Today while reading a news item on day-to-day hearing of the litigation about the title of land involving Ram Janmbhoomi-Babari Masjid dispute pending in the Supreme Court since more than eight years back when it stayed the judgment of Allahabad High Court of 2010, I realized how a skillful fiddling with the facts and phraseology can twist the case giving altogether different meaning, colour and implication. A well-known and famous private media group reported on the case as follows - “the dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, which right-wing activists believe was the birthplace of the Lord Ram. A 16th Century mosque - said to have been built by the Mughal Emperor Babur -- which stood at the spot was razed in December 1992 by right-wing activists who believed that a temple had to make way for it.”
Here the use of the phrase “right-wing activists” appears deliberate implying certain intentful connotation more so because in traditional sense the right-wing activists are interpreted as conservatives, elitists and reactionaries, often influenced with the movements like fascism, Nazism, and racial supremacy, considered as a threat for democracy and secularism. The established fact is that India has a population of over one billion Hindus and Ram is widely recognized and worshiped as manifestation of god. Ramayana and Mahabharata are two all-time great epics narrating the life events of Lord Ram and Ayodhya as his birthplace and Kingdom. References are also found in several other Hindu texts of more than two millennia vintage. Ram being a symbol of faith for the millions of Hindus in India and elsewhere, the attempt of restricting him to the belief of the alleged few “right-wing activists” is either too callous and careless or deliberately mischievous and derogatory.
As for the parties to the litigation, three currently listed parties are Ram Lalla Virajman, Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. Ram Lalla is represented by the trust ‘Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas’, which was set up by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1980 for construction of Ram temple at his birth place, interests of the Waqf Board is managed and controlled by All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Nirmohi Akhara is an assembly of Hindu saints / devotees of Lord Ram at Ayodhya. The move for the construction of temple at the site is as per the holy wish of millions of Hindus and suggestion that the right-wing activists want to build a temple by the particular media group is utterly insensible and ridiculous. It is true that many political parties of India, media and self-proclaimed intellectuals and liberals too have been fiddling with this long pending dispute and giving colours to it according to own vested interests.
The alleged media group has been in news since its inception so often for the wrong reasons. To illustrate a few cases, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed various cases against the media group managing director along with few officials of Doordarshan in 1998 for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The group was also involved in Radia tapes controversy in 2010. Presently too, the media group and its owners are under investigation for financial misdemeanours and malpractices under the Indian tax and corporate laws. Perhaps all these developments have led to their present nemesis where under they have resorted to finding faults with almost every decision of the present ruling dispensation and issues involving the welfare of the majority community.
I have often marked the duplicity of politicians of the grand old political party, particular section of media and intellectuals and liberals in my blogs with anguish and resentment for their continuous mockery and false narratives over many critical issues representing cultural history and religious beliefs of the majority population in India. They do it in furtherance of their policy of promoting minorities, particularly Muslim community, at the cost of majority population, so much so that secularism in the country has become synonymous with their constant pampering and appeasement of the former. People may have not forgotten how on one hand, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is credited for the removal of the locks of the disputed structure in 1985 to enable devotees to perform puja of Ram (infant deity), then the same government at Centre in 2007 filed affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge.
They called Lord Ram a fictional character in the Supreme Court contrary to the Hindu faith and belief that the Ram Setu (bridge) was built by Lord Rama's vaanar sena. Later the BJP government submitted a fresh affidavit in the apex court stating their resolve to explore an alternative to the earlier alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Channel project without affecting or damaging the Adam's Bridge/Ram Setu in the interest of the nation. Similarly, numerous other instances can be quoted when self-proclaimed intellectuals have been selective while picking up issues affecting the interest and welfare of the communities in the nation. This commonality of approach and action promoting certain communities at the cost of others is largely on account of their shared interests and objectives; hence I at times say they are part of the same ecosystem.
One cannot say or expect much from the politicians and political parties to change but a massive electorate is available in the country to scrutinize and evaluate their conduct and contribution periodically, and reward or punish them accordingly. However, the media and intellectuals are free from any formal scrutiny but they have important role in the collective nation building; the former through correct and constructive reporting and speaking for the truth and right cause while the latter are important as torch bearers of society in playing crucial role of guiding and advising people. Therefore, they must conduct responsibly with a fair and objective approach equally towards all communities. The society and nation cannot afford them to be selfish, biased and selective.