Here are excerpts from an interview given by Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri, the famous Ayodhya mahant and tireless amity worker who is fighting against communal forces and conveying the message of peace and harmony to many parts of the country through yatras:
What, according to you, are the obstacles to Hindu-Muslim unity in India?
For the better part of India, the biggest obstacle to the unity is Brahmanism. Let alone Muslims and Hindus, it creates divides even among Hindus.
The communal forces of the country are a result of this purposeful divide. They divide people for petty political gains. Moreover, secularism and freedom of religion aren’t implemented properly in this country. Officials’ political leanings are reflected in the posts they hold. Blessings from Hindu gods are evoked at the inauguration of government buildings and offices. Temples spring up on government properties. Had governments really been secular, they wouldn’t have allowed this. They would have preserved Hindu-Muslim unity, instead. Muslims would feel secure in the country. They’re a victim of majority terrorism in several states. It was under the patronage of the state government that Babri Masjid was demolished and innocent Muslims killed and the culprits were allowed to roam free. Narendra Modi was never brought to book and the victims weren’t compensated.
Are Indo-US relations in India’s interest?
No, they’re not. No imperialist nation ever forms relations with others on an equal footing. These relations are their covert instruments of enslavement. Then, too, you never see the face of Obama in the midst of all this. They tempt locals into backstabbing their nation. India’s relations with America cause terrorism, communalism and Hindu dominance over others. It’s in America’s interest to fuel unrest among nations so it goes on selling weapons to support its economy.
What is your take on the arrests of Muslim youth?
A vast majority of the boys in custody are innocent. At least the probes by human-rights activists prove this. Muslims have lost faith in the democratic system. The judiciary, police, STF, ATS and investigative agencies have become communal in nature and are controlled by foreign powers. A majority of the officers are communally biased and don’t see Muslims as humans. They’re influenced by Shiv Sena, RSS, VHP and Israeli ideology. This has eroded the social fabric and the constitutional system of the country.
How do you view journalist Mohammad Kazmi’s arrest?
This is the first time an important journalist has been treated like this. This is an imperialist attack on democracy and an attempt to discourage Muslim intellectuals to share their opinion on India’s affairs.
Kazmi was a prominent journalist and held deep knowledge of Western affairs. He was labelled a terrorist and charged with treason at Mossad’s prodding.
You are a prime witness in the Babri Masjid case and you have authored many books. Would you like to share your views on the issue?
I live behind the Masjid compound and have a temple there. I saw that act of terrorism with my own eyes. Karsevaks with their daggers had surrounded my temple and were out to kill journalists and social workers present there. I testified in the CBI court and explained that America had used VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal to carry out the crime. These right-wing organizations even tried to tempt me into not presenting my account in the court. When I wrote about the Babri Masjid and about Sanghi terrorism, I received threats from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. They called me “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Ram”. Fighting them gives me more pleasure than worshipping God.
What is your outlook on the growing Indo-Israel relations?
Strong relations between the two countries are extremely dangerous. India buys 30% of its weapons from Israel and this casts a doubt about our future plans in the minds of our neighbouring countries. It’s because of India’s relations with Israel that our country cannot speak up against the atrocities Israel inflicts on the Palestinians. India becomes a collaborator with the oppressors.
The Arab world is evolving. Do you think the changes would affect India in any way?
The changes won’t mean much to India since a majority of the countries undergoing political change haven’t had much to do with India in the past.
Translated from Hindi by Aaliya Khan