By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Faizabad burnt horribly on the Dusshera day when crowd attacked many places of Muslims including some of the mosques too because of a rumor of the theft of idols from Devkali temple by the Muslim miscreants. It turned out later that the idols were actually stolen by the Hindus themselves but then by the time the truth was found out, the hate mongers had succeeded in their agenda and completely torn the peace of town which has seen many worst cases in history and yet remained symbol of multicultural fabric of India. It is more than shocking because the state of Uttar-Pradesh is under Samajwadi Party which claims loudly and shouting that it is the sole protector of Muslims in the country. Mulayam Singh Yadav, in the 1990s, would travel across the state and assure Muslims that as long as he is there ‘babari masjid ko parinda bhee nahee chhoo sakata’. Unfortunately, after March 2012 when Akhilesh Yadav took over as chief minister of the state, his government has failed to stop the communal disturbances in the state which had become a thing of past.
It has been over two decade after the demolition of Babari mosque that Uttar-Pradesh is witnessing communal tensions at different places and the latest in the series was Faizabad which remained quiet and calm even during those heydays when the rest of India was burning in the fire of Ayodhya. The twin cities of Avadh actually sealed the fate of two national parties in the state and the result is that both BJP and Congress are mere spectators on the sidelines. However, both of them also know it well that road to Race course has to go via Lucknow and hence efforts to create space. Therefore, despite all the hangama over the corruption issue, the BJP has found that it is now hounding the ‘party with a difference’ with Nitin Gadakari himself on the trouble and the party is unable to recover from the jolt. Hence, it reverts to regressive agenda of Hindutva which is actually the only agenda it has gained ‘expertise.’
Now, the political situation in Uttar-Pradesh is an unambiguous power struggle between the Dalits and the Other Backward Communities and for all political purposes it is basically a power struggle between Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav. It is also a well-known fact that a massive OBC population is still too religious as no efforts have been made to ‘enlighten’ them of the dangers of Hindutva and hence the chanting of ‘ram mandir’ is again in the air. It is not for nothing that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat raised the issue on the Vijayadashmi day in Nagpur and afterwards various political leaders of BJP started singing the same song. With Himachal elections on the way and Narendra Modi campaigning for his party there while the president Nitin Gadakari remained an unwanted person, things in the party are getting clearer. Now, the Bihar BJP has also started slogan of Narendra Modi as future prime ministerial candidate while systematically, Kalyan Singh, the former chief minister of the state, in a press conference ‘owned’ the demolition of Babari Masjid. He said, he would be dying a satisfying death once a huge Ram Temple is built in Ayodhya. That is the desire of Kalyan Singh as well as many like him such as Uma Bharati. All these people are now placed in Uttar-Pradesh and Kalyan Singh is returning to the party.
In this background, if we see the revivalism of Hindutva agenda in Uttar-Pradesh then we should not remain in doubt that the more the agenda is revived, the bigger the benefit for Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav as he emerges the sole champion of ‘secularism’ and absolute ‘guarantee’ of ‘protection’ of Muslims in Uttar-Pradesh.
There is no denial of fact that the growing assertion of Dalits and backward communities halted the Hindutva agenda in Uttar-Pradesh. Their relations with Muslims and that too with Pasmanda Muslims have made a rainbow political constitution in Uttar-Pradesh where the most marginalized social forces are plunging into politics and asking for their share in power. The Hindutva’s agenda was therefore successfully subsided to the growing caste identities in Uttar-Pradesh. A politician like Kalyan Singh or Uma Bharati would never be useful for the party if they were not coming from the backward communities. That is the irony that while a majority of Dalits are quite assertive and culturally challenging the brahmanical notions, the backward caste remain isolated culturally and totally subjugated to Hindu cultural ethos. That has resulted in their being used by the Hindu elite in violence against Dalits.
This anti Dalit mindsets from the powerful OBCs were strengthened further with Samajwadi Party came to power. The fact is that Dalits and lower OBCs have lot in common but the upper OBCs being land owning community has not really accepted the importance of agrarian and land reform. The caste hierarchy and Hindu caste system dominate their minds most of the time resulting in violence against the Dalits. They felt that once all the anti-Dalit forces are united, it would be easier for Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav to pursue his goal to Delhi. That is one reason that while the state government continues to behave in the same way while raising the issues of Muslims. If the trend in Uttar-Pradesh have anything it is clear that Mulayam Singh and his team want Uttar-Pradesh in the pre-1990 stage where BJP was deliberately trying to consolidate the Hindu votes while Mulayam Singh Yadav became champion of Muslims and secular votes in the state.
Faizabad and Ayodhya are two places which are symbol of strong cultural affinity between different communities. It is also a fact that a majority of the people are not much interested in the Dalit issues and Buddhists explains how various temples of Ayodhya are basically Buddhist ones and converted into the Hindu temples. During the Babari demolition in 1992, many historical mosques and Dargahs in Ayodhya were attacked by the Hindutva lunatics. These places are continuously on their agenda even today and hence whenever opportunity comes they strike at those places. We should not assume that violence against Muslims or the places of historical importance on the target by those who instigated violence.
The General elections are due in 2014 but the political parties are up in preparation right now. Tragically, people continue to look for alternative among those who have failed them. Those of us who have followed up the communal violence in the country know very well about the pattern in these cases. They are not just communal but based on high voltage rumor machinery of communal minds. Even the issues of two individuals if they happen to belong to different religion is easily converted into the issue between the two communities and giving ample space to such regressive forces to spread and promote their vicious political agenda.
There is a strong need to revisit the Communal Violence Bill. Unfortunately, in the din when Parliament does not function, a bill has not seen the day. The BJP has opposed it because it harms the party and makes the vulnerable for spreading violence. Yet, it would be good for UP government to act hard, strengthen the bureaucracy and make them accountable for their act. More political interventions in bureaucracy will only communalize their minds and result in their failure to address the issue on time.
In the meanwhile, the state government must act fast and take action against all those who instigated violence in Faizabad. It is clear that the HIndutva agenda is clearly working various dimensions. We have seen how they hoisted Pakistani flag in Manglore and then spread the rumor that the Muslims have done so. It has come out clearly how the theft of idols from Devkali temple in Ayodhya was the work of Hindus only and why this was made an issue to convert it against Muslims. It is clear that such mastery of the Sangh Parivar in trying to instigate communal discord can only be countered if our administration and police are allowed to work independently and state government follow the ‘rajdharma’ whose duty is to protect the citizens of the state irrespective of their caste and religion. If the state government does not fix accountability and stability of the administration, Uttar-Pradesh might further see the escalation of communal violence as it is actually not people who are turning communal but the political parties who want to set agenda for 2014 and definitely governance and corruption cannot be the issue hence the state seems to be returning to agenda being fixed by the Hindutva fanatics and perhaps that suits to the Samajwadi Party too and hence their failure to act on time.
But, India cannot afford to lose its communal amity to political manipulations and hence it is on the people too lies greater responsibility. It is important not to look for messiah to save us from the problems. The agenda of the communal minds are clear to take us back to primitive ages and decide about our future denying us our individual freedom. A people’s movement against communalism must start at all level and it is equally important that local people must interact more and not heed the rumors. My own experience with Faizabad and Ayodhya is that while there might be differences among communities, their issues have been hijacked by big politicians’ masquerading as ‘spiritual leaders’. It is time for Faizabad and Ayodhya to dump aside these religious issues and come closer fighting for communal amity as they have to live together and not those who come from outside and instigate the disturbances. There are already so many temples and mosque in this region. The only thing which is not there are good schools, better hospitals and job prospectus. It is time; common people seek answer to these growing issues and not allow the religious thugs to set political agenda for future.