The Indian Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Ram Mandir/Babri Mosque controversy. Hindus will now have the right to build a mandir on the site; and the Muslims have been allotted five acres of land for the construction of a mosque.
One writer praised the resilience of the Hindu community to pursue a resolution of this dispute that is more than 500 hundred years old. He argued that it is possibly the first time in the history of humanity that an issue has been fought for such a long period before a resolution is arrived at.
The Hindu psyche has a capacity to settle disputes. Only recently Shekhar Gupta of Cut the Clutter discourse spoke of the resolution of the conflict in Nagaland. He argued that it is only a matter of months before a full resolution is arrived at.
Gupta said that the Indian approach has never been to alienate the “enemies” but to give the alienated the opportunity to change their strategy and embrace the democratic and constitutional way. In Nagaland, the leaders of the revolt will be allowed to come forward and vie for political power through free and fair elections. This strategy was successfully employed in Mizoram and other states and today these territories are well integrated with the federal State.
Negotiation is a way to bring about an agreement that would be beneficial to all the contentious individuals and groups. The Nirmohi Akhara, a group of devotees that look after the welfare of the deity, filed a case as a litigant but its submission was late. Nevertheless, the court ruled that it must be made a member of the trust to look after the mandir.
It is heartening to know that this human quality has not been lost. But can we say the same for Hindus in the diaspora? Do Hindus in the diaspora understand the art of negotiation? The truth is Hindus are never in dispute with each other because they don’t ever come together in the first place! The late Mungal Chattergoon argued that Hindus have a Red Indian mindset, living in clans and fighting with each other. That was so until the 1990s and today that has changed. Hindus are no longer living in clan; most have opted for the nuclear or single family. Elders have no place in this nuclear family structure. They are either left to live alone or sent to a senior citizens’ home when incapacitated. As for the cost of care at the home, this is paid by the old aged grant or pensions the elders receive monthly.
Our public buildings are mainly named after non-Indians. But that is not an issue for the Indians to challenge publicly but only to mumble about in funeral, wakes and rum shops. Hindus are not supposed to have grievances beyond food, clothing and shelter. To question why the airport is not named after Basdeo Panday is being racist; to question why so many public institutions are named after Dr Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister, is again stoking the fires of racism. The truth is the Hindu consciousness does not go beyond himself!
Hindus are fighters but only for themselves. I should say Hindus in the diaspora! Hindus have alienated themselves not just from the community. The average Hindu has murdered his family. He is a big fan of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution ‘survival of the fittest’ and his justification of a ‘dog eat dog’ culture.
What we find publicly displayed is not the Hindu self but a masquerade of a hybrid-self brought about by education. We are not bothered to determine the content of the curriculum. Desperate for a certificate we simply devour whatever is dished out in the classrooms. Critical thinking is alien to Hindus. We have failed to separate the truth from the propaganda. We graduate from universities convinced that we are consumers of goods and services; not potential entrepreneurs and owners of capital.
Fighting for a 500 year-old mandir is interpreted as foolish. The advice some detractors barked is to build a hospital on the site. It is this Darwinian survival culture that has reduced us to the level of animals.
But the one lesson to learn from the struggle of the Ram Mandir was that the simple devotees-the sadhus- that kept the flame of Ram Mandir burning. In 1992 when the Babri Majid was torn to the ground, the assault was led by Sadhus. They did not wait on Advani’s instruction. It was their faith in Sri Ram that propelled them forward. They did not weigh their intention with their intellect but allowed their hearts to instruct their actions
Jai Sri Ram