It was the decade post Independence. Somnath Temple, raided by invader rulers, was set for an inaugural. Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India refused to go for the ceremony, and word is that he coerced Home Minister Sardar Patel to follow suite.
The reason- India is a secular state that does not have a state religion, and hence the head of the state has to rise above his or her identity as a Hindu or Muslim, and serve the state with common welfare in mind.
In 2019, Atish Taseer wrote for the Time Magazine a controversial cover story, calling PM Modi ‘Divider-in-Chief. Calling him a ‘Calamity’ that rampantly affected the Indian majoritarian populace, he claimed that Modi’s failed economic promises were brushed under the carpet of ‘poisonous religious nationalism’.
As the Opposition in the Parliament gawked helplessly while the BJP government delivered some powerful decisions in line of their election promises, the ‘liberal Lutyens School of Press’ attacked his policies in the name of appeasement.
For long, India has witnessed a structure where the minorities have helmed institutions like universities and the press, leaving the majority populace making peace with policies that favour the former and disadvantage the latter. In nations like India, Turkey, Brazil, Britain and the U.S, a trend of right wing politics ensued when populism represented the grievance of majorities.
And this was the time Hindus chose to not apologise, but embrace their needs as a religious community and majority. It felt good when a slew of decisions favoured them, and were not for minority appeasement- a vote bank tactics of the former government that created the great Indian divide. BJP’s rise as a party and ideology was a result of this.
Indian politics is a seesaw that favours one and disadvantages the other. As the seesaw leans to the saffron right, various ‘Hindus’ declare their apology over being a part of the majority. They veciforously deny the present government’s policies as ‘separatist’ and ‘majoritarian’, but forget that some of them had pressed the lotus loud and clear not once, not just twice, but also in state government elections over the five years wanting a coordinated ideology and political thought to make policies for national progression.
For people who condemn the building of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya must know that Babri Masjid was Masjid-e-Janmsthan in numerous texts of the Mughal era, and denying scripture and evidence pertaining to one religion shows utter intolerance for the philosophy of Sanatan Dharma, acknowledged as the oldest religion of the world.
The matter is not even of superiority or inferiority of religions. We have enough facts and distorted data to believe our side of the story. But as an equalitarian, my belief lies that if a hospital or school deserves to be constructed on the disputed land as claimed by various liberal Hindus and even some Muslims, not to forget the ones who aren’t stakeholders of the issue- then the same policy must be applied to the Western Wall or Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The truth is, that schools and colleges or medical facilities can be constructed in millions of places, but the Janmasthal holds special significance in spiritual faith which cannot be questioned. It is time, that we flow with the tide of time and embrace our identity as a Hindu. Being a majority is not a choice, but being a respectful practitioner of your own faith and upholder of spiritual thought across religions is.
By: Gauri Joshi
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