Can the Ayodhya issue be laid to rest?

December 8, 2009

Parliament building

The Lok Sabha has been witness to heated debates over the Liberhan Commission report on the Ayodhya mosque demolition.

Is the report and discussion going to provide a catharsis for events that happened 17 years ago?

Will it be able to fix responsibility on who was responsible for the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition and the post-Ayodhya violence?

From what can be heard of the debate in parliament and what has been written about the report itself, it seems unlikely.

In a few years, the leaders named in the report would have retired from active politics.

Two of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s big three in those years — Atal Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — have almost made their curtain calls.

And the prime minister on whose watch the demolition took place is no more.

Accusations and counter-accusations continue even as the issue that sparked the events stays unresolved.

It has been noted that though the mosque demolition happened when the BJP was in power in Uttar Pradesh, the party could never again form a government on its own in the state.

This ‘untouchable’ status forced the party to modify its agenda in order to shore up numbers for ruling.

In an interview, BJP leader Arun Shourie described the Ayodhya movement as a bullet that had been fired once and cannot be fired again.

Kameshwar Chaupal, who laid the foundation stone for the proposed Ram Mandir in 1989, recently said that ‘Ram’ has to be linked with ‘livelihood’.

Julius Caesar was said to be more powerful dead than alive.

Has the ‘Babri Masjid’, as a symbol of India’s efforts at being secular, attained the same status?

Will the release of the Liberhan Commission report encourage the BJP to stoke the issue again?

Or with the Ayodhya movement laid to rest, will it move towards being a more centrist party?

One comment

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Between the politicians and the person who was entrusted the onerous task of unearthing the facts, and after having spent crores, over years and years in conducting the inquiry, the issue has been buried deeper than any of those responsible and guilty for the demolition could ever have hoped for. The recent debate in parliament spent time, energy and great expense trying to clear one person’s name, pass the buck to another who is dead and made sure that the real issues, which no one wanted to discuss anyway, simply got lost in the din. After every disgraceful act, there are strident cries of bringing the guilty to book and not sparing anyone. When was the last time anyone at all was held responsible and suitably brought to book through the normal course of investigations and without people taking to the streets? It will be difficult to recall even if one had an elephant’s memory.

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