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Gyanvapi Row : The Political Heat Is Difficult To Douse

by Rinku Khumukcham
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As a nation, India is at the crossroads of its past karmas and their inevitable consequences. The wrong of the past which remained fossilized for centuries is being pulled out of the cave of memory. It is indeed a reality that the truth of the ‘past’, however deep it is deliberately hidden, would come out and pass a cynically irritable grin on the ‘present’, seeking reasons for its incapability to address the ruthlessness with which it was buried. Something like the same is evidently visible in the case of Gyanvapi. Today, the gyan (knowledge), emanating from the Gyanvapi of the ancient city of Banaras, is truly exhilarating to some people in the political spectrum. They don’t have to dawdle in search of issues that they can put fuel on for electoral gains. Issues of their taste are plenty and waiting for the apt moment to surface in bubbles and turn into whirlpools. Of course, for the BJP, the political climate in India gives it a free package of benefits. And it knows to which direction the mat of the mast would turn. But for the Congress, bad times never end. With Kapil Sibal making his exit, stretching the line of dissenters escaping the sinking ship, the party once again got entangled in a hotchpotch of issues making the intellectual churning that went on to dehypnotise it at Udaipur, futile. And BJP for all the reasons has the last laugh. The discovery of the Linga (phallic symbol) in the controversial mosque complex would probably give the party a nudge to what it aims for the 2024 general elections. The Ram temple in Ayodhya would also be ready by then, and the opposition parties must be aware of the blessings that the BJP is destined to tap from the ‘divinity’. It is sure that the issue is catching heat and the Hindus for no reason would be in a mood to sit silent but interestingly, except BJP, no political party seems to be gaining a coin out of it.
It is disturbing for a believer of Lord Shiva to have him concealed in a well, probably in an ablution tank. This indeed has the power to rake up anger despite the opposite side justifying, calling it a fountain. This may be the beginning of a judicial process, which may as usual, go for decades, before the judiciary spells out its final word. Starting from Somnath to Ayodhya, the resurrection of ancient Hindu monuments has often taken the political climate in the country into an unpredictable turn. Babri, for that matter, was the one that the BJP gained little political relevance and the name of Lord Ram did the magic consequently, making the party rise to become the ruling brigade in the country. The medieval history of India is a wholesome approval for the unapologetically horrendous brutality with which the cultural mansions in the country were pulled down. Numerous worship places of the Hindus were toppled and buried and the sentiments are high when someone sees his deity being thrown in an ablution tank. This is potentially capable of raking rage among the non-political elite in the country too.  To identify the structure found in the well is the job of the court as part of its judicial process and to pacify the volatility in the air. But we need to appreciate the silence and contentment with which the entire issue is so far being debated and brought under judicial surveillance.  The Gyanvapi seems to have the energy to fly beyond the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which demands the preservation of all shrines as inherited by independent India. It seems this issue needs no force from any political party to catch fire. The common man, with much of his spiritual inclination, gets pained to see the discovery of the debris of the cultural monuments, from under the worship places occupied by a different religion and it gives enough reason for him to dig out the truth. A person, with an ardent respect for his ancestors and their cultural architectural eloquence would raise his eyebrows on what he calls a remnant of brutality.
Now, it is not only a subject of politics that it would be criticized as, but also an issue that a huge lot of people would be genuinely seeking to solve. The demolition of the temple of Gyanvapi by Aurangzeb in 1669 and the remnants of it including the shivling and the remorseful Nandi, the bull, would impact the course of Indian politics. This should indeed be seen along with the arrogance with which the temples are captured by governments across the country while worship places of minorities are free to run by those communities. Temples administered by local devotees in various parts of Kerala were forcefully captured by the state government recently with an evil intent to seize the revenue that such temples make. Despite the opposition ranging from all sections of the believers, the state government was audacious to break into selected temples and forcefully bring them under its control. But most of the national media remained silent on what they think is genuine with the majority in a secular democratic republic. The historical wrong by the invaders is deliberately painted to be excusable by the liberals at the present context, but nobody, not even the intellectuals, did raise their voice against the arrogant administrative invasion of Hindu temples by the governments. Imagine an attempt of the same type being carried out on any minority community in India. The discontent and unrest and the secular liberal hubbub would be heard beyond the boundaries of the country.
India, which is a 5000 year old civilization, is measuring its own elements of culture by the tools of constitution that it has framed hastily, to douse questions on the destruction of its civilisational identity. Those who try to justify their stand against the demand made by the Hindus are gleefully hiding behind the Places of Worship Act today; while forcing the government to enact the efficacy of the act. They were bad-mouthing against the government when it acted on the triple talaq and many other issues that haunted societies.  They praise the law of the land when it suits them and denounce it when it does not. The Hindus had to fight a long legal battle to get their holiest worship place Ayodhya back which they believe is the birthplace of Lord Ram. I think cries for other disputed cites couldn’t have been louder as it is today, if the Muslim community was generous enough to let the Ayodhya dispute settle outside the court, amicably permitting the Hindu side to build a temple on their holy site. Lengthy is the judicial process in the country but the confidence it gives to the parties to take the disputes to the judiciary is remarkable. And Muslims, with no intention to stop their claim on important spiritual places dedicated to the major deities of Hindus in Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi; are determined to keep the political heat at its flashpoint. They should have been altruistic, allowing the Hindus to worship in these disputed places, which they believe are sacred to them. In such a situation, animosity between both the communities is sure to decrease and a good signal for India as it aspires to be a global power. If not, the ‘truth’ of the past would be thrown out of the dungeons of notoriety by the power of time and it would keep shrieking at the world for deliverance again and again.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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