names is permittedbut it will not go on for long unless strivings not made.

    wish for more efforts from your strong pen.

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  2. I like the following:

    “Manmohan Singh showed that Nehru’s “modern temples of India” were not dams and PSUs, but the stock exchange and mega malls. Modi seeks to take it forward by forging a new future for India by departing from the ‘Secular’ versus Hindu debate.”

    “His first rath yatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya was stopped in Bihar, but the seeds of Hindu political triumph were sown. Advani was the general of the BJP’s march to power, riding on the chariot of faith.”

    “Ayodhya’s temple towers. The huge, time-blackened building menacingly squatted on a rise in front. It was built by a brutal warlord who had come all the way from Uzbekistan to seize India. On his way, Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur had torched Lahore, watching it burn for two days. The invader, who Guru Nanak described as “messenger of death”,

    “Mughal rulers, except Akbar, followed Baburology with the same zeal. Shah Jehan ordered the destruction of 76 temples. Aurangzeb was the greatest monster—Mughal court records reveal he ordered the destruction of Kashi Vishwanath Cemple in 1669, followed by the Krishna Temple at Mathura and “a grand mosque was built on its site”.

    It is clear that some thing is weak in Hindus! we have lost Kings, committed to Hinduism, which is facing aggression from all corners-material prosperity, fair skin with impressive pesonality, all, repeat all WESTERN ideologies and cultures, nontolerance of the achievements of/developments by our own people and so on! We have succumbed to Trading of ‘FOREIGN’ goods in the name of world class technology; practically impossible to get back to the India of Harshavardhana or Guptas or the Cholas/Pandavas/Pallavas!

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