Ayodhya & today’s Indian!
Notwithstanding the fact that media and political noise made over Ayodhya-issue has recently led to certain tension and panic in the country; it cannot be missed that there has prevailed peace and calm across the nation. On the one hand, this is suggestive of people’s deliberate decision of not allowing themselves to be provoked to any stage/level of exciting and/or participating in communal frenzy. On the other hand, the hard fact that the issue hit headlines just when Commonwealth Games were around the corner cannot be ignored. Equally significant is the fact that political parties have not been oblivious of the assembly elections, a strong litmus test of their secular credibility. So against this backdrop, would it be fair to assume that all-out efforts were made deliberately to prevent communal chaos over Ayodhya-issue? Does this also imply that had such efforts not been made, the situation might have been totally different?
These questions have been raised as Ayodhya-crisis, legally, politically as well as socially still remains unresolved. Different parties involved in the litigation process together with the ones keen on politically and socially exploiting the issue have not backtracked from their respective stands. Understandably, the masses, including the middle and lower classes are no longer politically naïve to be easily taken for a ride by extremist elements bent on provoking communal sentiments by playing on their religious feelings. But, would it be fair to assume that the people are politically smart and also shrewd to see through the game-plans of leaders in fray and thus not allow themselves to reach stage of communal frenzy? To a degree, this cannot be denied. This also suggests that today’s Indian- the common person- should not be expected to blindly adhere to what is communicated to him/her by extremist/communal elements. At the same time, if the Indian perceives the message to smell some gains for him/her, there prevail prospects of him/her giving it (message) some importance. This interestingly is also suggestive of a major development in the attitude formation of today’s Indian. The attitude is shaped by what appeals to him/her and not what particular leaders, including extremist/communal elements decide.
The last point is considerably responsible for the rise of numerous political parties and also for practically all Indian communities suffering from a leadership-crisis. Too many parties and/or leaders are in the fray to let any one or even a few assume crucial role is just one of the factors responsible for this situation. Greater importance needs to be given to the fact that today’s Indian is least likely to project himself as a committed follower of any leader in the fray. Certainly, Indians are not above board where indulging in rhetoric is concerned. They may engage in sweet talk with all politicians/leaders who approach them and yet, behind their backs, criticize them aggressively. And why not? After all, this is Indian democracy, where each has the right to his/her own distinct opinion.
Give a thought to the simple device, called mobile. It has within an amazingly short period become a virtual necessity for many in the country. Yet, ironically, the mobiles carry different meanings for most individuals possessing or not possessing them. There may well be as many implications regarding the mobile as there are individuals who have spare time and money for the same. This is just a minor reflection of the new identity being assumed by today’s Indians. If he/she is literate, the SMS’ may well make him/her more aware of what the rival parties/groups are saying about Ayodhya-issue. It may also keep him/her in touch with how people elsewhere are reacting to the issue. From one angle, the mobile has brought the majority within the reach of leaders/elements keen on spreading their stand towards controversial issues in the news. But this is one side of the communication-drama that can be raised over such issues. There is no guarantee that it will have the impact desired by those using the mobile to publicize their stand. It is for the mobile-owner to decide on whether he/she should read the message or not. If the message is read, the mobile-owner may or may not deliberate on it. If he/she decides to give it some importance, it may be limited to regarding it as junk, discussing it with others and/or deliberately ignoring it in preference for other messages. The individual’s own priorities carry greater importance for him/her in comparison to what the so-called leaders may try to convince him/her with. In other words, irrespective of the efforts made by various leaders through mobile and/or other means to spread their message, these may be practically ignored by the “recipients.” Similarly, howsoever, the different people may feel about Ayodhya-issue, they have apparently decided not to resort to violence over it. It may take months or years for judiciary to take decision on Ayodhya. Today, the common Indian, however, seems firm on not turning to communal violence over the same!