Twenty Years After Babri…

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SOME EVENTS in history leave a deep scar on the collective conscience of a nation. The demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 and the nationwide communal riots that followed make up perhaps one of the darkest chapters in modern Indian history. Twenty years later, a lot has changed. There have been attempts at collective healing. There have been exhortations to move on. The post-Babri generation forms the youth brigade of India today. TEHELKA asked some of these men and women in their 20s what Ayodhya means to them.

Gursimranjeet Khamba, 26
Stand-up comedian, Mumbai
‘Much like other key events in Indian history, like the 1984 pogrom, I remember Ayodhya too being jarringly glossed over in our history books. Twenty years on, I feel part of the struggle is to remind and educate young people on what exactly happened and its impact on our socio-cultural fabric’
Lenin Kumar, 25
President, JNU, New Delhi
‘Not only was the communal campaign incorrect but it created scapegoats of the Muslim community and led the communal forces to power. It’s extremely important for the Left in this country to destroy the communal forces’
Neel Debdutt Paul, 26
Journalist
‘Being six years old at that time, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened, but I remember the sense of palpable sensation of dread and fear. I hope the 6th of December continues to be a reminder to the whole country of that dread. Though the cynic in me appreciates how unrealistic that sounds in the context of our fractured communities’
Anshul Tiwari, 24
Editor, Youth Ki Awaaz,
‘A lot of political and non-political view is to move on but in a country like India forgetting this incident will further harm the idea of plurality that’s the base of India’s nationhood’
Amit Kumar, 26
Student, Delhi University
‘The repercussion was that Hindu fascism entered into our mass psychology. If not challenged, the result can be no way less than what happened in Hitler’s Germany’
Umar Khalid, 24
Student, JNU, Delhi
‘It was a message for the Muslims. The events that ensued revealed how all the institutions of the State came together to deliver this message repeatedly in brutal ways’
Alsaba Akhtar, 22
Student, TISS, Mumbai
‘The riots led to an increasing insecurity and ghettoisation of the Muslim community. The Sachar Committee report was valuable but one is yet to see the actual implementation’
Nandini Dey, 22
Activist, NCPRI, Delhi
‘It is shameful that 20 years after the demolition and 10 years after the Gujarat riots, much of middle- class India is able to value efficiency and honesty above human life’
Smrithi Sundareshan, 22
Filmmaker, Delhi
‘We are a bunch of hypocrites, which is why we have failed to learn from India’s communal past’
Pragun Bashisht, 23
Student, Delhi University
‘Babri Masjid is a metaphorical monument that reminds us how fragile is India’s plural identity, because it laid bare the fact that the majority thinks Hinduism is a superior religion’
Nabeela Jamshed, 24
Author, Delhi
‘This generation is too reasonable to ignore the fact that communal harmony is beautiful and economically sound’
Ashish Mandhwani, 25
Student, JNU, Delhi
‘The onus is on the current generation to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated. Ayodhya is a big black mark, but then the darkest nights give way to the brightest days’

Compiled by Soumik Mukherjee and Shazia Nigar

6 COMMENTS

  1. Everyone calls Ayodhya a black mark and brands Hindus as communal. If a Hindu doesn’t say that Hindus are communal, the so called “intellectuals or secularists” immediately start suspecting his secular credentials. This now have reach such a state that for a Hindu to be accepted by people of other faith as secular, he needs to denounce Hindus as communal, find fault with his faith, question the very existence of his gods, stop worshiping in temples.

    Demolishing a place of worship belonging to any religion is bad, but what happened in Ayodhya was not just plain communalism. It was the anger and frustration caused by discrimination against the Hindus right from the time of modern India’s creation, which came out in the form of a unified movement against a structure which came to be seen as a symbol of oppression of the Hindu aspirations not just in matters of religion, but in every sphere of his life.

    So please stop saying that what happened in Ayodhya was plainly a communal issue and start understanding the fact that in the land called Hindustan, Hindus need to be given an equal platform along with other religions who enjoy an exalted status.

  2. i dont think our new youth will ever realise how free sprited we roamed & what that title meant comparing to New York “A city that never sleeps”, no 10 PM deadlines, no communal faultlines. It overshadowed the entire reforms & opening of our economy & it actually took us 45 years back into time. A few people’s greed for power ruined it all. They could have gained power anyways through hard work by fighting for better causes, but they chose to use attack the guilible mind which was showcased as attacks of communal nature.

  3. the very question i would like to raise here is

    1) Why are we talking about history and that too after 20 years, is there no history before 20 years irrespective of the religion.

    2) Why there is no such article about division of India and debate about the people responsible for India.. never heard 75 years or 77 years after batwara… please anyone if possible clarify whether the division of india was purely based on religion or not;;;

    3) Why are hindus always treated in India as the most easy and soft targets to comment about and pin point mistakes or i call blunder done by its some leaders?

    4) Is there any data with anyone that how many temples have been demolished in Pakistan and how many in India? In india how many incidents have taken place at the demolition of temples in various part of the country if built illegaly?

    5) How many quotas are there for Hindu and how many for Muslims?? if the quota is based on economic conditions no issue but if on history then how can one ask or can be given quota on basis of their ancestral history if the history says that mughals have ruled the country before British rule for many hundred years.

    6) How many authors, Editors and media houses raise issues about two types of acts based on Religion and float a debate?

    The reason is simple that hindus are peace loving and not united…one person whips everyone follows that never happens in hindus. its better we do not scratch the wounds of anyone and move on the path of uniting all the religion and work for betterment of india rising above such issues instead of keeping the wound alive between the communities..
    Jai Hind

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