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In the last couple of days, I've read reports of Venkiah Naidu (BJP chief) and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (the Art of Living foundation chap) exhorting Muslims to give away the disputed land in Ayodhya to Hindus as a mark of brotherhood and friendship so that the squabbles and disputes (obviously they wouldn't add words like rioting, killings, terror etc.) over the temple/mosque. This really baffles me. Why cant they ask Hindus to give up ownership claims to the disputed area? Why can't they ask the Hindus (mind you, they claim that all real Hindus want the temple to be built there. I don't qualify, I'm an agnostic) to relinquish attempts to take control of the land? Surely brotherhood/friendship etc. cannot be one-way, can it? What is really painful is the way we're forced to use words like disputed area/territory etc. We use this in the context of say Aksai Chin or Pakistan occupied Kashmir etc. But applying those words to a place which is very much in India, whose accession to India can never be disputed, now that is really ridiculous, isn't it?
Yesterday was one year since the massacre at Godhra. I was stupefied when during a discussion on a news channel, one of the speakers (from the BJP, obviously), said "Why can't we forget what happened at Godhra and afterwards? We should move on. The Gujarat government is giving incentives for villages which don't see riots by providing a Rs. 1 lakh prize on an annual basis.". No self-respecting individual with the least sense would subscribe to this. While it is true that sometimes we're too taken in by what happened in the past and don't focus on the current and on the future, this isn't one of those situations. Why can't the same argument be applied when the Babri masjid was destroyed? Surely it was done (planned or part of mob fury) because those who were responsible for fanning the flames of hate kept harping on the fact that nearly 400 odd years ago, the Mughal emperor Babar demolished Lord Rama's birthplace and built a mosque over it. So the BJP wants us to forget what happened one year ago, but was guilty of asking their followers to not forget what happened 400 odd years ago? Double standards, me thinks.
Labels: gujarat violence 2002
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