Flipping through the pages of Dr. Meenakshi Jain’s incredibly well-researched and masterpiece of a book ‘The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya’ on a cosy Sunday evening raised numerous uncomfortable questions – questions that would have perhaps been labelled as staunchly “anti-secular” by my professors who taught me to look at history that was filtered through only one standard narrative. This is the same narrative that has not even spared the judiciary too! It is based on the political intolerance of an idea that is rooted in Hindu traditions, its history and civilisational ethos and symbols. Blatant, anti-Hinduism has flourished under the garb of the grand Nehruvian secularism project. As a result, truth was buried somewhere deep down, while a misplaced version of Western (European) secularism came to define “intellectual history writing” in post-Independent India. However, thanks to the growing importance of social media in the recent times, the authenticity of this narrative has seriously come to be questioned and challenged.
While the doors of the Supreme Court of India can open at midnight for reconsidering the death penalty of a dreaded terrorist like Yakub Memon, a judgement that is concerned with the cultural and civilisational pride of Bharat is kept lingering on and on for years after years! Ironic indeed! Each and every means, including legal and constitutional, has been deployed to block the justified demands of the Hindus to reclaim their religious spaces with dignity and honour. E.g. the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 was in fact brought in by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government with the sole motive of preventing any Ram-Janmbhoomi like movements by Hindus in the near future. It specifically prohibited the conversion of any place of worship and also provided for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947. This controversial piece of legislation was rooted in a new kind of constitutional immorality against Hindus, Jains and Buddhists in India whose religious places of worship had been destroyed and converted into mosques by Muslim invaders.
Dr. Meenakshi Jain, in her book, gives numerous examples of Arabic, Persian, and Urdu literature composed in the 19th century which explicitly referred to the demolition of the temple in Ayodhya and its replacement by the Babri Masjid. Later, after the British takeover of Awadh, all official records and district gazetteers of the colonial state unanimously spoke of the Babri Masjid as occupying the site of the temple.
Several foreign travellers and British administrators too were of the belief that the Babri Masjid was built at the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple. E.g. Joseph Tieffenthaler, one of the earliest European geographers to write about India, was the first to refer to the destruction of a temple at Rama’s birthplace by a Mughal ruler. He described Hindus as the worshippers of a religious structure in the form of a vedi (cradle) in the premises, but said nothing about Muslims offering namaaz. He also noted the large gatherings of Hindus on the occasion of Rama Navami in this place.
Although a few “eminent historians” of this country had left no stone unturned to spin their agenda-peddling narrative and deny the true facts, it was finally on November 9, 2019, that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously awarded the entire disputed land at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya for the construction of a temple dedicated to Shri Ram. A much-awaited verdict, it tore apart the intellectual arrogance of the Left and its utterly ill-informed, distorted notions of secularism which were, unfortunately, quite successful in giving a ‘communal’ tilt to the issue over the years. Hindu kar-sevaks who gave up their lives fighting for the cause were portrayed as the villains baying for the blood of their fellow Muslims. In fact, it was much earlier in September 1990 that L.K. Advani’s Rath Yatra symbolically marked the beginning of the end of a toxic secularism which has always been used to either guilt-trip the Hindus for their religious identity or eke out disproportionate concessions from them.
No wonder, these smart but strategic machinations of the Congress-Left combine have inflicted its maximum damage upon the Indian education system. It has produced a generation of Hinduphobic, direction-less Indian youth for whom being ‘politically fashionable’ means ridiculing Indian traditions and customs and cracking imbecile jokes to make a mockery of their own gods and goddesses and religious places of worship.
On August 5, 2020, Ayodhya is all set to witness the historic Bhoomi Pujan ceremony for the construction of the Ram Mandir, much to the ire of the elite gatekeepers of power who always take recourse to fancy academic jargons to manipulate the truth. This has been especially aimed at demoralising the Hindu psyche to the extent that it loses all its capacity to question, to resist. Quite unsurprisingly, this is the same elite Leftist-secular cabal which lodged a strong word of protest a few days back against the scheduled broadcast of the Bhoomi-Pujan ceremony on Doordarshan on the ground that it violates the ‘secular image’ of India.
This is their deceptive version of secularism which ends at demonising only Hindu religious rites and rituals. It has failed to seek an apology from their own countrymen for distorting true historical facts in order to suit a narrative that feeds on a venomous brand of identity politics in the name of caste oppression and minority discrimination. Those “secularists” and “public intellectuals” who have argued in favour of the establishment of a school or hospital in place of the Ram temple in Ayodhya have failed to understand the importance of temples in Sanatan Dharma as philanthropic institutions, which also help instil a sense of brotherhood by strengthening community bonds.
A day of utmost significance for Bharat’s civilisational history, the groundbreaking event at Ayodhya on August 5 will also be beamed across giant billboards in the iconic Times Square of New York amidst the presence of members of the Indian community residing there. Images of the words Jai Shri Ram in both Hindi and English along with the images and videos of Shri Ram, 3D portraits of the design and architecture of the grand Ram Mandir, as well as pictures of the foundation-stone laying of the temple by PM Narendra Modi will be displayed in this world-famous tourist destination. The PM’s decision to attend this event is laden with a very important cultural and symbolic message that the time has now arrived to re-define Indian secularism, to re-ignite an honest discussion and debate about the reality of the repressive regimes of the past and their attempts to wipe out and destroy places and symbols dear to the Hindu sentiments.
It celebrates the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream and desire of the Hindus, who have been the worst sufferers of a project that was created with the sole purpose of manufacturing divisions among them so that they can never unite. It also conveys the powerful message that Bharat is gradually emerging as a cultural and civilisational power to reckon with under the able leadership of PM Modi. If we Hindus have a centuries-old tendency to fragment which was undeniably one of the chief causes behind foreign invaders wreaking havoc on our culture and faith, we also have the sheer power to come along together and unite for the cause of that same faith. This is the eternal and intrinsic beauty of Sanatan Dharma which has survived despite all odds and adversities, and something which the Left has always failed to comprehend and accept.
August 5 also marks the completion of one year of the abrogation of Article 370 and subsequently, Article 35(A) that conferred ‘special status’ on the state of Jammu & Kashmir, which was thereafter split into two separate union territories – one of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislative assembly and another of Ladakh without a legislative assembly. Two years after the princely state of J&K had acceded to India after the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution of India in the year 1949. The move was vehemently opposed by several political leaders including Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabbhai Patel. However, it was Nehru’s fantabulous idea that violated all the basic principles of constitutional sanctity and which in fact, turned out to be one of the biggest ever political fiascos in the history of Indian democracy.
Article 370 has infamously stood out as the biggest roadblock in the integration of the state of J&K into the Indian Union. Whenever the issue of its abrogation was raised, vested interests took no time to play the victim card and raise an outcry that the “legitimate” rights of Kashmiris (read Kashmiri Muslims) were being trampled upon. It had endowed the special right on the state government of J&K to determine its own permanent residents which meant that it could effectively maintain control over the demography of the state.
In fact, the opposition of a few top-notch politicians from Kashmir against the repeal of Articles 35(A) and 370 had always been based on a malicious propaganda that implicitly supported the maintenance of the Valley’s religious homogeneity, even at the cost of the country’s national security. No wonder, the beautiful land of Rishi Kashyap and King Lalitaditya became the major breeding ground of Pakistan-sponsored Islamic terrorism, eventually leading to the mass genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. Self-proclaimed liberals and armchair intellectuals whose elite drawing-room discussions commonly center around their love for India’s diversity and secularism, have systematically ignored the forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley at the hands of Jihadis in their academic manuscripts!
Hence, the repeal of Articles 35(A) and 370 on the historic day of August 5, 2019, marked a monumental change ahead in the political discourse of Bharat, mired for so long in the liberal logic of tolerance and secularism. A few months later, in November 2019, noted political commentator and columnist Sunanda Vashisht, at a hearing by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, unapologetically identified herself as a ‘Kashmiri Hindu’ and not specifically Kashmiri Pandit, while referring to one of the worst ethnic cleansings witnessed in Independent India. Keeping political correctness aside while exposing a brutal reality, her terrific speech had brought to light the historical link between the persecution of Hindus and the spread of radical Islamic terror in India. By abrogating Article 370, team Modi nailed the enemy hard on its sinister religious and demographic designs.
But, the thread remains common, i.e. Islamic imperialism. If in the 15th century it had defiled and desecrated one of the most sacred places of worship of the Hindus on the banks of the Sarayu river, several hundreds of years later, it wiped away the Dharmic culture and civilisation from the land of Vaishno Devi and Sharda Peeth. While the so-called “Left-liberals” (quite an oxymoron!) have always found egoistic pleasure in their constant denial about the machinations of Islam to spread its tentacles across the world, the issue of migrants and illegal immigration has toppled governments and global political paradigms in the West. Arguments of a global village celebrating multiculturalism stink of the liberal hypocrisy that all civilisations are tolerant and that the world is a melting-pot of societies and cultures. No doubt, they all sound good on paper, but numerous unaddressed identity questions have been left behind by these narratives, doing more harm than good.
Hence, moving away from Kashmir to the gateway of the Northeast, i.e. Assam, August 5 here marks the 70th death anniversary of a forgotten hero in the corridors of Leftist history-writing which has almost erased him from our collective memory. A magnanimous historical personality and the first Chief Minister of Assam, Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi almost single-handedly fought for the inclusion of the ancient land of Pragjyotishpur with Bharatvarsha. Nehru had defied all the basic principles of constitutional morality while dealing with the unique problems of this state. Jinnah and the provincial Muslim league leaders such as Muhammad Sadullah and Moinul Haque Choudhury aspired for the whole of Assam, a Hindu-majority state, to be included into East Bengal while making Shillong their summer resort capital. Bordoloi stood out as an exemplum of a leader who relentlessly opposed the ill-conceived grouping proposal of the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 and was eventually successful in saving Assam from sliding into the hands of Pakistan.
It must be recalled here that during Sadullah’s Muslim League Ministry in Assam (1937-46), a concerted effort was being made to encourage the mass-migration of Bangladeshi Muslims into Assam chiefly for nourishing a political vote-bank. Before the Partition of India, it was planned by Moinul Haque Choudhury, the private Secretary of Jinnah, who after Independence, became a minister in the Assam cabinet and promised Jinnah that he would “present Assam to him on a silver platter”. Indeed, during the time of the Sylhet referendum, the East Pakistanis had declared, “We have taken Sylhet via referendum, we will take Assam via the power of the stick.” However, this plan was foiled, thanks to the efforts of Gopinath Bordoloi, and Assam was saved from becoming a part of Pakistan.
Senior journalist Daya Nath Singh in his article titled ‘Gopinath Bordoloi – The Man who Saved Assam from Becoming an Islamic State’ has written that on July 16, 1946, the Assam Legislative Assembly had adopted a resolution where Bordoloi had directed his ten elected representatives to not sit with the Bengal representatives while deliberating on the question of Assam. The Congress high command had erroneously perceived Assam’s opposition to becoming a part of East Pakistan as a roadblock to India’s Independence. But, that had not deterred Bordoloi’s steely resolve to maintain the integrity of Assam intact as a part and parcel of the Indian Union.
In fact, Bordoloi did not just fight to make sure that Assam stayed with India, but he continued to work as an activist thereafter too, raising his voice for the common people of Assam long after he had won the political battle. After Independence, he used to work closely with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for the protection of Assam’s sovereignty, including its continued separation from the borders with China and Bangladesh. He also helped organise the rehabilitation of millions of Hindu refugees who had fled East Pakistan due to widespread violence and intimidation on the ground of their religion in the immediate aftermath of the Partition.
Unfortunately, the Congress Party in collusion with a morally corrupt academia failed to give due credit to this epochal leader and its own politician who had once famously said, “He [Jinnah] might as well expect the moon come down to him but could never have Assam in his Pakistan.” It was only after the coming to power of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 that its very first Bharat Ratna – the country’s highest civilian honour – was conferred upon Gopinath Bordoloi. A life-size statue of him was also unveiled in the Parliament House building on October 1, 2002 by the then President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. All objective readers of Indian history must ponder over the fact as to why this realisation never dawned upon the Congress Party despite being in power for 50 long years!
If Islamic terror in Ayodhya and Kashmir has been about killings, conversions and destruction of religious places of worship, it has manifested itself by way of a silent demographic invasion in the land of the Vaishnavite Sattras and Shaktipeeth Kamakhya. Gopinath Bordoloi had salvaged Assam from Jinnah’s Pakistan, but 70 years after his death, Assam continues to bear the brunt of illegal immigration from across the border with Bangladesh. It is a serious political and economic question that has unfortunately been painted in the binaries of a secular versus communal debate by the liberal, English-speaking urban educated intelligentsia.
The Census data of 2011 reveals a steep rise in the migrant population in nine border districts of Assam. While Muslims constituted 30.9% of the population in 2001, this share jumped to 34.2% in 2011. Intelligence reports have also raised fingers at the activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its patron, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, which have been using madarsas that have sprouted in increasing numbers along the Indo-Bangladesh border, to infiltrate migrants into India to be used as spies.
Hence, it is important here to acknowledge the problem of radical Islam in the form that it has been in existence since the time of Muhammad-bin Qasim and Mahmud of Ghazni till the present. The liberal love for disparaging terms such as Islamophobia and xenophobia has prevented a healthy and genuine debate on the issue and ways to tackle it. These fancy nomenclatures have very much denigrated a community’s genuine sense of fear over an uncertain future by labelling it as “communal hatred” against a particular religious group. It is the fear of becoming a minority in one’s own land, the fear of cultural and political decimation, and the palpable reality of illegal occupation of limited agricultural lands and also lands belonging to Hindu religious sites by outsiders. Whether it be Kashmir, Ayodhya or Kamrupa, this deep sense of discontent in the minds of the Hindus is no longer an emotion that is to be overlooked or dismissed lightly under the garb of secularism!
Let August 5, 2020, mark the death of a fake, anti-Hindu secularism, the brunt of which has been borne throughout the length and breadth of the country. May August 5 herald the beginning of a new dawn, a new narrative in the history and civilisation of Bharatvarsha – the Bharatvarsha that binds different and disparate cultures and societies together from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south and from Gujarat in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and which nourishes the idea of oneness within its Sanatan culture and civilisational ethos. May Shri Ram enlighten all of us towards a new world order based upon Dharma and uprooting of all Adharma.
- Dr. Meenakshi Jain. (2017). The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya. Faizabad: Aryan Books International.
- Dr. Nirode K. Barooah. (1989). Gopinath Bordoloi: Indian Constitution and Centre-Assam Relations, 1940-1945. Assam: Publication Board of Assam, pp. 25-52.
- Rajat Sethi & Shubhrastha. (2017). The Last Battle of Saraighat: The Story of the BJP’s Rise in the North-East. India: Penguin Random House.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.