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1. AYODHYA

1. AYODHYA

Ayodhya marks my political awakening. It is there that for the first time I came in contact with this strange phenomenon of Indian politics (which repeats itself all over the world): that what appears true, may often turn out to be false or is at best a half-truth; and that which seems false, or politically not correct, often turns out to be a truth. Journalism has to be a first-hand experience; that is, the correspondent should be able to judge what he has been asked to report � not through the prism of his atavism, set ideas and prejudices which he brings with him - but thanks to an inner intuition towards which he has constantly to aspire. Ayodhya is the perfect example of an untruth which has been taken as a universal truth by India and the whole world, because very few journalists cared to look beyond appearances.

THE SYMBOL OF AYODHYA

How many of those who have lambasted so many times the "Hindu fundamentalists" and lamented the destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque as the "death of secularism in India", have been to Ayodhya � and not Faizabad, mind you, which is Ayodhya's twin Muslim city ? When one arrived in Ayodhya before the destruction of the mosque, one was struck by the fact that it was a Hindu town "par excellence". More than Benares even, it is dotted everywhere with innumerable temples; it has all these old Hindus houses and this lovely river with its ghats which runs through the lower town. And then, forlorn on the top, there was this lone mosque with its two ugly domes, which looked so out of place and unused, that any one with a right sense -and that includes the Muslims- should have seen that it was not worth making an issue of. The destruction of the Babri Masjid still evokes such fiery reactions, that the importance of Ayodhya has been totally overlooked: Ayodhya is a symbol, through which two India�s are facing each other. And the outcome of their confrontation will shape the future of this country for generations to come.

The first India wants to be secular and unite together through an egalitarian, democratic spirit all the minorities, ethnic groups, religions and people of the country. But the question is: what would be the binding element of this kind of India? Secularism, says the first side. But secularism has a different meaning for each one. For the British, it was a convenient way to divide and rule, by treating each Indian community on par, although some were in minority and others in majority, thereby planting the seeds of separatisms. For the Congress Party, it has always meant giving in to the Muslims' demands, because on the one hand it assured itself of the Muslim vote and on the other, Congress leaders never could really make out if the allegiance of Indian Muslims first went to India and then to Islam - or vice-versa. And for India's intelligentsia, its writers, journalists, top bureaucrats, the majority of whom are Hindus, it means, apart from belittling its own religion and brothers, an India which would be a faithful copy of the West: liberal, modern, atheist, industrialized, intellectual and western-oriented.

But the question is: what makes India unique? Certainly not its small elite which apes the West; there are millions of these western clones in the developing world who wear a tie, read the New York Times and swear by liberalism and secularism to save their countries from doom. Nor its modern youth, whom you meet in Delhi's swank parties, who are full of the MTV culture, wear the latest Klein jeans and Lacoste T Shirts, and who in general are useless, fat, rich parasites, in a country which has so many talented youngsters who live in poverty. Not even its political, bureaucratic and judicial system; it's a copy of the British set- up, which is not fully adapted to India's unique character and conditions. What then?

The second India which is confronting the other through the Ayodhya issue is, of course, the India of the Hindus. When Imam Bhukari states that "we (the Mughals) gave everything to this country, its culture, its manners, its arts, and the Hindus by destroying the Babri Masjid showed how little gratitude they have", apart from making a pompous declaration, he proclaims exactly the opposite of the reality. Because the truth is that not only Hinduism is what makes India unique, so different from all the other nations of the world, but it is the single most important influence in Indian history. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, India�s Great Sage and Modern Age Avatar: "The inner principle of Hinduism, the most tolerant and receptive of all religious systems, is not sharply exclusive like the religious spirit of Christianity or Islam...it is the fulfillment of the highest tendencies of human civilisation and it will include in its sweep the most vital impulses of modern life.."

And indeed, if you look at India today, you find that Hinduism has permeated, influenced, shaped, every part of this country, every religion, every culture. Be it the Christians who are like no other Catholics of the world, or Indian Muslims, who whatever they may say, are utterly different from their brothers in Saudi Arabia. But Hinduism is too narrow a word, it's a corruption of the original word "Indu", for true Hinduism is Dharma, India's infinite and eternal spiritual knowledge, which took shape into so many varied expressions throughout the ages, be it the Vedantas, Buddhism, or the Arya Samaj and which is today still very much alive in India, particularly in its rural masses, which after all constitute 80% of its population. And the words of the great Sage still echo in our ears: "Each nation is a shakti or power of the evolving spirit in humanity and lives by the principle it embodies. India is the Bharata Shakti, the living energy of a great spiritual conception- and fidelity to it is the very principle of her existence...But we must have a firm faith that India must rise and be great and that everything that happened, every difficulty, every reverse must help and further the end..."

What one has to grasp is that the issue of Ayodhya only makes sense when the immense harm the Muslims did to India is not negated, as indeed it has been and still is today in the official History books in the West � and sadly in India also. The Muslim jehad against Hindus, alas, continues even today, whether in Kashmir, where the last Hindus were made to flee in terror, or in Bangladesh and Pakistan, where the crowds still regularly go on rampage against Hindus and their temples (as told by a Bangladeshi Muslim herself, Talisma Nasreen). It is in this light, that it becomes extraordinary for an impartial observer to see today that when for once, the Hindus wanted to displace, not even to destroy, ONE mosque and rebuild the "temple", which they believe stood in this particular place, for one of their most cherished Gods, the one which is loved universally by all, men, women, children, THEY are treated as rabid fundamentalists. The great Mughals must be laughing all the way down their graves! What a reversal of situation! What a turnabout of history! And when the mosque was destroyed, it evoked such fiery reactions, such pompous, overblown, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, atrocious, ridiculous, hypocrite and totally undeserved outrage, both within India and in the Western world (who should be the last one to give lessons to India), that the importance of Ayodhya as a symbol has been totally overlooked.

The obvious trap is to think that the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya is something to gloat about and that it is the duty of all good Hindus to see that other important mosques at Mathura, Vanarasi, or elsewhere, be also razed to the ground; or that all cities with a Muslim name be renamed with a Hindu one. This is not true Hinduism, which has always shown its tolerance and accepted in its fold other creeds and faiths. Indeed a true "Indu" India will be secular in the correct sense of the term: it will give freedom to each religion, each culture, so that it develops itself in the bosom of a Greater India, of which dharma, true spirituality, will be the cementing factor.

Nevertheless, the destruction of the Babri Masjid, however unfortunate, has made its point: the occult Mughal hold over Hindu India has been broken and centuries of Hindu submission erased. Hindus have proved that they too can fight.

 

 

THE BOMBAY BLASTS

When after centuries of having been at the receiving end, a handful of Hindus dared to destroy a mosque, however mistaken this gesture was, they were treated ruthlessly. The whole Indian media and political world went into a frenzy: 'Nazis, monsters, Hitlers'... The end of secularism, the doom of democracy, the seed of India's splitting'... Yet, the Hindu �fundamentalists� did not kill a single soul. In fact, during its long history, Hinduism has been one of the most peaceful creeds in the world, never trying to impose itself upon others, accepting the reality of different beliefs, never trying to convert and submitting itself meekly to numerous invasions.

But how come the Indian and western media kept so quiet after the Bombay blasts which were coldly and meticulously planned, killing more than 350 innocent souls, in one of the most horrifying terrorist bombings of this century? Not a word about the religion to which belong the perpetrators of this ghastly murders. Mum, silent are our wonderful intellectuals, who not so long ago raved and ranted about the threat of Hindu extremism. Our 'secular' politicians have also lost their tongue suddenly, mouthing only clichés about 'the wonderful communal spirit of Bombay'. But it's not only a conspiracy of silence, it's an attempt to deceive a whole nation. Because the facts are clear: the hand seems to be without doubt that of the Bombay underworld, whose majority is Muslim (who will ever explain to me why most of the smugglers in India are Muslims? Is It because their religion teaches them that there is nothing wrong in cheating a government which is non-Muslim, even though it is their own?) But the amount of explosives and the meticulous character of the operation show also the hand of the Pakistanis. After all, they're also Muslims and since they lost Bangladesh through (they think) the conniving of India, they are in a hurry to take their revenge: Kashmir and Punjab are part of their plan to get back at India.

Yet, there is something incomplete there, something which can't help nagging you, as if you've missed something. For the Memon brothers should have fled straightway to Pakistan. But they did not. First they went to Dubai, then to Jeddah. And even though India did not request a formal extradition, word was quickly known, thanks to the loud mouth of Bombay police chief Samra, where the prime suspects of the Bombay bombings were hinding. And there was no way the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE could not have been aware of this, because their police are good, if not totalitarian: they must have known when the Memons entered the country and exactly where they were staying. It would have been a simple matter to stop them from leaving both the countries till an extradition was asked for. Yet they chose to let the Memons go and now the brothers have gone into hiding in Pakistan and India will probably never see them again and solve the mystery of the Bombay blasts. Why did Dubai and Jeddah let them go?

One has to understand the Arab psyche: By destroying the Ayodhya mosque, it is the whole Muslim world which secretly has felt insulted and humiliated. Furthermore, none of the Gulf countries have forgotten India's support to Iraq during the Gulf War. Is it possible then that it was decided to teach India a lesson? That Pakistan and 'some' other Muslim countries funded and planned, or at least knew in advance of the bombing attempts, of which Bombay was supposed to be only the first of a series? Is this a warning of the Muslim world to Hindu India? But who are the fundamentalists? Who are the murderers?

Who are the Nazis? And what does the Congress do when its people are murdered, when the nation is threatened and all hands point an accusatory finger towards Muslim fundamentalists in India, killing their own brothers, with the obvious help of other Muslims from abroad? It keeps trying to throttle down the RSS, the VHP and the BJP, which have not bombed anybody and does not bother acting immediately upon the pointers India's intelligence agencies quickly gave them. Why did not the Indian government ask the United States to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan to hold the Memon brothers? The USA would have probably complied: it just suffered a similar ghastly bombing and is thus sympathetic to India's woes.

India looks today like a humbled fool. It was kicked nicely in the 'arse' and all the world heard was a few worn-out statements about communal harmony and the usual 'foreign hand'. It is one thing to shoot unarmed kar-sevaks in Ayodhya, it is one thing to call its own religion, which is one of the greatest, most gentle, most tolerant creeds, the last living spiritualised religion in the world, �fundamental and rabid�; it is another thing to have the guts to call a spade a spade and stand up to an occult menace to one's own country: a covert attempt by universal Muslim fundamentalism to implode India and finish it once for all.

Are Hindus cowards then? Are they forever going to take things lying down? Have centuries of Muslim conquests, rape, looting, forced conversion, razing of thousands of temples, imprinted so much on India's psyche, that they can only endlessly produce Vijay Amritraj�s: talented, nice, but unable to fight, to win, to defeat the opponent?

But India has to stand up now. Its very existence is threatened: There are forces which are actively working to disintegrate her. The fact that these forces happen to be Muslim, does not mean that they cannot be fought. Whoever taught India to always appease Muslims, whatever wrong they did, however much they demanded, even if it means the breaking up of India? Who instilled this terrible unconscious fear in Indians that Muslims should never be antagonised? Is it because there are 110 millions of them here ? But the Hindus are 800 million, theirs is an ancient culture which has been capable of sustaining numerous invasions, colonisations, blows, pitfalls. Theirs is one of the oldest and most wonderful civilisations of the world.

COME ON INDIA: Don't listen to your intellectuals and your so-called secular politicians. If you do, they will lead you to doom, hasten the process of breaking up this wonderful country which once stretched from Cape Comorin to the Afghan frontiers. Or else they will make it into a faithful westernised copy.

COME ON INDIA: Stand up and fight. There is no question of throwing out 110 million Muslims out of your country. They are part of your culture and your soul: They are only another element of the wonderful mosaic of Indian culture: They only have to be told clearly that their first loyalty is to India and then to Islam. And not vice versa. What is needed now is a firm hand, which has a clear vision of India's inner potential and past greatness and not coteries of politicians who are more interested in preserving their perks, than protecting their own country against a dangerous, concerted attack.

COME ON INDIA: Stand up now, show the world your inner strength and resolve, use your dharma, draw force from the millions of tapasyas performed by your yogis, the courageous hearts of your women and the simple prayers of your people. Come on India, stand up and fight for the truth.

 

WHY AYODHYA ?

AYODHYA, as we have seen earlier, is not a haphazard, crazy, meaningless event. It is a symbol through which two conceptions of India are facing each other, and the outcome of this confrontation will shape this country's future for generations to come. Ayodhya is also a sign of the pressure put upon India to remain faithful to her soul, to retain the essential of Dharma, true Hinduism; to avoid falling in the trap of total Westernization, which has already stifled so many collective souls in the developing world. Bombay, although it is an emblem of all that is efficient and cosmopolitan in this country, is also a symbol of all that is wrong: immense gap between the few very rich and the many extremely poor; slums, Bangladeshi immigrants� infiltration, apparent irreversible westernization at the expense of India's own inner genius; pollution and overpopulation. Thus, if Bombay burned, it is to be hoped that it did not burn in vain and that it will have learnt its lessons.

 

The consequences of Ayodhya are thus far-reaching and they have shaken this nation to the core, as the riots in Bombay have shown. But it is not over: the Congress is still quavering from the Ayodhya tremors, trying to realign itself between the secular hard-liners on one hand and those who advocate a more pro-Hindu stance on the other. And the BJP, thanks to the bungling of the Rao government, is now on the upswing and could very well be on the road to power. But instead of lamenting on the "death of secularism in India", the "mortal blow to our democracy", or "the shame of Bombay", as most intellectuals, politicians and the media have done recently, it would be more fruitful to do some honest, serious introspection, and see what the whole thing leads to. Because, ultimately, the Force of Evolution, whether individual or collective, always gives through events a hint of things to come, or points a finger at what is wrong in a particular set of circumstances. What are the roots of Ayodhya then? What is the core problem that led to the explosion? WHY AYODHYA?

To put the problem in its barest equation - and it is always good to come back to the obvious - the Ayodhya confrontation is between a mosque, emblem of the Islamic faith, and a temple, symbol of the Hindu religion. So, ultimately, it has to do between the Muslim-Hindu divide. This we all know. But what is the root of this divide?

The Muslim conquest in India started in the 7th century AD, and in the words of Sri Aurobindo "It took place at a time when the vitality of ancient Indian life and culture after 2,000 years of activity and creation was already exhausted or very near exhaustion and needed a breathing space to rejuvenate itself." Although Sri Aurobindo felt that "the vast mass of the Muslims in this country were and are Indians by race", he adds, "the real problem introduced by the Muslim conquest is the struggle between two civilisations, one ancient and indigenous, the other medieval and brought in from outside... That which has rendered the problem indissoluble is the attachment of each to a powerful religion, the one militant and aggressive, the other spiritually tolerant and flexible"... Sri Aurobindo thus always felt that the increasing antagonism between Hindus and Muslims was a game the Britishers played to divide India so as to rule her better: "...Then came the British empire In India which recast the whole country into artificial provinces made for its own convenience. British rule did not unite these people, but on the contrary, India was deliberately split on the basis of the two-nation theory into future Pakistan and Hindustan."

Ah, we are coming to Pakistan, at last. Because, after all, is not Pakistan, a million more times than Ayodhya, the symbol of the great Hindu-Muslim divide? Pakistanis seem to lose all common sense, when the subject of Ayodhya arises, or when it comes to Hinduism. It is because Pakistan is intimately linked to religion? Is it because Islam teaches that only its creed is true, that all other religions are practiced by infidels and that it is the duty of all good Muslims to convert, even by force - something which is then absolved by the Prophet. THUS THE PROBLEM OF AYODHYA MAY HAVE TO DO WITH ISLAM, NOT WITH MUSLIMS; WITH THEIR RELIGION - NOT WITH THE PAKISTANIS.

Pakistan has never accepted the existence of a Hindu dominated India. Even the sophisticated Benazir Bhutto said, "Pakistan and India were never one country. They were only kept together by force, whether by Moghul or British rule". And indeed her answer is very symbolic of the flaw in Pakistan, because the problem of Pakistan with India is not a problem of Pakistanis against Indians, but a problem of Islam versus Hinduism. Hindus have recognised the reality of Islam, but alas, the opposite is not true. The hundreds of thousand of temples razed to the ground and the millions of Hindus ruthlessly slain by Muslim conquerors, are not only an historical evidence (however much it is denied by the so-called secularists), but a surviving reality today: its traumas have left in its wake terror and cowardice in the Hindu psyche; and a feeling of superiority in the Muslim soul.

The atomic bomb, on which Pakistan is actively working, is the direct inheritor of Babar who destroyed Ayodhya, the modern equivalent of yesterday's Tippu's sword or Aurangzeb's scimitar. It is not so much, as Benazir says, "a deterrent against India's military conventional superiority or an answer to India's own nuclear capability", but the ultimate weapon which will have the force of a million Bombay blasts and will wipe for ever the affront of Ayodhya.