Just think of this: Reports from Dhaka that the Khaleda Zia Government is considering relocating the Bhakeshwari Kali Temple?the millennium-old shrine in the heart of the Bangladesh capital that gives the city its very name, has been conveniently suppressed by the English media. The Pioneer (June 9) alone had the courage to write an editorial on the subject. According to this paper which has a tradition of over 120 years??Islamist parties that are partners in Prime Minister Khaleda Zia'scoalition government have demanded that the temple be brought down and shifted to another area?. ?Appropriately? wrote the paper, ?it will establish Bangladesh'sgradual but certain decline into Islamic extremism and fulfil the ghoulish desire of the Islamists to make it a successor state to Mullah Omar'sEmirate of Afghanistan?, where, it will be remembered, the Islamic fundamentalists disfigures the beautiful mountain statues of the Buddha which had stood the ravages to time, until they became victims of the Islamic whatever-one-may-like-to-call-them.
But the forthcoming demolition of the Dhakheshwari Temple should not be an isolated event. According to Taslima Nasrin, quoted by the columnist Prafull Goradia, 69?not five, ten or twenty but sixty-nine?temples have been desecrated in Bangladesh in 1990, a clear two years before the Babri episode. Did our liberal, secular English media ever report this massive and deliberate crime? Not on your life. Thereafter, reports Goradia, ?over 200 (temples) were martyred?. There is no record of our secular government ever once raising its feeble voice. On June 14, The Times of India (and some other papers) reported that ?the only Hindu temple? in Lahore has been demolished to pave the way for construction of a multi-storied commercial building.
The story was attributed to ?agencies?. But within two days the report was contradicted. ?The Krishna Temple is in perfect condition. I invite L.K.Advani to visit Lahore and pray at the temple?, Pakistan'sDaily Times quoted Minister for Religious Affairs, Ejazul Haq as saying. Indeed, said Shri Haq, seven lakh rupees had been spent on the temple renovation a few months ago. This report has been sent by UNI. But what are the so-called ?agencies?, The Times of India quoted, doing? Is the Krishna Temple still standing? But the demolition of the Krishna Temple presuming that it is in the works, should not surprise anybody. According to records available since 1947, as many as 244 mandirs, across eleven Pakistani districts have been destroyed and there has not been a squeal from our secular governments in Delhi.
The message that Delhi has been sending out is clear: Hindus do not care about the demolition of their temples and the desecration of their holy sites and the disfigurement of their idols. They had lived under such circumstances for one thousand years and what if a couple of hundred are presently desecrated? After all, Islamic rulers had demolished over 3,000 odd temples over the centuries during their long and tyrannous rule so what if a few temples are desecrated now? Our secularism has reached such glorious heights that our liberal, intellectual, secular Hindu ?leaders? get red under their collars if an inconsequential dargah?which is not the same as a masjid?is sought to be demolished in Vadodara to broaden a road, the dargah being not the only one to suffer that fate since some nineteen other Hindu mandirs also were similarly to be demolished.
But judging from the reaction of our English media it was as if a Hindu army was out to destroy the Jama Masjid. And Narendra Modi became an instant target for our secularists? fury. India maintained an undignified silence when the Bamiyan monuments to Budha were disfigured by Islamic barbarians. What the Bamiyan Buddha is to Afghanistan, the Dhakhaeshwari Temple is to Bangladesh and yet all that one hears from Delhi is a deafening silence. But let some stupid Danish cartoonist dishonour the Prophet, our leaders jump into the fray. We are very secular, aren'twe? We should defend the honour of our minorities, shouldn'twe? This raises an important question: Shouldn'twe raise the question of constructing a temple on the Babri Masjid site and show our respect for Muslim sentiments by building a separate and even more beautiful masjid for Muslims elsewhere?
The Babri site is holy for Hindus? In what way is the Babri site holy for Muslims? Prafull Goradia (who is incidentally an authority on Islamic history) says that Janab Z.A.Mansoorie of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind had written to him as follows: ?Islam forbids its believers to usurp the place/structure of worship of the people of other faiths. There is a strong and permanent fatwa in this regard, that no namaz is acceptable to Allah unless the mosque has been built by acquiring the piece of land legally. Otherwise, Muslims shield shun offering prayers. If, for some mosque it is proved that it was built violating Islamic injunctions, we Muslims have to withdraw….? It is a well-known fact that several thousand temples were demolished by Muslim invaders and masjids built over the sites.
Even Romilla Thapar will have to agree that Hindu temples were desecrated in Mathura and Varanasi as well. Is it too much to ask of our fellow Indians professing Islamic faith to be sensitive to Hindu feelings and to start with, at least agree to let the temple to Ram be built on the Babri site in Ayodhya? Do they realise what a tremendous sense of gratitude will sweep among Hindus throughout the length and breadth of India? The worst enemies of India are not our minorities but our misguided secularist Hindus who will not stand up for their faith?if they have any.
There is very little or nothing that we can do to stop the demolition of the Dhakheshwari Kali Temple in Dhaka, just as we could do nothing to stop the disfigurement of the Bamiyan statues of the Buddha. We still have to be re-assured that the Krishna Temple in Lahore stays. But no such guarantee is available. Hatred of Hindus and of India is the ruling passion in Pakistani government circles and there is little that we can do to educate those barbarians.
Much the same can be said of the rulers in Bangladesh. Sadly, we have a government in Delhi which is unresponsive to majority feelings in India for electoral reasons. If only Congress leaders would find time to read the collected works of Mahatma Gandhi they may re-discover their Indianness and think afresh. Gandhi used to speak about politics without principles. He must have had the Congress of circa 2006 in mind.