Demolishing the Vision of Vivekananda, Gandhi and Ambedkar
On December 6 Ambedkar left the world
The tragic demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 grievously hurt the whole nation. It caused irreparable damage to Hinduism and the secular foundation of our Republic. It was a demonstration of the upsurge of barbarism and completely negated the ethos of the freedom struggle – and the vision of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R.Ambedkar.
The calculated plan to destroy the mosque and monument was nothing but the brutal privileging of one religion over other another. Therefore, it remains inconsistent with the civilisational values and constitutional morality which mandate the coexistence of all faiths – encapsulated in the cherished ideals of Sarvadharma Samabhaava.
It is indeed traumatic that the divisive and destructive spirit associated with the destruction of Babri Masjid is being intensely replicated by the National Democratic Alliance regime in twenty-first century India.
A venomous atmosphere is being created by mischievous ideas rooted in cow vigilantism, love jihad and other tools employed to spread bigotry, hatred and disharmony in society based on faith. It is painful to see all such twisted ideas being consciously taken forward by the ruling elites, who imperil the shared values defining our composite culture.
The leadership guided by such convoluted ideas is espousing the cause of muscular nationalism, and reducing citizenship of India to one’s religious identity.
Never in the history of our Republic have such diabolical tendencies informed the actions of the leaders of public life entrusted with the responsibility of running the affairs of state.
The political leadership, which invokes the revered names of Vivekananda, Gandhi and Ambedkar, should be mindful of their vision, which runs contrary to the ideology and outlook that violently brought down Babri.
Swami Vivekananda after completing his triumphant visit to America said in a speech in Chennai that Hindus built mosques for Muslims in India, and churches for Christians, and would continue to do so in face of all adverse circumstances.
He conjured up a vision of India in terms of Vedantic brain and Islamic body.
Such a lofty idea stood shattered on December 6. How sad that those who consider Vivekananda their icon completely destroyed his grand vision of India, rooted in equal respect for all faiths.
Similarly, on December 6, 1992 the vision of Mahatma Gandhi stood shattered. During the tragic times marked by the Partition of India, when some refugees coming from Pakistan to Delhi angrily expressed their desire to occupy some of the mosques and convert them into residences, it was Gandhiji who cautioned that such acts on the part of Hindus would mean the end of Hinduism.
If the conversion by Hindus of mosques to residences would have resulted in the end of Hinduism, then one can well imagine what catastrophic consequences there will be for Hinduism if a mosque is destroyed by invoking that religion.
The late President K.R.Narayanan, while presiding over the Rajya Sabha as its Chairman in December 1992, said with deep pain that the destruction of the Babri mosque was the worst tragedy India faced since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
December 6 is a solemn day for two reasons. It was on this day that Babri was demolished. And it was on the same day that Dr Ambedkar attained Pari Nirvaana and left this mortal world.
On this day the nation pays tribute to Ambedkar for his monumental contributions in drafting our country’s Constitution, which is not only the fundamental law of the land, but also the foremost document guaranteeing social and economic rights to all citizens in an equal manner, and providing special safegurads to minorities and the deprived sections of society.
It was Ambedkar who eloquently said in his last speech to the Constituent Assembly, that with the operation of the Constitution for the governance of India the application of the constitutional method by all concerned, in every domain of life, must be followed in word and deed.
By way of abundant caution Ambedkar alerted us that without the constitutional method there would be only the grammar of anarchy, and the independence achieved by India would be lost forever.
26 years after the demolition of Babri there is indeed grammar-anarchy and animosity all around society and the body politic. Those who pulled down the mosque in a violent manner trampled upon all constitutional methods. As a result we now confront a situation determined by the grammar of anarchy and acrimony.
On the solemn occasion of the Maha Parinirvan Day of Dr Ambedkar, let the nation be guided by his vision – a vision based on constitutional morality – and salvage our Republic from the mortal anarchy unleashed by the forces which demolished that mosque.
The cultivation of constitutional morality, which B.R.Ambedkar prescribed to the newly created Republic of India, has to be the categorical imperative for twenty-first century Indians.
We must stem the counter-culture of reaction based on Hindutva and defeat it.