The Gyanvapi Masjid/Mandir problem is more complex and volatile than Ayodhya

By Sushil Kutty

The #MeToo movement was also about correcting the “mistakes of history” in which powerful men got what they deserved for bad deeds committed decades ago. Those outside the #MeToo realm cheered and applauded, and #MeToo survivors a sense of justice and closure – happy ending to a long chapter.

What about this other kind of ‘mistakes of history’ correction, tearing down mosques supposedly built on top of temples demolished by Muslim invaders? There are those who made the mistakes and those who want to correct the mistakes; on both sides, a feeling of pain. One that is centuries old, the other that stems from fear of impending correction and humiliation.

The Gyanvapi Masjid/Mandir is perhaps more volatile than the Ayodhya Mandir/Masjid, which grew to a crescendo and then descended into destruction and death. Communal riots in Mumbai and elsewhere, near and far, followed by years of bitter litigation. The final judgment cast aside completely disgusted and defeated.

Now, it is this fear of another, a second imminent ‘defeat’ that is stirring the ‘Paksh Muslim’. And against this, the euphoria of adrenaline that runs through the ‘hindu paksh’—finally, after hundreds of years of humiliation, there is a chance to correct the ‘mistakes of history’.

As the wise lady wrote: “We don’t need proof that the Gyanvapi Mosque is built on the ruins of a Hindu temple… What we do need is proof that we haven’t suddenly gone mad.” True, but the lady she wrote about also has her own gremlins to fight, the ones that grew out of ‘love-jihad’ gone wrong!

The Supreme Court has said its article on the Gyanvapi case. Half the country hails the SC, the other half is gloomy at the high court’s ‘balancing act’. Like everything related to Gyanvapi, since he was turned to rubble by order of Aurangzeb, this SC decision is also victory for one side and defeat for the other.

Then, after Aurangzeb’s bulldozer, it was the defeat of the ‘Hindu Paksh’. Today, after the high court refused to intervene, the defeat of the Muslim paksh is perceived to be defeated, unless the Places of Worship Act of 1991 comes into play. For the Hindu paksh, is there a sign that the government will will strive to muster courage and repeal the constitutionally mandated law?

But the feeling is that the Modi regime cannot be trusted. Even at its best, the Modi government is counterparty, jumping in opposite directions. At least that is what the Paksh Hindus criticize. On the other hand, ‘Why is Modi silent?’ starts to pick up momentum. Soon, he will become the talk of the town: Modi is, after all, an MP from Varanasi!

There are already people calling on President Joe Biden to return Modi to his “visa-free” past, correct a historic wrong, with a woman who reminds Biden of Gujarat 2002 and India at the “cusp of Muslim genocide.” It is alarmism. The high court seizes Gyanvapi. No need to stir up mob hysteria. Not everyone has to be Asaduddin Owaisi or Tauqeer Raza.

That said, at the moment, Varanasi is a tinderbox. A spark is all that is required. The headline “It’s our waqt, Ayodhya will happen in Kashi” is amazing. Can it be simpler? Beneath the headline was the pitiful cry. Muslims keep a low profile because “we don’t want Yogi and Modi’s bulldozer.”

A couple of famous TV presenters are selling the theory of the cohabitation of the mosque and the mandir. They must have gotten the idea from Judge DY Chandrachud’s reference to “hybrid places of worship.” The two presenters are eager to be a part of the historic exercise.

They forget that the ‘one God’ will never agree to be under the same tent with ’36 million gods’. It goes against the fundamentals of it, there is no compromise. It will be interesting to see how the country’s judiciary resolves this. Aurangzeb Alamgir did it with a farman, an edict. Aurangzeb was uncompromising, unforgivable. Had it not been for Aurangzeb, there would have been no “mistakes of history” to correct. (IPA Service)

Post-Gyanvapi Masjid/Mandir issue is more complex and volatile than Ayodhya first appeared in IPA Newspack.

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