India’s landscape is littered with destroyed temples and mosques – and even Churches – built over them. For those who walk into those mosques, does the dishonesty, the barbarism of those who did the abhorrent deed, ever come to the mind?
What about those who justify the existence of these structures? What is the message that they are sending to the coming generations about our collective conscience? That our so-called tolerance justified barbarism and genocide in the name of equality? Such regressiveness?!
Over the last few decades, a lot of discussions have happened around the Ayodhya situation. A lot has also been said in various sections about Faith and law and how these two areas seem to have intersected in this decision.
Many sections of the press/media and the “secularists” seem to have suggested that Muslims are sad and angry. If one would peruse the comments on Drishtikone’s articles itself which were filthy, abusive and angry suggest that there is a sense of entitlement in some sections of Muslim population with regards to India and its rule.
This sort of mentality is strongly demonstrated by many in Pakistan. Some in India who are affected by that rhetoric may be getting colored by the same mindset.
All said and done, few things are clear:
- There is strong and overwhelming evidence that not one, but many temples (please see the attachment) were destroyed and vandalized by the barbaric Muslim rulers from 1100 AD to very recently.
- That according to court’s and many interpretation of Islamic tenets, a structure constructed with idols inscribed or with the material of others’ places of worship, it ceases to be a mosque.
In todays day and age and in times when Islamic world reeling under extreme insanity and violent battle with the civilized world, Ayodhya case and controversy comes as an opportunity to cleanse the community’s conscience.
Amongst the Hindus and most of those who can think clearly and not prone to historic subterfuge, Muslims do represent a section of people who are anti-Hinduism for the most part and have repressed the Hindu populace over the past centuries. There is and will remain a high degree of mis-alignment between the two communities. Despite the common purposes and humanity, it is also apparent that so much of Hinduphobic rhetoric that regularly goes on in the mosques is never reported, let alone challenged.
So when these same “believers” go to mosques which are built on a temple, do they pause and think?
Even a common man can go to several mosques built over temples and see the genesis of that structure. He may not say it out loud, but the association between the barbaric Muslim ruler who did that to this man’s heritage – ancient, peaceful and proud heritage – and the person who proudly and rightfully goes into pray in that structure is very strong.
The person who is going in to pray there may not even want to kill a Hindu. He may not even think badly of a Hindu. But his act of being oblivious to the antagonistic nature of what he is doing is creating associations that creates stronger feelings amongst the Hindus of today for the Muslims. By endorsing the symbol of genocide and aggression on India and Hindus in particular, can one escape the associated insensitivity that is created? And, then those who justify and those who don’t challenge these who justify is mind-bogglingly lacking any attempt to spread peace.
What we have is a common heritage. Most Muslims today in India were once Hindus. For a large majority of them, their forefathers were either coerced or forced into Islam. We all know that. They know that as well. There is no pride in that.
Destruction of temples, discrimination against non-Muslims (through Jizya, for most part of Islamic rule), and a population of Hindus who were very clearly coerced and forced into Islam.
This is a set of facts that are damning for the Muslims in India and their future. Until they find a way to somehow correct the perception and the very representation of what they are personally and what their faith really represents; religious tensions will always be a reality.
No one should be discriminated. Every Indian of every religion should have a right to have a say and be a part of the future of this country rightfully. Indian future will have to embrace the unique characteristic of Tolerance and Acceptance of DIversity in a complete way.
Religions do have very different belief systems. We all know that. But if we are willing to fashion our religious beliefs such that they embrace everyone’s values and life, then we can co-exist peacefully. But if the demonstration of my faith is replete with eulogizing humiliation of you, then where should the dialog even begin?
Diversity is a great thing. But it becomes terrible when one group prides in the very events, symbols, and characteristics that are statements of utter discrimination and destruction of another group. There is no pride in that. Should not be.
How can one even honestly say that one loves the other when one believes that he/she has a birthright to maintain and keep intact such symbols of injustice, discrimination, and wanton destruction.
Destruction of Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi temple was not a one-off event. There was a whole movement by the Islamic rulers. There was a strong, unmitigated and deliberate attempt to destroy what was revered in this country.
Given how closed and uneducated the Arabic culture of those times had been, they had not ventured outside their small area and to them everything foreign and “different” was bad and sinful.
It is common for people with limited exposure to the outside world and greater diversity to be antagonistic to the extreme. That is why it has become very important in today’s Western societies to create opportunities for knowing each other more and be exposed to more and more cultures. With interaction comes respect. The Arabic and Middle Eastern hordes had not been exposed to many cultures and they had blinkered viewpoints.
And moreover, to them, the art and the cultural high-points and wealth made no difference. For them, all that had been achieved had no importance. So, for such people, it was probably “natural” from their standpoint – to destroy what was alien to them.
It was not a great character at display surely, but when one has no stake in something one can deceive his conscience a bit easily to break or vandalize it. For example, one would not write any Grafitti on even the barren walls of their house, but people in thousands disfigure monuments of historic importance. These are people with little conscience and no sense of assimilative living. They are not the ones who will serve as beacons of any society!
But we, the modern day Indians know better! We know that respect for the other has to start with evaluating our own prejudices and actions. If we are upholding that monuments built by barbaric hordes with contempt for civilization and harmonious living should be kept as living symbols of our heritage; then we are knowingly and deliberately pushing our society in a particular direction. A direction which certainly cannot expect any respect for diversity.
Pride in these structures is a statement that “Barbaric might SHOULD trounce Civilization and Diversity”.
It’s not that the person, who is aware, honest and prone to listening to his / her conscience does not understand or feel what he is doing by entering or praising such monuments. He does. His conscience will clearly point him to the inhuman nature and uncompromising flavor of his act. But it’s a shame that he would still choose to disregard that.
Such a disregard of one’s conscience when one knows that one’s action does not lead to Good of the humanity, kills the conscience slowly. And such destructionof conscience can only occur when one blinds himself with the passion for his beliefs however negative and regressive that may be.
Belief kills conscience. But a dead conscience can also create havoc in the believers in long term!
The first point where blind belief kills conscience is disregarded – and also probably done with a feeling of righteousness. There is even a feeling of pleasing one’s Gods by such acts. But what is never understood is that such violence on one’s own conscience will create a person and a society that learns to justify every criminal act with an interpretation from the same Belief System. An eco-system of criminality.
For example, Lahore and Karachi were once great centers of art, intellect, and commerce. Some of the greatest poets, intellectuals and mystics of the sub-continent have walked the streets of those two cities.
Today, as the belief of righteous intolerance took precedence when a country was created with the cry of “I can’t live with you because I am different (Two-Nation theory)” – that society is in shambles. In the past few years, something unprecedented has been happening there. People are being killed in their places of worship. In mosques and in dargahs. Nowhere in the world will you see killers killing en-masse in places of worship.
Killing someone in a place of worship is not the same as killing someone in a market square. Both these actions are substantively and foundationally different! One who kills in the market place is making a statement about the other person and his disagreement with him. Its an angry cry that says “I want to revolt” in such a way that I will kill you!
But one who kills in the place of worship does so in an attempt to hoist his dead conscience as a superior one over the other. Its a statement of Belief. Though both are statements that humanity in that person is dead, yet the second one goes even beyond that!
Of course, between a random act of killing the many in a marketplace and killing many in their place of worship comes the stage of suicide bombing, where the personal belief and ideology has become more important than one’s own life.
Isn’t it strange that a mass of people – Muslims of the sub-continent – who were created because someone did not have respect for humanity in strange lands and killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed thousands of places of worship, are today engaged in killing each other in the VERY same mosques in Pakistan that probably stood over what was a temple once?
That is the direction that we are pushing Indian future generations towards if we disregard our conscience today.
We can very well justify the monuments that stand over numerous great temples which were destroyed and feel a sense of pride that they are there. But please make them our heritage carefully. Because such a heritage comes with a price. And it is a VERY high price to pay! So, lets look at the killings in the mosques and dargahs in Pakistan and ask ourselves “Are we willing to pay this price”?
And, it may not take very long either. It took Pakistan a little over 60 years to reach that point. We will very well be there to reap what we sow today.
To understand the complete picture and how much of destruction happened, let’s look at evidence from the writings of those who actually did it. It is important to know the scale of such inhuman actions to fully comprehend what we are endorsing for our future!
Attachment: History of Temple Destruction.pdf