Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ram Mandir on Facebook

                This isn’t about politics. It is neither about preaching nor about practice. It is about being practical. Eighteen years after Babri Masjid was demolished, a thirty years year old activist then is close to fifty years and maybe has a voice but no tooth. A child born then is vying for a seat in a reputed college. And people not even ready to listen to Kalyan Singh, the then chief minister, who is failed to draw a decent crowd in his ‘Ayodhya chalo’ rally. The dynamics of the movement which witnessed the mobilisation of various forces, both constructive and destructive, has changed considerably. Instead of people carrying bricks from all over the country to build Ram Mandir at Ayodhya then, what would work today is some application on facebook like ‘donate/gift a brick for the temple’.

                   That the court is to sound its verdict on 24th of September, on a sixty year old litigation, has brought to the fore an issue that had been dormant since a long time now. Unprecedented security measures are being taken to avoid any communal disharmony. News channels in a welcome move have decided on self restraint by not playing sensitive videos of that fateful day of 6th December, 1992 (needless to say in all forms and round the clock). Religious groups involved have not yet issued inflammatory statements. And suddenly the passions that would have whipped up even on the mention of Ram Janmabhoomi seem to have died down. What has changed in all these years? Answer is too many things.

              Even though the debate of whether there was a temple over and on which the mosque was built is significant, what has become insignificant is the use of the debate to mobilise people to achieve an agenda. Adding political colour to the issue today has become difficult because vote bank politics today does not rely on playing religious card. It is the card of development, infrastructure and economics, that garners votes today in most of the constituencies, if not all. BJP the party which got associated with the issue and perhaps gained the maximum of it, did eventually realise the fact that Mandir in Ayodhya cannot provide stepping stones to Delhi. Demands of the inevitable coalition politics today sometimes (in very few occasions though) acts in a mutually beneficial way.

                The verdict is bound to upset one of the litigant and the larger group it represents. The case will then move to Supreme Court thereby automatically hitting a pause button. Communally sensitive areas might see some unfortunate action thanks to petty politics but the issue lacks the firepower anymore to kindle up larger emotions. All major parties want to steer clear of the matter. The BJP would do good in cornering the Congress government on minority appeasement issue, floundering Kashmir issue, and rising prices issue, rather than Ayodhya issue. The Sants and Qazis have nothing to gain either and have realised the fact in all these many years.

                 Disenchantment with controversial religious issues have taken place almost in entirety in uptown India and to a large extent in small town India. A youngster in Ayodhya today wishes to move to Lucknow or Delhi to land up in a decent job, rather than participating in the Mandir-Masjid issue whenever it rakes up. A software professional working in a MNC is least bothered what stands in Ayodhya. Young India today would rather click on the ‘like’ button for Mandir or Masjid at Ayodhya or better still join a virtual community ‘build a orphanage/hospital at the controversial site’, read e-paper on the verdict and post a comment on it, read couple of blogs (maybe this one included), and go about building their own dreams.

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