Dr Jay Dubashi
As I said in my last article, the three years from 1989 to 1991 were historic, in every sense of the word. The Berlin Wall, a hated symbol of Soviet rule in Easter Europe, came down in a shower of bricks on 9th November 1989, which incidentally signaled a revolt in Communist China culminating in the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Less then two years later, on 24th August 1991, the Bolshevik era collapsed in Soviet Russia and with it the last vestiges of the equally hated Soviet empire. And, sixteen months later, on 6th December 1992, the disputed structure came down – or was pulled down, it you wish to put it that way, in a heap of mud and bricks, marking the final extinction of the Moghul or Muslim hegemony in India. It is too good to be true.
But I am not finished with the mosque yet. That year, I was invited to a seminar to be held by the British foreign office in a place about fifty miles from London. The seminar, a seven-day affair, was on some arcane topic called foreign investment, arcane because investment was the year. But westerners are apparently very keen on foreign investment, since, faced with on industrial slump in their own countries, they have to find outlets for their surplus cash that goes on accumulating in hide-outs outside their countries. And what better outlets than India and other countries in Asia?
I had no interest in such jamborees, as, with so much happening at home, we simply had no time for anything else, particularly the preoccupations of western countries – which means foreign or multinational companies – with their financial problems. But I thought I would use the opportunity to acquaint Western audiences, and particularly their governments about Ayodhya, a word some of them could not even pronounce, and about which there was a great deal of misunderstanding, some of which was created by our own secular fraternity, which had always tried to be on the right side of their Western friends, particularly in Britain. Britain has always maintained a proprietary interest in India, particularly the Muslims in India, towards whom they have always felt a little guilty, since they had displaced them in 1857, and who, they felt were the last rulers of India from whom they had grabbed power, after packing off the last Moghul emperor, or king of Delhi, to Burma. The British have always maintained, not openly though, that they had grabbed power from the Muslims, not Hindus, and have always had a soft corner for them, that is, Muslims. For them, a Hindu nationalist party like the Jana Sangh, or later, Bhartiya Janata Party, was something of a anachronism, and not quite a legitimate affair.
I was in England at the time of India’s partition, and I could see that the British were less than happy at transferring power, as it was always called, to Hindus. I have always had a feeling that the British would have been much happier transferring power to Muslims, rather than Hindus, though the former constituted only a quarter of the total population, probably less. According to them, Hindus were interlopers, who, in any case, had not enjoyed power in India for well over a thousand years, and which is why, they treated Hindu political leaders, from Lokmanya Tilak to Swatantryavir Savarkar most cruelly, banishing Tilak to Burma for six years for a mere editorial in a paper which barely reached a fraction of the population, and sentencing Savarkar to life imprisonment in a savage place like the Andamans. Not a single Muslim leader received the kind of treatment Hindus received, a man like Jinnah being treated like an honoured guest who spent years in London as a special emissary of Muslims and who was looked after with great care by the government, and later dispatched back to India to canvass for Pakistan, with the full support of India office in London.
And let us not forget that the British handed over a big chunk of India to Muslims, as a parting gift, before leaving.
They – I mean, the British – had no idea that the demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya was merely the completion of the work the British had left undone, and it was only the start of much bigger things to come. The British had left a huge Muslim population behind, which would carry on the unfulfilled task the British had left undone. They had to be told, so I felt, that the British, and along with them, the rest of the west, that the Hindus would not allow further division of India, on one pretext or another, and were determind to undo the Islamic vestiges left behind by those responsible for partition.
The seminar was supposed to be on investment, and there were stupid people like P Chidambaram, who was also one of the participants, but it was soon apparent that you could not discuss India, or anything concerning India, without discussing the role of Hindu nationalists in the scheme of things. The seminar was held in 1993 (March 1993), barely two or three months after the fall of the mosque and the event had created echoes world wide, on the same scale as the fall of the Berlin Wall. Chidambaram, an obedient servant of the West, went on talking of foreign investment as the only factor that would ultimately make a difference between failure and success in India, to which I took strong objection. I remember I made a point, again and again whenever I had an opportunity, to indicate that Chidambaram spoke for nobody except himself and maybe his master who also represented the West rather than India, and the two simply did not represent India. India meant Hindus, and the Hindus disown the likes of Chidambarams. I did not put it in so many words – we were after all guests of a foreign country and did not wish to carry our fight to foreign shores, but I made it quite clear that foreign investment could at the most supplement our own efforts, not supplant them, and India’s progress would be determined by the effort of Indians, and not the efforts of foreigners, certainly not those of western institutions like World Bank and IMF.
This was a totally different approach than taken by the servile, secular crowd like Chidambaram & Co. who were bending over backwards to please the west, and its representatives in India. Hindu nationalists did not bend before anyone, for there was no need to. A billion – strong Indians would generate their own capital, their own technology and their own manpower. That, I insisted, was the meaning of Ayodhya.
(This is the fourth article in a series on the Ayodhya Movement.)