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Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

The rubbish that surrounds Ayodhya
By Mukul Dube

There are certain logical fallacies and absurdities involved in the Sangh Parivar's approach to the Ayodhya business and especially in what Pt. A. B. Vajpayee has been saying about it recently.

Although the problem is still called "the Mandir-Masjid dispute", no one seriously speaks any longer of rebuilding the mosque which was demolished. The Hindutva Brigade considers no option other than the building of a temple, and the only difficulty that it faces has to do with how that end is to be attained. In practical terms, thus, the dispute between Hindus and Muslims is over whether or not a temple is to be constructed. Some realists go beyond this and say that the dispute concerns when a temple is to be built.
In the arguments that are advanced by the Hindu Right, it is taken as implicit that the land on which the temple will or will not be built has always been vacant. This line entirely ignores the reality that a very old structure existed on that piece of land until it was destroyed by members of the "family" of the PM and DPM..

In the arguments that are advanced by the Hindu Right, it is taken as implicit that the land on which the temple will or will not be built has always been vacant. This line entirely ignores the reality that a very old structure existed on that piece of land until it was destroyed by members of the "family" of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Parivar whose head is based in central India and who studiedly maintains an apparent distance from the controversy.

Ordinarily, those who destroy architectural constructions - whether they be ancient monuments or structures recently built - are called vandals. They are ranked low, at the level of vermin, and in no case are they dignified with the term "soldier". They are mere criminals, for the destruction of property is an offence under the laws of all societies.

If vandals should destroy a petrol pump in Mathura or a public urinal in Banaras, they will be prosecuted and punished if they are caught 

- and, in time, the destroyed structures will be rebuilt. That is the ordinary course of justice and of administration. Where Ayodhya is concerned, though, this ordinary course of rebuilding what was destroyed has been rejected in favour of building something else at the same place.

Vandals have thus been transformed from destructive criminals into socially useful kar sevaks who have, in effect, cleared and levelled a rocky mound on which grew a thick forest so that the structure which will be "the nation's pride" can be built there. This is the March of Progress which will lead India into the 8th century B. C. by the year 2020, if the PM and his deputy are to be believed. And of course we know who are to form this nation and who are to be excluded from it.

Pt. Vajpayee, the Elder Statesman seeking to explain a "natural" human reaction, has said that the Ayodhya dispute is a matter of "emotions". Implicit in this is the assumption that emotions are in some way above the law and beyond the reach of rationality itself. Let us consider how all societies - human and animal - treat just one emotion, anger. The young are taught, very early in their lives, to control their anger. They are taught that it is wrong to hit others and that they should not throw objects or break them. Anger, in other words, is bad, something to be tamed. The same general principle applies to all emotions, in particular the negative ones.

I am childless but I have at least an idea of how children should be brought up. Pt. Vajpayee, who too has no offspring, seems not to have the faintest notion of how children are raised. It should not surprise us that the young of his Parivar have grown up to be barbarians - whom their parents yet dote upon and to whom they gift toys such as crow-bars and gas cylinders.

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