Analysis

Liberhan Report: Nothing New

Ironically, nothing new has come to light with tabling of Liberhan Commission report in the Parliament and the related debate on it. People from the beginning have been fairly well aware about individuals and parties  who are responsible for the Babari Masjid's demolition. Of course, what is a little surprising is that the Commission has finally submitted its report. Given that, the Commission has taken 17 years and 48 extensions to prepare the report, one is bound to deliberate on why has it not spent a little more time, with a few more extensions, to wind up its work. Equally intriguing is the leaking of the report, which certainly contributed to preparing ground for a heated debate in the Parliament on the issue. 

The central government is apparently confident that the time is just right for the report to be officially be made public. It may have probably thought otherwise were parliamentary elections around the corner. Having returned to power for the second term consecutively, earlier this year, the Congress has enough time to test the importance that the sensitive issue holds for politicians as well as the electorate. Related with this is yet another angle to 17 years taken by the Commission to prepare the report. In all probability, the Commission may have taken a little more time, if the central government felt that the time was not yet appropriate for making the report public. This implies, it has taken 17 years- with different parties/coalitions remaining at the helm during this period- to finally cease feeling apprehensive of coming out formally with what the people have always been aware of. In other words, so far, the Commission as well as the different governments in power over past 17 years were apparently apprehensive about the impact that the report may have. Considering that the demolition-phase was witness to communal riots in most parts of the country for quite some time, it was natural for the Commission as well as leaders in power to be fairly cautious about finalizing the report. This also suggests that it has taken 17 years for the Center as well as the Commission to finally accept that they should cease fearing the negative impact of the report. Had they still expected the report to lead to communal tension, they would have probably let the Commission remain working on it for some more time.

Notwithstanding the uproar raised in the Parliament over the report's contents, what is perhaps more noteworth]y is that politicians have finally realized that though the issue remains extremely sensitive even now, prospects of it arousing communal tension have considerably died down. In other words, the politicians have accepted that the Indian community has come a long way from the phase when their communal passions could easily be aroused to stage of conflict between different communities.

There is thus an ironical twist to political storm in the Parliament over the report. While politicians have indulged aggressively in debating on its contents, with some dismissing it as a "bundle of lies," others calling it "incomplete," some projecting as biased, prepared "jointly" by Congress and BJP, the people at large have remained largely unmoved by this political drama. The people apparently realize that when politicians make too much noise about highly sensitive issues, their political strategy is guided towards attracting media attention and propagating their stand on the same. The political game-show, in people's perception, has little to do with the actual issue itself and/or with the importance it holds for the common Indian.

Not surprisingly, the people appear to have dismissed the storm raised over the report as nothing more than a political and media hype. Thus, though noise over report started gaining political attention and media coverage a few days ahead of the anniversary of Babari Masjid's demolition, it practically had little or no impact on common Indians. Even though several organizations and/or political groups used the day (December 6) to voice their respective stands on the issue, the day passed peacefully with there being no report of any major communal disturbance in any part of the country. Undeniably, as December 6 has been peaceful for several years now, one may question as to why is special attention being paid to the day being peaceful this year too. The answer to this is simple. It is for the first time since the demolition that so much political noise has been raised over the issue, with specific individuals and parties being named as the ones responsible for the national tragedy. In this context, with tabling of Liberhan Commission's report, there remained fear of certain politicians exploiting the occasion to arouse communal disturbances. They did not, could not and/or perhaps decided not to, for people have ceased to be easily provoked to stage of communal frenzy. Thus political battle over the report has remained confined to political stage, with people choosing to let their routine lives remain undisturbed by the same!

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2009 on page no. 18

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