Rajeev Dhavan, the advocate for Muslim parties in the Ram Janambhoomi land dispute, appears to be clutching at straws while he makes a case for the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. In the process, he is making statements that are indefensible.
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) October 14, 2019
“Aurangzeb was one of the most liberal rulers,” said Dhavan and if reports are to be believed, it created a flutter in the Court as well. In reality, what Dhavan said is not far from the truth. Liberalism, as it has come to mean in the 21st century, is pretty much in alliance with the ideology that Aurangzeb championed. At times, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the two.
It is not disputed in civilized circles that Aurangzeb was one of the most vicious tyrants to have ever lived. He embodied the worst of humanity and was a religious fanatic who indulged in terrible persecution of Hindus. He was a personification of everything that is wrong with Monotheism. These facts are not debatable nor are they debated in polite company.
The fact that an advocate as senior as Rajeev Dhavan could make such a statement in the highest court of the country, knowing fully well that he will have to suffer no consequences for it, is an indictment of secular democracy itself. A person could not ever claim that Adolf Hitler was a virtuous man and defend him without suffering severe consequences for it. However, Aurangzeb, who was as much of a tyrant as Hitler is still revered by a section of the Indian population and they feel emboldened enough to make a defence of him in the Supreme Court.
For too many years, Aurangzeb has been the litmus test for secularism. Only if you were willing to whitewash a million crimes of Aurangzeb, defend his atrocities and sing effusive praise of him could you be honoured with the title of ‘secular’ and be inducted into the elite Lutyens cabal that has dominated the corridors of political and academic power all this while? They continue to dominate it even now but they realize that their power is on the decline.
There is a particular quote by a wise man that I am fond of quoting which explains why Aurangzeb is the litmus test for secular credentials among many other things. It goes, “In many ways, nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth. Anyone can believe in the truth. To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army.” The words perfectly explain why it’s necessary to swear by the honour of Aurangzeb to be admitted into the Lutyens club: It’s a demonstration of loyalty.
Dhavan’s effusive praise for Aurangzeb captures brilliantly the essential position in favour of Babri Masjid. It can be summarized as “Aurangzeb was a pious man, so was Babur. Islamic intolerance in medieval India is a figment of the imagination. Babri has always been there, it doesn’t matter what happened to the Mandir underneath. Just give us our Babri back and uphold secularism.” An endorsement of this position is an endorsement of Radical Islam and Jihad.
The Babri position also elucidates everything that is wrong with secularism in India. It is precisely the brand of secularism that was thoroughly rejected by the Indian population in 2014 and again in 2019 with an even bigger mandate. It is the same brand of secularism that wants to preserve Jammu & Kashmir as an Islamic State in India. Rightly or wrongly, liberalism currently is not much different from Radical Islam in the objectives both these factions wish to accomplish. In that way, Aurangzeb was truly one of the most liberal rulers. And it’s also why liberalism was rejected by Indians in two consecutive general elections.