In every civilised society, whenever grave historical wrongs are done by a particular community on another community, it is recognised and corrected to whatever extent possible. Apologies are given by people who have not committed the wrongs on behalf of their ancestors. It is important for Muslims to apologise to Hindus for all the temples destroyed by their ancestors. As the Ram Temple hearing has resumed, we need to tell the Muslims of India about the concept of historical reparations.
Examples and utility of historical reparations
In America, the white community has an affirmative action program for minorities and women. Similarly, in India, the entire Hindu community repents for historic wrongs done on Dalits and Adivasis. Therefore, we have made special provisions for their welfare and upliftment in the constitution.
Even the whites of South Africa who ran the oppressive Apartheid system confessed to their fellow citizens and made lasting peace through the truth and reconciliation commission. As a result of this honest exercise in acknowledging wrongs by the whites, the society was able to quickly heal and return to normalcy. As a result, violence and strife were avoided.
Wounds inflicted on a community in the past cannot be undone. But they can be soothed and justice can be done partially when acknowledged honestly and some corrective action is taken. If the past wrongs are brushed under the carpet or rationalised using some sort of logic, then the wounds of past fester forever. They will take an ugly form of hatred and culminate in violence.
Muslim community has been insulated from the wrongs committed by their ancestors
The RSS/right-wing claims that the Muslims who reside in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were once Hindus and they have left their original faith because of conversion. However, this fact is plainly rejected by Muslims of India. They take pride in the Islamic empires that ruled India in the past. The recent example of Tipu Jayanti celebrated in Karnataka is an example for this. In fact, one of the reasons for partition of India in 1947 was the loss of prestige among Muslims as they had been reduced from a ruling class to a ruled class.
In spite of the bloody history of conversions, temple desecration and finally the partition, the Muslim community has escaped all scrutiny and criticism for their past acts. One wonders the reason for this studied silence on all the atrocities committed by forefathers of Muslims in India. Probably, it is done to preserve the secular fabric of India
The sole credit for festering wounds of the Hindus all over India is due to the firm conviction of the establishment to not acknowledge the historical wrongs of Muslims in order to ‘preserve’ communal harmony. Had these wounds inflicted by rulers like Aurangzeb/Babur, been acknowledged and addressed, we would not have had communal hatred and violence in India. Worse still, these ‘secular liberals’ strive to wash off or rationalise the barbaric acts of Muslims from history books.
We cannot defend the uncivilised destruction of the Babri Masjid. At the same time, we can’t deny the frustration and pent-up anger in the mob which culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Had it been addressed in the past, it would not have manifested in the form it did.
While the law takes its own course, at the same time, the country’s Muslims must not forget that their ancestors have destroyed hundreds (or thousands) of Hindu temples in the past. And, they must agree to give back a few sites as historical reparations to the Hindus of India. This will go a long way in generating goodwill between the two religions in India.
Communalism of majority more dangerous than communalism of minority – Nehru
When Nehru was addressing an open session of All India Congress Committee on 11 May 1958 said :
Communalism of the majority is far more dangerous than communalism of the minority
The Prime minister had also said that only through social cohesiveness could the nation make progress. But he had not understood that the social cohesiveness is not a one-sided affair. It must be a mutual feeling. Threats to social cohesiveness, including historical animosities must be addressed openly and honestly to make way for harmony. The festering historical wounds of Hindus has only been aggravated by this partisan attitude to the issue of communalism. This is the reason for the stupendous electoral success of BJP during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
Make way for temples in most holy sites of India
The Ram temple was questioned by many because it was buried under the ground. But there is something which is very visible and ugly reminder of Islamic oppression of the past. The Kashi Vishwanath temple (also known as Gyanvapi mosque) in Varanasi. How do the Muslims and secular politicians propose to gloss over this structure?
One would have expected Muslims to accept their mistake in demolishing the temple and handing it over to Hindus. But there is a case going on in this issue as well. But they go on to say that a mosque once built can never be destroyed or moved from its location. This is a lame excuse as we know that a mosque was demolished after payment of 35 lakh compensation to make way for a highway in UP recently.
All Muslims of India don’t share this feeling. The chief of Shia Wakf board, Wasim Rizvi has openly supported the Ram temple. There may be many more voices like him. The media and all other politicians must listen to them and start the process of healing historical wounds persisting among Hindus of India.