Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Babri verdict and me. And us.

Time and age has made us realise that the most complicated kind of relationships (yes! I speak in the facebook lingo, any problem?) exist between man and woman. The coexistence however forced or chosen is bound to give rise to some amount of friction which is unavoidable. But it turns out to be enjoyable in most of the cases. Imagine your smoked hilsa without the adequate share of green chillies. There you go! spice is the way of life. But not always.

This is not about man-woman relationship. In case you thought it to be so, it's entirely my fault since I keep on writing about that stuff. My friends call me a hopeless romantic and I don't mind. More so because of the fact that being serious and drab doesn't come easy to me. But somehow I don't feel good about September 24. Yes! it's the day that many in this country have been dreading about and that includes our elected body of representatives who have gone ahead to form the Government. A few days back a regular (those boring government scheme types) advertisement caught my eye. Not because of it's presentation (they seriously need to work on that) but because of the content. It was an appeal on part of the Government of India, 'the Government of the people, by the people and for the people India' to maintain peace after the Babri Masjid judgement is delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on September 24th. Frankly speaking the romantic in me wasn't happy. Neither did I see a reason to be so. The gloom of the situation had rubbed off.
As a law student I won't go into the technicalities of the numerous (to the extent hilarious) affidavits filed in this particular matter on issues which only vote bank politics (with a tint of orange and green both- their is no discrimination there you see!) can justify. My coffee table discussions with colleagues will suffice for that. and to think of it, this is just the beginning of the long drawn litigation process with avenues up to the Supreme Court of India being open. And now with the new found demand of an out of court settlement in form of an arbitration proceeding finding ground with one judge (dissenting on the count that his views were not taken into account before rejection of an affidavit supporting out of court settlement) all I can say is- picture abhi baki hain mere dost! Trust me! the Government supports this view in that public appeal too. I will keep short and simple here. That I am scared. I am very very scared.
I am scared because I fear for my family back home in Calcutta. I am scared because I have relatives living in the Hyderabad city. I am scared because I am here alone with a bunch of friends in Hyderabad. My father is supposed to make an official trip to Bombay in and around the time the verdict comes out and am hellbent on not letting him go. Is this the kind of atmosphere that the citizens of a country with supposedly one of the best economic growth rates in the world supposed to live in?? In fear??
In fear of an 18 year old ghost that comes back to haunt us every 6th December?????? I have my political leanings and be rest assured I don't prefer passing judgements on the saffron, secular or red brigade anytime soon.  But somewhere they boil down to the same leaning for titillation in politics. the basis of political theory of state (I know very little of that) is fearlessness. Fear leads to a state of anarchy, and aren't we headed there? I have been advised not to venture out in the city for atleast a week after the verdict. Hyderabad is known for it's mixed culture across religion and all credits to the people out here, I have never seen turmoil in the parts I have ventured in. But then isn't applying 144 CrPC the easiest way out during the ganapati visarjan and the eid celebrations every year in the old city?? What is it, if not fear? Tell me if I am reading too much into it.
I have cyber forensics as one of my seminar subjects in my final year of law school. We were supposed to make a trip to one of the forensic laboratories in the city form campus as a part of the course curriculum. But unfortunately we have to wait for some more time before that materialises. The Australian exchange student on campus asked me, why? I didn't have an answer. It isn't that she hasn't seen the ugly side of racial attacks in Australia. But living in fear is not justified anywhere right?
There are two bits of image which I think I will carry with myself forever. 18 years back I was a kid, my memory doesn't recall everything but yes I knew Curfew was a dreaded word. My mom and dad ran to the market nearby my house along with pishimoni, chotoamma and dadubhai to buy groceries and eggs when the curfew was relaxed for two hours. My pishimoni earlier used to saty ver close to our place, in fact just two houses removed from ours. My amma used to go there everyday and I used to tag along with her. No wonder she decided to visit their place after so long during those two hours. We were late.....suddenly the curfew was back and we couldn't come back....we might have over reacted, but a generous policeman helped me and amma walk back that distance. Can we always?...The distance between us have grown so much that walking back now is not even an option. The rest of India celebrated Ganesh Chatrurthi and Eid with elan. Nobody had time to think about Kashmir. And t think of those days when my amma's father's most trusted aide (he was a government contractor in erstwhile purbobongo) was a muslim man (I don't recall his name). Am sure many of us have heard stories like that and of those gory days like I did when my amma's  affluent family had to walk past the border with seven daughters in tow (or may be six since my amma was alreayd married by then). The fright of checkposts never made my amma welcome the birth of a girl child in our family. Too much of friction in a relationship makes for an overkill you see. you need the phases of sweetness in between, but unfortunately for us it always turns into an issue of us and them. Man and woman relationships have a hint of counselling attached- not in this case. Faith takes the centre stage.

So what if the Babri judgement says something decisively (that's plain and stupid) about the site beloging to one particular sect, will I stop being friendly with my muslim classmate who helped me so much with the passport formalities in Hyderabad? or will the family of Sumitra mashi, my domestic help in Calcutta or Sharda or the Needzwali aunty start earning more to fulfill their needs of two square meals a day. To tell you the truth, they will live in fear..more fear, just like I am now.

and the Constitution guarantees freedom of movement, conscience..blah blah blah....

P.S.- The Taliban destroyed the buddha statues in Bamiyan. did that alter history? or did it somehow prove that Buddhism never had reach on the land they claim to be their own? And who does that land belong to? You, me or God? How does that matter? I am scared.
P.P.S- It's my best friend's birthday today. Celebrated well. But this nagging fear had been there on back of my mind which forced this 3'o clock in the night blog entry.


  1. We live in a distorted reality, under the garb of democracy.
    I think our democracy is most abused and is proving to be the boon and the bane of our country.

    purely from a legal standpoint - cases like Ajmal kasab or Babri Masjid or for that matter Godhra riots should not be delayed so long that the punishment loses it s impact and bite. any unruly protests should be banned whatever be the outcome.

    Good thoughtful post and I echo your sentiments of dilemma and fear.

  2. Very thoughtful!! Though racial attacks are common even in well developed countries, fear looms in a larger way in our country, thanks to vote-bank politics.

    Also, it is a pity that majority of the people just look at one side of the coin. If someone is accused of keeping this issue alive for years, it is also true that, there are people who have consolidated a political business, spreading false propaganda against him.

    As a lawyer, your insights on the legal aspects would be greater. But, I pity the judge who'll be passing the judgment. :)

  3. Hey gb, thanks. I agree with you on the point that there should be speedy disposal of cases especially of this kind..only in this matter I feel its really stupid to approach the court about whether the land actually belonged to which of the warring faction....yes! thats one of the issues as far as I am primary question is what will change from that?? and can any point of history be conclusively decided?
    @banerjee, thanks for commenting :-). But I don't classify them as racial attacks..they are more of attacks in form of vested interests. I agree people have kept the issue alive, but is it always propaganda or is it always that simple? Also I wrote this post form a common man perspective.... I vote and I elect the people over there, why the hell should I live in fear? and be rest assured nothing will happen to the judge..he will head some enquiry committee after retirment.

  4. I agree with you Paushali. It is a moot point now.

  5. thank you anirban. it all comes down to that core question :-)

  6. These guys keep fighting over who destroyed which temple/mosque 500, or a 1,000 years back....wonder why no one points out, in the same breath, that 50,000 or so years back, we were all apes and the like?

    Am reading Arun Shourie's "Indian Controversies: Essays on Religion in Politics" right now, and I'd recommend it to you.... Also planning to read "Ayodhya: Demolishing a Dream" by CR Irani.

    I'm convinced now that this is just a political problem and nothing more....created by our politicians and kept alive by them...all meaningful discourse has been snuffed out and high pitched rhetoric has taken its place. Political parties on both sides stand to gain - there posturing ensures that their respective vote banks stay intact. The common man suffers. Wonder when this will end.

    Loved the way you articulated your thoughts....made for a nice, thought provoking read.

  7. Thank you swayambhu da. I have heard Shourie's book is quite an interesting read. Now that you have recommended it, will definitely read it up.

  8. i meant "their posturing ensures..." in my previous comment...and yes, ur most welcome.


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