December 6, 1992 was the most glorious day in our recent history. Those who say it was the saddest or blackest day in their lives-or some such superlatives-have no right to call themselves Hindus and should purchase one-way ticket to Kabul where Babar’s body lies, untended uncared for and unsung. See how the Afghans treat a foreigner like Babar-with unconcealed contempt, as foreigners are treated everywhere. But in India, the pseudo-secularists, now joined by pseudo-Hindus have elevated him to an icon, and are shedding copious tears now that his so-called mosque is reduced to a rubble.
I have nothing against Babar except that he was a foreign marauder, and I detest foreign marauders in our country. This is why Chhatrapati Shivaji fought against Aurangzeb, a foreign Moghul, and Lokmanya Tilak fought against the Britishers. The fact that Aurangzeb was a Muslim, and a die-hard Muslim at that, or the British were Christians and were sent here by Queen Elizabeth, head of the Church of England, has nothing to do with it. India has a long tradition of fighting against foreign invaders or would-be invaders and their symbols, and the demolition of the so-called Babri mosque is part of that glorious tradition.
Aurangzeb and Shivaji were political persons and they fought political battles. Shivaji had hundreds of Muslims in his employ and Aurangzeb had thousands of Hindus fighting for him, including Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur who was one of his prominent generals. Religion did not come in the way of their fighting for their masters. The battles were political, just as the Great War of Independence in 1857 was essentially political in nature. It would be ridiculous to reduce the long drawn out battles between Aurangzeb and Shivaji to more religious struggles. What was at stake was the future of India as a free country, nothing less.
What Chhatrapati Shivaji started in the 17th Century was carried forward by the great Lokmanya Tilak in the 20th Century. He was fighting against the British not because they were Christens, but because they were foreigners. By the same logic, the demolition of the Babri mosque was part of the struggle against the Moghuls, not because they were Muslims, but because they were foreign conquerors. It was part of a political struggle, not a religious dispute, and those who are giving it a religious twist-the so-called secularists-are the real communalists, who see religion in everything, including where it does not exist. The real secularists are Chhatrapati Shivaji, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Tatya Tope and, now those who brought down the Babri mosque and have banished it for ever from this land.
One should pity the people who say that the mosque was brought down because it was a Muslim edifice. This is just not true. First, it was not really a mosque. The pious Muslims had stopped going there. There was a functioning temple on the spot, whose doors had been opened by a Nehru, not by a BJP chief minister. But why should a temple be under the shadow of a mosque. You can go on arguing till Kingdom come, but now that the so-called mosque is not there, the way is clear for a magnificent temple to be built on the hallowed site, the site where Lord Ram was born and cast his benign eyes on this sacred land.
A few weeks after the mosque came down, I happened to be in London and was interviewed by the BBC on its new programme.
“Why did you bring down the mosque?” I was asked by a greatly agitated lady, as if I had personally brought it down with chisel and hammer.
I told the lady that she or her compatriots would have brought it down, had someone had the temerity to put up a mosque right in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
Assume, for the sake of the argument, I told the lady, that Adolf Hitler, who was planning to invade England during World War-II, had actually done so, and had captured London in a sweep from Dover. He would naturally hold a parade in Whitehall, right next to Downing Street, and order the removal of Nelson’s statue from the huge column in Trafalgar Square. And who does he replace it with? Why, himself, of course.
So, you would have a statue of Hitler right on top of the Trafalgar column, with his hands raised in the Hitler fashion, looking towards the Parliament House, which almost certainly be closed down.
“That would have been terrible,” said the flabbergasted BBC lady.
“It would indeed,” I said, “but wait a minute.” Hitler would not last too long in England or London. He would have to beat a retreat sooner or later and would flee back to Berlin, or maybe commit suicide right in Trafalgar Square.
“Would you let the Hitler statue remain their?” I asked.
“Certainly not”, said the young lady, adding that they would put up Nelson’s statue again.
This is precisely what we did or tried to do. We tried to remove the mosque, a symbol of foreign rule, and to have it replaced with a temple. This is what everyone has been doing down the ages. The fact that it was a mosque or a nelson column does not matter.
I simply do not understand why the Liberhan Commission should have taken seventeen long years to do something that a schoolboy would have done in seventeen weeks. After all, it happened right there on the TV in full sight of everyone who had a set and was not too sleepy to watch. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was actually a little sleepy after a heavy lunch. I did not got to Ayodhya because I was asked to hold the fort in Delhi. Also, we had no idea that something like that was afoot.
Right in the middle of my afternoon snooze, I was rudely awakened by my wife and told that some people were trying to climb the domes in Ayodhya and there was quite a scramble near the mosque. You could actually see them clearly as TV. There they were, young boys-but no girls-with saffron kerchiefs round their heads and ropes in hand clambering up the domes by now punctured with holes, just like people punching holes in the Berlin Wall three years earlier. All these events came together in a series of historic events: first, the Berlin Wall, then the Soviet Union itself and a year later, the mosque in Ayodhya. Glory, indeed!
I watched, fascinated, at history being made right before my eyes. I had written so much about Ayodhya in my columns that I had no idea somebody would actually carry out what I hoped someone would really do. Ayodhya happened because everybody wanted it to happen, just as the Berlin Wall came down because everybody-including communists-wanted it to come down. I could see some BJP and other leaders crying hoarse though I couldn’t make out whether they were trying to stop the boys or egging them on. It was all very Chaotic, but history is always chaotic, for that is what history is.
But whatever happened should not be given a religious or communal colour. It was a political act, just as the fall of the Berlin Wall was a political act. All this talk about pseudo-moderates is bunkum. The Liberhan Commission could have watched the TV footage and done its job in three or four months flat. Why did it take seventeen years or 6000 days? That itself is a subject for a PhD, though I do not give it too much importance.
The BBC lady asked me if I felt sorry for what had happened. Would you be sorry, I asked, if Hitler’s statue had been pulled down? There was no answer. But this was after she had finished the interview and we were having coffee-in her office.