Saturday, November 28, 2009


It was a sunday afternoon. For most of the world it was another sultry one, dreaded to be passed over. But it was no ordinary one, for the people in Ayodhya. A huge congregation, one never seen before, who called themselves as kar sevaks, gathered in the Ayodhya, to perform Kar Seva, a voluntary religious deed. It was meant to mark the commencement of the construction of the much debated Ram temple, whose foundation stone had been laid six years earilier.

The ritual was simple -- kar sevaks arriving from different corners of the country were to march down to the banks of the river Sarayu, barely a kilometre away, carry a fistful of sand and drop it in a pit specially dug for the purpose close to the site of the shilaniyas (foundation stone) carried out in 1986 during the Rajiv Gandhi regime. Simultaneously 101 saffron-clad sadhus were to knock their hammers on the specially erected concrete platform overlooking the disputed structure of the Babri Masjid.

The rehearsal for the great act was performed the day before. Had the act gone as peacefully as the rehearsal, I would not be writing this article after 17 years. At 10:30 am the leaders of BJP and VHP, including LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi climbed onto the platform to perform puja and symbolic karseva.

Up till then all was going well, when some kar sevaks, chanting hindu slogans, tried to break through the RSS human chain that guarded the platform, which was the only barrier between them and the the mosque. All hell broke loose, between kar sevaks and the RSS guards.

And right at that moment all the world, which was watching through the media's eyes, knew what was about to befall. Some how everyone had an unconscious clue about what was going to happen, days before the kar seva. The mob of 200,000 karsevaks broke through the stell barricade at the entrance of the mosque.

Some of them climbed the domes and waved the saffron flag.
Many of them charged into the insides of the domes. People madly started striking the walls of the mosque, with their little hammers and steel rods.

An outsider watching, would have thought " What are they doing? Are they trying to break the structure with their hands? These people are mad".

It is amazing sometimes, how much we underestimate manpower. We can't imagine a breakdown of building without dynamites and cranes, can we?

But given 200,000 of passionate and fervish people, nothing is impossible. Holes were dug at the basements of the walls. Jute ropes were passed through them. Imagine a group of people, pulling off the whole dome from it's roots with ropes.

The first dome fell at 1:55 pm. Two other followed soon after. The idol of Sri Ram was placed amongst the rubble. Their goal was achieved.

Wait, it wasn't yet. Babri was just a precursor. The actual tragedy starts now. What followed was something unimaginable in my wildest dreams. There were over 2 lakh muslims living around that place. The uncontrolled mob of karsevaks, RSS, BJP call them whatever you want, attacked the nearby muslim houses.

They burned the houses down. And they threw live bodies of muslims in the huge fire. Around 14 muslims were fated to the horrible death. All in the name of god.

Riots spread across Ayodhya, officially killing 45 people, unofficially many. They spread to Bombay, the commercial capital of India, killing around 1000 people across the span of two months. The next January saw Bombay lose 250 people in the worst bombings it ever had.

Every year the anniversery of the Babri demolition, is stained with the killings of hundreds of muslims and hindus across the nation.

After 17 years of the tragedy, the Liberhan commission's report is submitted in Rajya Sabha. A commission, placed by PV Narsimha Rao, which was initially supposed to take only 3 months to report.

It took Justice Liberhan 48 extensions, 8 crores and 17 years to submit his detailed report of the events and conspiracy leading to Babri demolition. Unsurprisingly enough, it indicts then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, who specifically banned the use of firearms by security personnel on that day. It also accuses LK Advani, Bal Thackeray, Murali Manohar Joshi, Vajpayee and other BJP leaders of knowing about the plan a priori, and calls them pseudo moderates.

But it doesn't propose any harsh actions to be taken against the accused, nor does it propose any overturning changes in law, that would prevent such things to happen again. The report is a 1029 papers of bunch of facts, tied together.

Perhaps Justice Liberhan knew, even if he did do any of the above, chances are that they wouldn't be implemented in the coming hundred years. 

After all, (sh)it happens only in India!


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