While the holy city of Kashi reverberated with cries of “Baba Mil Gaye” earlier in May, political galleries and sects also desperately moved for armament against the country’s demographic majority and the ruling party. Blows after blows were dealt not just in the form of debates on motivated media platforms but also in the form of political digression, memes that were evidently hurtful to the religious sentiments of a community and hateful, directed comments that came from all strata of the society.
One of the most recent attacks on the Hindu community of the Nation was rendered by a Member of the Indian Parliament, mostly famous for all things foreign like his speech at the oxford and his command over a particular language. Shashi Tharoor, in an Op-ed titled “‘This time, Muslims of India will resist’: Shashi Tharoor on Varanasi” published in The Week on 22nd May, reveals his own biases and, to a keen reader, explains how false narratives are built and sections of society instigated through content and the art of wordplay.
He starts by drawing parallels between the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya and The Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, or as he calls it, “the Gyanvapi Controversy”, on the grounds of them being radical demands for the reconstruction of certain temples. In stating this, he magnifies the reaction without taking into account the action. He highlights the assertion while turning a blind eye to the reason. The reason-targeted destruction of most revered Hindu temples by the Mughals.
Multiple times in this Op-ed, Tharoor mentions history and blames what he calls Hindutva nationalists for merging it with politics, but at the same time, he subtly yet strongly asks the Hindu populace to forget the horrors their ancestors suffered in the said history. His op-ed almost feels like a severely insulting reprimand for remembering our identity, gods, places of worship, and history.
Also, while writing about the history that he believes to be true, he adopts a condescending tone towards those seeking justice, denying them the idea of fairness and propelling them to “let it go”. To reiterate this, the op-ed unabashedly views the Ram Janmabhoomi temple not as a sacred place of worship but as a consolation given to the Hindu community so that they do not, as he claims, ‘reinvent’ history and ‘revere’ the past despite it being filled with atrocities against the Hindus, despite our religious sentiment, despite the presence of archaeological and documented proofs, and despite the evidence of its tampering.
It is fascinating that Tharoor firmly puts forth his assumptions of
“delegitimisation” of Indian Muslims (a fabricated narrative crafted to suit the opposition) and conveniently uses the word “alleged” for the destruction of temples by the Mughals (the documented proof of which is accessible in the Rajasthan State Archives). This wordplay by an alleged master orator, in one small sentence, links the Muslim citizens of Present-day Bharat to the Mughal invaders of Medieval Bharat- putting in motion the idea that for the advocates of the Gyanvapi Mandir, the issue is a Hindu v. Muslim and not invaders v. Sanatanis as it really is. In doing so, Tharoor, who throughout the op-ed was pushing for the Hindu community to settle for what they have now, to let the past go and compares them to “sharks who have drawn first blood” for not forgetting their history, suddenly reminds the Muslim Minority of the Babri’s demolition. He compares the religious sentiments of both Hindus and Muslims and seems dejected that the Supreme Court did not view the minority’s
religious sentiment as superior to that of the majority. He seems disheartened that in an unprecedented turn of events, the country’s Judicial System today has started listening to the Hindus. This is probably against the “secular” ideals that he and those like him hold dear because their psyche was trained in the art of minority appeasement.
Even if the banter is put aside, it is horrifying how a political leader continues in his op-ed on a linear trajectory of the Babri’s disputed structure. He goes on to fill the minority’s mind with communal poison and forgets or avoids mentioning the fallen civilian volunteers like Setharam Mali, Ramesh Kumar, Mahavir Prasad, Ramesh Pandey, Sanjay Kumar, Professor Mahendranath Arora and many more who faced the authoritarian bullets of the Mulayam Singh Government in 1990 for the sake of the Ram Janmabhoomi. He mentions Babri to foment Muslims against the Nation but never mentions the historical atrocities that the Hindus suffered, the political suppression they faced for making a demand and the prolonged pain they feel when they see a Nandi facing an alleged Mosque. What he does mention, though, after having crossed lines of mutual respect and decency, is a number of abuses towards the Hindu community that include words like ‘zealot’ and ‘fanatic’. Maybe one indeed has to be a fanatic to die for a temple.
What started as an innocent plea for the determination of the truth has been instituted by the opposition as an attack on the Muslim minority- conditioning them to believe their constructed narrative, act and present their case according to it, and view the Hindu community with distrust. The subhead of the Op-ed says, “Marginalisation of Muslims from the national narrative continues”, while the heading reads “This time, Muslims of India will resist”. These two form a toxic combination of instigating an ever-ready section of Bharat’s Muslim Minority to create chaos even through the means of violence. These words and the lack of responsibility on the part of Mr Tharoor instil in a concerned citizen certain fear- of WHAT will the Muslims resist and most importantly, HOW will they resist it because Tharoor’s words subtly state, “go create a ruckus, I as an MP support your hooliganism, because people like me reap political benefit from your actions.” This op-ed is not about the Marginalization of the Muslims, it is about their crafted separation, their provocation and incitement.