As long as I can remember India had claimed to be secular. The Oxford dictionary defines the word “secular” as meaning “not subject to or bound by religious rule; not belonging to or living in a monastic or other order”. India’s latest venture of building a Hindu temple at the site of the old Babri Mosque is a complete antithesis of its claims to being secular. Interesting to note here is that India is home to 10.3% of the world’s Muslim population and the building of this temple is an utter disregard for their sentiment, emotion, and political opinion.
Indian Census Count
According to India’s official Census count the Indian Work participation Rate is comprised of 33% Muslims compared to 41% Hindus. The Urban Sex Ratio is 907 Muslims compared to 894 Hindus, and the Child Sex Ratio (0-6 Years) is 943 Muslims compared to 913 Hindus. The Muslim voice and representation is not insignificant at all. And yet, the pro-Hindu, anti-secular Indian government proceeded to go ahead with the construction of a temple which was a point of contention for a significant representation of its 1,370 million population. It is clear that the current Indian government seeks anything but peace and accord. Ironically enough, the demolition of the Babri Masjid itself on 6 December 1992 was done illegally by a large mob of activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its allies in relation to the Ayodhya dispute.
16th Century Babri Mosque
The 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh was targeted after a political rally organised by Hindu nationalist organisations turned violent. On that ill-fated day in December 1992 the BJP organised a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as kar sevaks. The rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed security forces and tore down the mosque. A subsequent inquiry into the incident found 68 people responsible, including several leaders of the BJP and the VHP.
The Demolition of Babri Mosque
The demolition resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people. The Indian government didn’t seem to care then, and they don’t seem to care now. In April 2014, a sting operation by Cobrapost (owned by the co-founder of Tehelka) claimed that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was not an act of frenzied mobs but instead was an act of sabotage planned with so much secrecy that no government agency got wind of it.
It further said that the sabotage was planned several months in advance by VHP and Shiv Sena, but not jointly. It is oddly puzzling and paradoxical to me that a religion that goes so far as to practice vegetarianism because it considers the sanctity of all life to be sacred, can be so cruel and demonstrate such alacrity when it comes to preserving the consideration of its human inhabitants.
How hypocritical! Pakistan has done its share to condemn the atrocity; the Foreign Office compared the building of the temple on the sacred mosque site to be a blot on the face of the so-called Indian democracy for times to come and urged the Indian government to ensure the safety and protection of minorities, particularly its Muslim citizens and their places of worship. But, for the most part, it seems like being the nationalist showman that Modi is, all human plausibility and rationale fall on deaf ears. The foundation for the temple was laid and with it, India’s false banter of being a tolerant and secular democracy was burned in the ritualistic pyre that Modi snuggled too.