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India: Anniversary of Babri Mosque Demolition Reminds of the Egregious Violation of Law and Resolve to Protect Constitution

Sunday 12 December 2021, by siawi3

Source: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article11863.html

Mainstream, VOL LIX No 52, New Delhi, December 11, 2021


Anniversary of Babri Mosque Demolition Reminds of the Egregious Violation of Law and Resolve to Protect Constitution

Saturday 11 December 2021

by S N Sahu *

6th December, is the solemn anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid. It was on this day in 1992 that it was completely destroyed and razed to the ground by those who spread hatred and venom in the name of Lord Ram and executed their diabolical design in complete disregard of law, Constitution and civilisational ethos of India characterised by coexistence of faiths and equal respect for all religions. In 2019 the Supreme Court in M Siddiq (D) and Versus Mahant Suresh Das & Others while allowing construction of Ram temple in the place where once Babri Masjid stood observed,

“On 6 December 1992, the structure of the mosque was brought down and the mosque was destroyed. The destruction of the mosque took place in breach of the order of status quo and an assurance given to this Court. The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law”.

The political formations and other organisations who were deviously engaged in the destroying Babri Masjid on 6th December 1992 are celebrating the day as Saurya Divas. In doing so they are celebrating the “egregious violation of the rule of law”.

The Supreme Court apart from holding that the the destruction of the Mosque was an egregious violation of law held that the placement of idols of Lord Ram inside it in 1949 and denial of opportunities for access to the Mosque for offering Namz was illegal. It observed, “The exclusion of the Muslims from worship and possession took place on the intervening night between 22/23 December 1949 when the mosque was desecrated by the installation of Hindu idols. The ouster of the Muslims on that occasion was not through any lawful authority but through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship.”

The celebration of the desecration of Babri Mosque and its eventual demolition constitutes the core of the Saurya Divas which in fact marks the merry-making of those who express joy in brazenly violating law and Constitution. Nilanjan Mukhapadhyaya in his video uploaded in thenewsclick.in on 5th December 2021 said that the placement of the idols was done by Hindu Mahasabha and he held V D Savarkar responsible for it because he was part of the Mahasabha and inspired the activities of the workers associated with it.

6th December Ambedkar’s Parinirvan Divas

6th December is also the anniversary of the passing away of Dr. B R Ambedkar who attained Parinirvan. He had cautioned in his book Pakistan and Partition of India that Savarkar in advocating his scheme that Hindus and Msulims constituted two separate nations and they could live within a single nation with Hindus having occupying a position of privilege over Muslims was really creating a most dangerous situation for the safety and security of India. In fact the demolition of Babri Masjid in a way reflected the execution of Savarkar’s thinking which Dr. Ambedkar flagged for its fatal outcomes for the cause of idea of India.

The Supreme Court in spite of its indictment for placement of idols inside Babri Mosque and its subsequent destruction allowed construction of Ram Temple in the same place where the Mosque stood for several centuries and it was a protected monument as per the prevailing law. The point worth noting in this context is that while there is force and mandate of law behind the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the placement of idol and destruction of the Babri Mosque was devoid of any legal sanction and it was purely a sinister activity mocking the rule of law and sense of civility.

Dr. Ambedkar proclaimed law as the greatest disinfectant against inequality, dubbed castes as anti-national, celebrated liberty, equality and fraternity, and stressed on reclamation of human personality held in bondage by caste system described by him as an ascending order of reverence and descending order of contempt.

Juxtapose it with the Supreme Court’s observation in its Ayodhya judgement that, “The law is ... a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of the Indian polity, which is one of the basic features of the Constitution,” even as it strangely allowed construction of temple where the Babri Mosque stood demolished. Ambedkar’s understanding of law and Supreme Court’s interpretation of it in the context of secularism stand in exact opposition to the Shourya Divas which celebrates assault and violence on a Mosque, and therefore, constitutes an affront to the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar.

EDUCATE, ORGANISE,

AGITATE

On the occasion of the Mahaparinirvan Divas of Dr. Ambedkar, one recalls his electrifying slogan “Educate, Organise and Agitate”. The protagonists of Shaurya Divas and the leaders who swear by it are now at the helm of affairs of India and they while selectively quoting Ambedkar go against the very grain of his worldview. It is best manifested in the manner in which the agitation of lakhs of farmers against Farm laws has been handled, in a coercive manner for preventing their entry to Delhi to protest. The method of tear gassing them, blocking the road they travelled by barricades covered with barbed wire, digging trenches on their way and deployment of para military forces to deal with protest and agitation smacks of an approach disapproving of dissent by applying disproportionate force.

Such a muscular approach to deal with farmers’ agitation combined with criminalisation of dissent and protest is inconsistent with Dr. Ambedkar’s vision anchored on constitutional method and cultivation of constitutional morality for defending the idea and unity of India.

WAR AGAINST MUSLIMS

The destruction of Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992, heralded an ominous trend representing all out attack on secularism, and particularly on Muslims of India who are now at the receiving end because of many regressive and draconian legislations aimed against them.

The stringent Love Jihad laws enacted in most of the BJP ruled States target interfaith couples belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities with severe penal offences. These take away their fundamental right and liberty to exercise their choices for forging matrimonial alliances. Many of the Muslims have been killed in the name of beef, their faith, dress and life style.

On December 17, 1946 while participating in the discussion on the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar had flagged with anxiety that some leaders made belligerent statements that amounted to waging war against Muslims and warned that “…if there is anybody who has in his mind the project of solving the Hindu-Muslim problem by force, which is another name of solving it by war… in order that the Muslims may be subjugated ...[t]his country would be involved in perpetually conquering them”.

Celebration of Shaurya Divas on December 6 is a celebration of violence and hatred associated with the destruction of Babri Mosque and, therefore, such a celebration amounts to celebration of war as was apprehended by Dr. Ambedkar during pre-Partition days.

The Special CBI Court while acquitting all 22 accused in the Babri Moque demolition case had observed that anti-social elements had destroyed it. Therefore, all those who are celebrating its demolition as Shauriya Divas are celebrating the work of the anti-social elements.

CONSTITUTIONAL METHOD

Dr. Ambedkar had cautioned in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly that adoption of the methods contrary to the constitutional method in pursuit of the objectives enshrined in the Constitution would result in grammar of anarchy. The demolition of Babri Mosque represented the brutal manifestation of the employment of unconstitutional method and, therefore, the “grammar of anarchy” that India witnessed in its aftermath constituted. in the words of late Shri K R Narayanan, then Vice President of India and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, a tragedy similar to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Parallel between Babri Mosque Demolition and Gandhi’s Assassination

Apart from the illegality associated with the destruction of Babri Mosque we should be mindful of the poignant words of President of India K R Narayanan who during December 1992 while presiding over Rajya Sabha poignantly said that the demolition of the Mosque was the greatest tragedy India faced after assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

In fact demolition of Babri Masji was in a way demolition of the ideals of Hinduism and constituted a serious assault on Sarva Dharma Sambhav, coexistence of all faiths, which remains central to secularism, and the Supreme Court in S R Bommai case held it as the basic structure of the Constitution. The fatal blow to Babri Mosque was a blow to secularism and Mahatma Gandhi’s vision which he articulated during the partition of India. At that time when many refugees came from Pakistan and some mosques in Delhi were occupied by several Hindus with a view to demolishing them for the purpose of creating space for settlement of Hindus there Gandhi raised voice against it and said that if mosques would be occupied and demolished in the name of Hinduism that would be the end of Hinduism. Gandhi was an exemplary Hindu and he never could withstand the desecration of the place of worship of people of other faiths even in the trying and agonising times of partition.

Demolition of Babri Masjid was Contrary to Swami Vivekananda’s Vision

On 9/11, 1918, 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address delivered in the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago on 9/11, 1893 was celebrated in India and abroad. Acceptance and tolerance of all faiths and complete rejection of fanaticism born out of religion and religious dogma constituted the central theme of that historic speech which cast a spell on the Americans and they thronged in large numbers to listen to his numerous other lectures on spirituality and Vedanta. In the concluding portion of his Chicago speech he said with poignancy “sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

Ninety nine years after Swami Vivekananda’s remarks indicting “sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendent fanaticism”, Babri Mosque was destroyed by forces representing Hindutva on 6th December 1992. It instituted barbaric display of hatred for faiths of others and willful disregard and mocking the rule of law and Constitution.

On Swami Vivekananda’s return to India after his historic trip to the World Parliament of Religions he was accorded rousing welcome and he responded by delivering series of speeches put together in the volume “Lectures from Colombo to Almora”. In one of those speeches delivered in Madras, now Chennai, he famously said, “It is here in India that Hindus have built and are still building churches for Christians and mosques for Mohammedans.” He did so to underline the values of universal toleration and acceptance. In fact in the same speech Swamiji underlined the point that Hindus would continue to build mosques for Muslims and Churches for Christians even if they faced scorn and contempt from some people belonging to those communities. He said, “In spite of their hatred, in spite of their brutality, in spite of their cruelty, in spite of their tyranny, and in spite of the vile language.....we will and must go on building churches for the Christians and mosques for the Mohammedans until we conquer through love, until we have demonstrated to the world that love alone is the fittest thing to survive and not hatred, that it is gentleness that has the strength to live on and to fructify, and not mere brutality and physical force.” In eschewing hatred and brutality Swami Vivekananda upheld love as a unifying force for promoting reconciliation, unity and understanding among different faiths.

Demolition of Babri Masjid based as much on illegality and hatred and bigotry with a view to constructing a Ram Temple in its place was contrary to the vision of Swami Vivekananda. Let us be mindful of the vision of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar and combine it with the constitutional vision of India at the core of which remains secularism, coexistence of all faiths and equal respect for all religions. It is important to do so in the present times when the constitutional vision of India is being attacked by those who control the State apparatus and the extra electoral forces which promote disharmony and discord in the name of religion. The success of ongoing farmers’ movement against farm laws manifested in the Modi’s regime’s decision to repeal them has demonstrated religious pluralism and upheld core principles of secularism. It generates hope to save the Constitution and democracy. The ongoing movement of farmers based on religious pluralism and secular vision has forced the Modi regime to rescind the farm laws. Such people’s movement offers to defend and protect democracy.

SN Sahu served as Officer on Special Duty to President of India late Shri K R Narayanan and had a tenure as Director in Prime Minister’s Office and Joint Secretary in Rajya Sabha Secretariat