Trapped By Temple
December 6 comes, December 6 goes. And politicians of all shades heave a sigh of relief after performing their patent ritual of condemnation and celebration of the babri episode. The 8th anniversary of the demolition of the babri mosque passed off peacefully without any untoward incident in any part of the country. While the official left marked the ‘anti-communalism day’ in their own way by organising meetings and processions to denounce the saffron brigade for destroying India’s secular fabiric, some secular partners of the BJP-led national democratic alliance did not do much other than marking the December 6 as ‘communal harmony day’. But the Samajwadi Party and Congress looked a bit militant as they would like to satisfy their ego by burning the effigies of the Babri villains in many places. It is the same Congress that opened the lock in Ayodhya. And the secular Gandhians presided over the foundation stone laying ceremony without bothering about their secular credentials at that time. The saffronites are carrying on the Gandhian legacy in a different guise. Also, the makeshift temple built at the site of the demolished structure was impossible without the tacit approval of the Congress. Nobody is willing to go back to negotiations under the old rules. All are villains. As for the leftists, socialists and communists, they do not matter in the temple-mosque tussle as they did not matter in the communal holocaust in the forties. If they are too vocal to highlight the misdeeds done by the saffron club it is because it sells in vote market. But they are no less guilty in communalising political culture in areas where communalism never posed any serious threat to social harmony, by continually pampering minority communalism without attacking the economic roots of majority communalism. They do not see anything beyond communalism. The rise of BJP is a natural phenomenon but what deserves attention is impact of international ramifications of rightist and obscurantist ideology.
Quite surprisingly, A B Vajpayee otherwise dubbed moderate in the dismay Sangh family, this time recalled December 6 by playing the hawkish card much to the of his NDA partners. Vajpayee stated in no uncertain terms that the Ayodhya agenda was still incomplete and that the Ramjanmabhoomi movement was an "expression of
nationalist sentiment". He went a step further to support his cabinet colleagues L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharati, the main accused in the babri demolition case by suggessing that they were in Ayodhya on December 6 to protect the mosque. Maybe, Vajpayee is looking for ways to keep the fire warm to enthuse sangh activists while not sacrificing his pragmatic stance much. For Vajpayee what is of significance is how the temple should be constructed. There is every reason to believe that the saffronites despite their aggressive postures, have been trying, subtly though, for sometime to build consensus on the temple issue by accommodating their adversaries, religious and non-religious as well, in a re-designed framework of national agenda. They are hopeful of striking a deal with their fundamentalist opponents in the near future.
Those who think they could make the saffron party run in the political wilderness because of their sustained campaign against communalism, are actually deceiving themselves and people as well.
The saffron party is ruthlessly anti-national, albeit their frontal outfits continue to chant swadeshi mantra. Global funding from international (or American) financial institutions and NGO participation have become key components of what is called development in every field of economic and social activity. The last decade has witnessed a crisis in education and culture. The advent of saffron party has just aggravated it. The Congress began to privatise education and, now the BJP and its allies are in a hurry to privatise higher education completely, under the IMF-WB induced structural adjustment programme. The way they are manipulating education, making political appointments, capturing research institutions and funding bodies and pursuing a policy of academic censorship, does not face real challenge from the opposition parties. They are crying themselves hoarse about communal danger rather vaguely. Globalisation, NGO-isatan and privatisation are not in conflict with the ideologies of the ruling and non-ruling parties and, the real danger lies in it. Even the progressives are trapped by temple though the need of the hour is to empower people and satisfy their aspiratrous.