Atiricus is in full agreement with what Shri Rahul (the latest active) Gandhi said when he said: ?Had anyone from the Gandhi family been active then, it (the falling/felling of the Babri Masjid) would not have happened at all.? That is truly the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the secular truth. For has it not been a Gandhi who founded the secular faith and a succession of Gandhis who devoutly defended it? That being so, the storm raised by the righteous remark seems senseless to Satiricus.
Unfortunately and incomprehensibly for Satiricus, it has been raised by friends and foes alike?that is, by foes in the Opposition as well as unfriendly friends in the alliance. Even the media, flaunting its journalism of secular courage, has been communal enough to mix the report of Rahul'sremark with critical comment, by saying it ?betrays both ignorance of history and a dynastic arrogance?.
Satiricus begs to differ on both points. In the first place, we enlightened secularists must differentiate between History and Itihasa by using scholarly secular standards. Itihasa means ?it so happened?. That is the communal criterion. History means ?it should have so happened?. That is the creative criterion. Was not Rahul'sown father a creative historian when he said the history of India was Muslim history, although the first Muslim invader-cum-tourist came here less than fifteen centuries ago, while the Itihasa of Bharat goes back to more than fifty centuries ago?
As for the accusation of arrogance, it only exposes ignorance of what is all too plain to all people. Here Satiricus recalls that King Canute poem of his childhood days??I am the monarch of all I survey, my right there is none to dispute.? Then is there a Congress courtier or secular serf to dispute the right of the dynasty to deliver us, the subjects, from communal calamities? Satiricus is sure not.
As for political parties, the BJP'scriticism is clearly communal. They say they are shocked to see this young man's?party can stoop so low to please Muslims that they can go all out to insult sentiments of the Hindu community.? What does that show? If the so-called communal BJP is shocked, it is clear proof that Rahul and the Congress are on the right secular track. For insulting Hindus is the essence of Indian secularism, and if the Indian Muslim used to be the ?favourite wife? of the Gora Sahib, what is wrong with the Progressive Brown Sahib continuing the history of this romantic relationship? Unfortunately not only the BJP but even the SP recalls a very different history. For the BJP perniciously points out that it was Rajiv who had opened the locked gates of the Ram temple when he was Prime Minister, while the SP says this means the process of demolition had started in Rajiv'sera itself and it only culminated during Narasimha Rao'sregime. Oh my God! Does Rahul realise what this means? It means it was actually an active Gandhi (and his own father, to boot) who initiated the demolition of this sacred symbol of secularism.
And finally UPA ally the CPI(M) feels that there was no point in raising the ?historical? issue. Well, now, the history not only of the Ram temple issue but even of Ram himself becomes pointless if it is not open to Marxist misinterpretation. In fact in this progressive secular age this Hindu history can be ignored as ignoble itihasa. So will the latest active Gandhi devote himself to the onerous task of garnering the grain of history from the chaff of itihasa?
Talking about history and itihasa?rather, history versus itihasa?Satiricus is puzzled by one important point, and that is Jinnah'splace in that history. In fact Satiricus would not be surprised if the UPA'sofficial historian Arjun Singh is equally flummoxed. For although the CPM is of the learned opinion that the historical issue of the Ram temple is not worth bothering about, they are certainly interested in following in Jinnah'sfootsteps. In fact they are out to outdo him, as can be seen from the ?Charter of Demands for the Advancement of Muslim Community? released by the CPM.
This document is delightfully reminiscent of the Muslim League demands under Mohammed Ali Jinnah. For while Jinnah had only a 16-point charter of demands when he first confronted the Congress in 1916, the CPM has improved on Jinnah with a 23-point charter that contains concrete proposals for creating a separate Muslim constituency. And in addition to presenting the charter, the CPM also gave the advise to the UPA not to allow itself to be browbeaten or succumb to the propaganda about minority appeasement. See? Is not a Marxist a better Muslim than a Muslim? Satiricus would have said so?but apparently, believe it or not, a large number of Muslims of Pakistan, which was the creation of Jinnah, may not.
For the most influential Muslim opposition in Pakistan has refused to acknowledge, let alone honour, Jinnah as a freedom-fighter. Only the other day it declared Jinnah did not create Pakistan, injustice to Muslims in India did. So there! Are the Marxists aware that the good they are trying to do for the Muslims of India in the name of Jinnah may be not-so-good in the eyes of the anti-Jinnah Muslims of Pakistan? Why, this distinction could even develop (or degenerate) into Pak Muslims and Na-Pak Muslims. As it is, Satiricus is told that Arab Muslim do not consider Indian Muslims at all (they actually call them Hindu), and now if Pak Muslims look down upon Na-Pak Muslims for following in the footsteps of a nonentity like Jinnah, it would create a complex situation that not even the Quran may have foreseen.
For the Quran quotes Mohammed in praise of Arab Muslims, but it has nothing either on Indian Muslims or on ex-Indian Muslims. So how about suitably updating the Quran, Janab Arjun Singh?
(The writer can be contacted at D-402, Veena Sargam, Sector No. 11, Mahavir Nagar, Near Osho Hotel Dahanukar Wadi, Kandivali (West), Mumbai-400 067.)