Babri Masjid Issue

Extremism can again mar national unity over Babri

The sorry state of affairs involving Babri mosque was on account of extremism. To grab power the BJP, which came in existence in 1980, chose extremism in their agenda and revived the movement for Ram temple at Ayodhya. This residual tendency was the result of the hardcore element of the erstwhile Jan Sangh reasserting their allegiance to RSS and not making any amends with their coalition experience of the late 70s.

The most extremist among hosts of the leaders was the Pakistan-born LK Advani whose rath-yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya was the bloodiest aspect of the extremists and the havoc let loose by them. Since then a change of sorts is visible. It could be seen in Advani's visit to Somnath on September 25, 2010. He cut a sorry figure shorn of the mammoth crowd and loud sloganeering of the earlier days. Extremism has been depleted if not totally vanished from the scene.

There is no Nawab of Awadh among the BJP/Congress leaders who can stop the situation getting worse by establishing truth and going according to it strictly. Wajid Ali Shah did that in the matter of Hanumangarhi cluster of temples in 1855 when the commission he had set up found that no mosque existed there. The Babri Masjid is a different story as the Muslims had prayed there till late night Isha namaz on December 22, 1949. In the midnight of that fateful day some Hindus installed a statue of Ram in the mosque and soon started praying there despite PM Nehru and CM Pant of UP asking the collector to stop it. The collector did not execute their bidding; he even acquired the Waqf property around the mosque and prevented Muslims from reaching the mosque. He was subsequently elected to Parliament as a Jan Sangh candidate.

It is true that Nehru and Pant were not extremists but they failed to enforce what the Nawab did so well. And he was moderate. The extremists on December 6, 1992 finally demolished the mosque. Advani and his associates celebrated their extremist action by patting each other, congratulating each other and sharing sweets for their deed. This gave birth to extremism of the other sort, terrorism. It was one thing to have communal clashes over certain issues but using bombs to kill deliberately according to a conspiracy is the hallmark of this extremism and its reaction.

Chance of pausing for sanity was snatched away long back when the extremist adherents of the temple made it clear that "There could be no place for another mosque in Ayodhya even outside the disputed place."