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Taking Stock
Masjid as a blessing
By Rizwan Ullah

Rizwan UllahBlessed were the men who built the Masjid centuries ago. Blessed were the faithful who offered prayers five times a day within the precincts of the Masjid for centuries. The Masjid was a blessing for the early rulers of free India who locked its doors upon those who had been offering prayers, and thereby they pleased the ignorant multitude. It was the time when the faithful were battling against a baffling quandary, running for their lives, insecure in their homes, their destiny lost in the abounding darkness and voices throttled in their throats. The Masjid was a blessing for the succeeding rulers who decades later unlocked the doors leaving it ajar for those who could place idols in the darkness of night as the saying goes the pestilence walketh in the darkness. Those who led the ignorant masses showered their ashirvad over the unfortunate rulers. The Masjid proved to be a blessing even in its destruction, for those who planned and masterminded the unholy plan and finally razed it could tread over its debries to reach the citadel unaware of the slippery course of power. The Masjid is still a blessing for the miniscule politicians who came into limelight by virtue of circumstances which unfortunately do not forebode the emergence of a strong national party with the moral calibre that is needed for managing the affairs of this vast multicultural country. 

However, there are people among the multitude who believe that they can ride a lion by simply calling it a horse. They are basking in their sadly mistaken belief that the Masjid will no longer haunt them nightmarishly only if they called it a dhancha, a structure. They are so naive as to believe that centuries of history will vanish into thin air by simply wishing it away. 

The philosophy of ‘dhancha’ is pregnant in the extreme by dangerous portents. From Chandni chowk to the Raisina Hills any thing may be a mere dhancha amenable to demolition, destruction, elimination. One may not have forgotten the demolition and clearance of countless dhanchas in the Turkaman Gate area during the ignominious Emergency. And that mass scale clearance of unwanted dhanchas was performed under the chatra chaya of Mr Jagmohan who is presently hell bent upon removing every dhancha that stands in the name of unwanted factories or places of work. 

There have been instances in UP where rivals claiming ownership of a property took recourse to removing portions of it and declaring the rest of it a mere dhancha. The days may not be far away when neighbours remove a common wall, declare the whole dwelling as a dhancha and clash for its occupation. If you sow the wind you must reap the whirlwind. The great Saint Rumi said: 
Gandum uz Gandum beoid, jao ze jao
Uz makafat-e-amal ghafil mashao.

(Wheat grows from wheat and barley from barley. Don’t be oblivious of the retribution for your deeds).

Let the perpetrators face the consequences of the dhancha philosophy when it is taken to the streets. Presently we are concerned about the Masjid called dhancha. There are several things that are multiplying our difficulties, most of all the burgeoning spokespersons of various outfits speaking in as many languages and at times eating their own words and going back on their stated positions. No reasonable person is coming forward to whom the Muslims can explain that they are simply unable to make any deal with regard to the Masjid. No one seems to be convinced with the Muslim point of view that a place once being a Masjid always remains a Masjid be it a building or a mere open flat space. It can neither be sold nor bartered. Thus from the Muslim point of view the only solution of the Masjid issue lies in a court verdict. It should be in every body’s interest to wait for the verdict and avoid any action till then and abide by the verdict when it comes. Unfortunately there are irresponsible people in responsible positions. The delay in the verdict perpetuates a favorable situation for them and a peaceful solution of the issue may not suit their interest. This is the real misfortune, but still patience is the prescription. 

Patience is the need of the hour for every one, for the country is facing insurmountable problems on all sides; all values that the country stands for are at stake. The whole length of the northern border from east to west is disturbed in one way or the other; infiltrators, trouble makers and saboteurs are sneaking in. Within the country principle-based politics bade adieu a long time ago and the political fortune-seekers are leap-frogging in all directions, the invading multinationals are making inroads in to the areas cultivated and served by the indigenous business and traders and thus throwing workers to the dogs; the farmer having paid for the imported fertilizers and agricultural input is weeping over the piles of rotting grains and even committing suicide by the side of others starving anyway. 

This is certainly not the time to press issues that can be kept on the back burner until a favourable time. Those with bloated bellies and coffers full of unaccounted money can hardly be made to see the reason. But it is the bounden duty of us Indians of all shades of opinion to make them understand that they can not go too far by treading over the skeleton of hard working and starving masses. This message should be taken as far as possible as an article of faith. After all, our lot is linked to the rest of the suffering masses. The Masjid is dear to us but lives of the innocent poor are no less dear. Let us help solve their problems along with salvaging the Masjid. Once again, the prescription is patience. It is time for us to restrain our youth from indulging in wasteful exuberance. It is time for our intellectuals to suggest useful alternatives for them to pursue. It is time for all right thinking people among us to close ranks by resolving unproductive and frivolous differences so as to be prepared to work in unison for the common cause when the opportunity comes.

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