History is a critical subject to study, to seep in about the small and big events which have shaped our present lives. It is important for all of us to know, but by far what is more important is the interpretation of the history. First kind of interpretation is accepting to what has happened and gulp in the current drama by murmuring the quote ‘history repeats itself’. Another is a way of outraging oneself of all the wrongs and take up the spear to claim and fix things. And the last way is to really think deeply and build a conscious stand about not only letting anything repeat the darkness but also how to shape the current and future in the most harmonious ways. First two are convenient ways, third is a challenging one and may be tormenting as well. Hereby sharing my emotions on the significance of August 5 2020, I don’t want to write accounts of history, there is a lot already available. I would instead try to look into the fact that what makes the whole August 5 celebration a failure of the third way of interpreting history.
Bhoomi Poojan, a significantly glorious day to mark the closure of a centuries old dispute over which unaccounted number of people lost their lives, children lost their parents, families lost their homes and a larger number of people lost their faith. Faith into something which has failed to harness any kind of sensibility in the consciousness of either side of people in the battle. Nevertheless, it is always better to have chiming bells than violence intriguing loudspeakers and slogans. Fortunately, since the judgement was passed last year, there has been no violence across the country around the issue. No matter whosoever chose to stay quiet, must be applauded for harnessing peace. But is it peace? And that is where my curiosity intrigues.
A judgement which digs the grave of justice right under the nose of a notably large democracy is a failure to each one of its citizens. Interestingly, last year in November when the verdict was finally out and it was accepted as it is, it was a moment of big laugh. Reasons being, it was a generous surrender of a battle which never should have started. But when inevitable bloodshed becomes a part of the debate, someone more wise is bound to bow, for vendetta is a never ending loop. However, the acceptance of the funny judgement gets developed on August 5 and is in fact celebrated as if as a society we really were able to achieve a milestone in humanity. In fact, it is a step back. No matter how glorified the construction of the upcoming architecture be, it would always remain a piece of sorrow, not for a certain community but for all those people who really have the Lord in their hearts. I am consciously refraining to use the term ‘upcoming temple’, because deep in all our conscience we know that temples, or any religious places cannot be built on the dead bodies of innocents.
None of the person who died in this disputed massacre, for 500 years ago, has been a martyr; each one is an innocent victim killed in a headless fight. Therefore, the disappointment lies in the fact that in a country where every person post the age of 18 is given the responsibility to chose their leaders, such a disputed construction has been longed for, supported, harnessed and celebrated. This is not the right way of dealing with history, or even contemporary issues. More so, what makes it all more arbitrary is the apprehension about what lies ahead. I started writing optimistically that bhoomi poojan marks the ‘closure’ of a wrathful history. But does it really do? I have my fears. Just because appreciatively Iqbal Ansari has chosen to pacify doesn’t mean everything has been reconciled.
No one knows till when would the construction be really be completed; or if it really will be completed till next general elections as it has been an evergreen political agenda. No one knows whether more fire will be spilled by the historical criminals to claim more spaces for such constructions to ultimately reach a long aimed exclusionary agenda of clutching the whole country under one identity. No one knows if this really puts end to empty religious battles which lack vision, development and humane thoughtfulness. No one knows nothing except shallow, short sighted celebrations.
Maybe there are not many solutions to such times of ignorance other than really dismantling the darkness of ignorance itself. The petty politics around unthoughtful religious issues will keep burning until we the people don’t actually start discrediting it. Until we as masses don’t stop buying it. And we have to be vocal about it. Silence doesn’t mean peace always, a lot of times it means feared disagreement. And thus, we all need to break the silence without holding communal or ideological identities, but as a community which can embark the path of secular inclusive future. A future which is more promising for our upcoming generations. As much as an architecture similar to temple over dead bodies is dark in India, so is the reopening of a museum as a mosque in some other part of the world. Justice and peace are universal values, the details of it may be harnessed in various ways, but the foundation of it cannot be demeaned. Cannot be killed!
About the Author – MA Development (2018-20), Azim Premji University
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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