I am a male brahmin from India in the US. These are ‘my’ opinions. This declaration is necessary as I want to declare my privileges. I am an upper-caste English speaking Hindu who gets certain unsaid, undeclared privileges. This thought of me repeating a ‘male upper-caste Hindu’ privilege is for you to understand the services you get just because of your surname and gender. Now, on the topic at hand –
On 6th December 1991, a mosque was demolished in the name of the lord. Our Honorable Supreme Court declared it a criminal act and rightly so; and after nearly two decades the court decided that the Government of India will own the land and a temple should be constructed, the land is then to be transferred to the Board of Trustees formed within three months of the verdict. This was a title dispute i.e. a land ownership dispute of which the Government of India is not a party. Well, lakhs of people were killed, jobs were lost and various other factors contributed to the requirement of a swift judgment based on facts. For all the talks of judiciary working on facts, it is my firm belief that in this case, the Justices considered the emotions of the republic and maybe rightly so; but to consider political sentiments involved with the case was probably a straw too heavy.
I am a firm believer in government and I believe that the people who run the country do consider all the scenarios and work for the general benefit of the public; some a bit more, some a tad less. Abraham Lincoln’s famous lines about the government of the people, for the people, and by the people is naturally the first thought when talking about the largest democracy in the world. A democracy that celebrates its elections like festivals, where democracy is the feature film, the rival sports match – the high-octane F1 race we crave so much.
A nation which is the birthplace of numerous religions, numerous languages – each religion and language with its own culture, history, and a set of noble religious books; has accepted, by choice, in its entirety, the Constitution. The first page and the very first words of this masterpiece are “We, the people of India,…” Somewhere, in our 72 years of freedom, we have remembered ‘the people of India’ but forgotten the required ‘We’. On 26th January 1950, we resolved to constitute our nation into a sovereign, socialist, democratic, republic; having assumed that the children of Gandhi can never be secular. However, saner heads prevailed and through the 42nd amendment, we agreed that our nation will be secular.
I have a few questions. The preamble of the nation clearly states that India is a secular country. India does not have a state religion. All the citizens of the state have the liberty to practice any faith, belief, and worship accordingly. However, when through the means of court, when it is decided that the Government of India will own a temple, then is it not declaring the government a Hindu state. My question is remarkably simple, and I want to be educated that on what basis did the Supreme Court of India allotted the land to the Government of India. Does the Government of India hold all the religious temples, mosques, churches, stupas, etc? Pandit Nehru, I have heard was never comfortable with his religion in the public domain, maybe this was the reason, but those were different days or so I hope.
The constitution granted the same privilege to worship but when you are in the public domain; when you are the Prime Minister of the country, you work for the greater good. You are so great that a majority of adults of this nation chose you to represent this nation and all its parts – all the religions, languages, regions, and genders. Your greatness is such that people emulate you and criticize when you are not held to a standard. Declaration of one’s religion and being proud of it is natural but to repackage it and market it in a way that it hurts others is wrong on all levels. The difference needs to be understood between the man and the post. When Narendra Modi falls to worship a deity on national television – it shows his pride and dedication towards the religion; at the same time, it also shows that the Prime Minister of this country has fallen on his face and hoping for some sort of miracle.
The other question I had was that the land was allotted to the Government of India. By what right did the Prime Minister of this country did the Bhoomi-pooja? Bhoomi-pooja is done by the owner of land according to the texts. The Prime Minister is not the owner instead it is the President and I think it because I have heard the President saying that the government on his direction that the government is functioning. Well, I do not need to explain how but the President is the representative of the country. It is in his direction that the government is formed or dissolved. The PM, for all the powers vested in him, runs the President’s country. But our PM is often described as, and I hate to use this term, and elected autocrat; but I see him as a strong, decisive, and revered rishi. Our current PM should abdicate the government and promote the Hindu religion. He has a travesty of knowledge and he is religiously ‘woke’. His struggle to travel to Kailash, his Ganga Darshan, I mean this is pure selfishness. He has struggled and achieved the knowledge; now that he has the means why is this not being promoted. And if I, an upper-caste Hindu who tweets, texts and watches Republic TV does not know about any scheme, it probably isn’t there.
In conclusion, the legal route through which the land was granted, and the temple is being constructed has set a dangerous precedent. Mobs, with support of political goons, can ransack, ravage and demolish any structure and a new ‘religious tourism spot’ will be constructed to promote welfare and development of public. On that note, thank you Prime Minister, for building a temple for which you struggled for nearly two decades but did not make a decent airport or even the high-quality roads which people travel on their way to Mecca. The problems are still there. Mr. Prime Minister, my final question is Ayodhya existed before the temple, will it cease to exist and be changed to RamJanmBhoomi or will it thrive despite the best efforts of politicians to ruin it?