On Thursday (September 15), veteran Congress leader Jairam Ramesh courted controversy after he dubbed the opening of Babri Masjid, which eventually paved the path for the Ram Janmabhoomi struggle, a mistake.
In an interview with ex-AAP leader Ashutosh, Ramesh reminisced about the historical blunders of the Congress party. “We have made several mistakes. It is untrue that we did not commit any mistakes. Take the Shah Bano case for example or the opening of the locks of the Babri Masjid in 1986,” he said.
The Congress leader further added, “I do not want to delve into the history but all these events are recorded in history. And today we are paying the price for it.” It must be mentioned that the Rajiv-Gandhi government ordered the opening of Babri Masjid in February 1986, which has remained locked since 1949.
The Congress government took the drastic step in order to placate the Hindu community, who were miffed at the blatant Muslim appeasement policy of the party. The opening of the Babri Masjid, followed by a concerted campaign by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP, culminated in the Ramjanmabhoomi movement.
The movement mobilised lakhs of Hindus into realising the dream of a magnificent Ram Mandir at the site where Lord Ram was born. For Congress to call the opening of the Babri masjid, ‘a mistake’, is to deride the sentiments of the Hindu community that braved the tyranny of Mughal emperor Babur.
However, the grand old party is not new to mocking Hindu beliefs. On several occasions, seasoned party leaders have questioned the existence of Hindu deities and insulted the religious sentiments of the Hindu community.
Congress denied the existence of Lord Ram, opposed Ram Mandir
In 2007, an affidavit filed by the Congress-led government read, “Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature, but these cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters and occurrences of events depicted therein.”
The affidavit was filed to register the UPA government’s opposition to the demand to scrap the Sethusamudram project as it would damage the Ram Setu.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal fought the Ram Janmabhoomi case for the Sunni Waqf Board opposing the building of a magnificent Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. He also employed dilatory tactics and asked the apex court to delay the decision in the Ram Janmabhoomi case till the 2019 elections.
Another eminent Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had earlier claimed that no ‘good Hindu’ would want a Ram Mandir at the Babri site. Tharoor urged that one should instead have the Ram Mandir in one’s heart. In August 2020, Congress leader Kumar Ketkar denied the historical existence of Shri Ram and suggested that the Hindu God is a creation of literature.
“Ram exists because of Ramayan. However, a conclusion is yet to be reached on whether Ram is the creation of history or literature. Valmiki wrote a great epic and its impact was felt both in India and abroad. But, I don’t know if He existed in history,“ he had remarked.
On being questioned about his bizarre stance on the existence of Lord Ram, Kumar Ketkar tried to justify his comments in light of the baseless claims made earlier by then Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli. “There is no historical evidence (of the existence of Shri Ram) and that is why Nepal’s PM claimed that Ayodhya is located in Nepal”, Ketkar concluded.