We Indians have a tendency to delve in the past and then either gloat over it or cry over it. We love to waste time and energy, reminiscing about the yesteryears, with scant thoughts of improving our present and future. We do not let 'Bygones be Bygones', but rather cling to them in a sadistic sort of way. It rarely occurs to us to learn lessons from the past mistakes in order to improve upon our present. What's the point in revelling about India being the land of 'milk and honey' in the eras gone by, when the present chaos (compounded by hunger and violence) promises to get worse with every passing day?
It would, perhaps, be more worthwhile to analyze critically and ponder over the mistakes (and not repeat them) which have led to a gradual decline in public/private morality and brought us to abysmal depths of depravity—the ongoing controversies surrounding the (non)preparation of Commonwealth Games, and the Ayodhya tangle being just two of the myriad examples of our moral turpitude.
The sheer gravity of the ongoing Babri Masjid-Ramjanmbhoomi seems to be defying all solutions. As I write this piece, rumours are rife in the city of Lucknow, and elsewhere too, about what may (or may not) happen in the next couple of days. With bated breath, all are waiting for the D Day – the day of judgement (not by God but by the Allahabad High Court). One community is pitched against another; rhetoric is whipping up emotions; and a palpable scare pervades the very air we breathe. A distraught mother of my colleague wants to stockpile groceries lest there be a curfew; parents are wary of sending their wards to schools even at the cost of missing an exam; many shopkeepers feel it is safer to close shop on the day of the verdict; people are trying to refrain from travel and stay within the confines of their home-sweet-home; while others are anxiously waiting and watching, twiddling or biting their thumbs.
And all this frenzy is in the name of Ram/Allah or Khuda/Ishwar.
How does it matter whether the disputed site was the birth place of Lord Ram or housed a mosque?
Probably it was both- in that chronological order. Or, maybe it was not. Even if it were a place of worship of one of the two communities, it needs to be respected by the other. Enough rabble has been roused by Muslims and Hindus, or rather by their political/religious leaders, on this issue. It is time now for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes of what must once have been a prosperous place. Some of our so called leaders have been crying hoarse that they will not tolerate an insult to their God and build a temple/mosque there (irrespective of the court order).
Surely there are better and more constructive ways of showing reverence to our religion. Let us (including our religious leaders) follow the real principles of Lord Ram and/or the true tenets of Prophet Muhammad, rather than squabble over the proprietorship of a piece of land. Let us try to bring back Ram Rajya (a synonym for ideal governance) in our country by becoming morally upright and law abiding citizens who prefer love to hatred. Let us not brush aside our misdemeanours- whether it be passing the buck in the murky dealings of the organizing committee of Commonwealth Games, or in casting aspersions on each other in the Mandir – Masjid (each is a six letter word beginning with an M) fight. It would be in the fitness of things, and for the benefit of all, if we take the responsibility of undoing the harm already perpetrated by us.
As right minded and responsible citizens, let us demand (and work for) the construction of a hospital, at the disputed site in Ajodhya—a hospital which will be free from corrupt practices and provide holistic care to the common patient with love and compassion. I think we can call it the 'Allaram Hospital' or the 'Ramallah Hospital' or, for that matter, give it any other name. As the Bard said--"What's in a name".
This is the only healing touch which will soothe the frayed nerves of the gods and human beings. It is also one of the ways in which we can truly worship our religion—whatsoever it might be.
Let us be truly religious by living honestly and peacefully. (CNS)
Shobha Shukla - CNS
(The author is the Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS) and also serves as the Director of CNS Gender Initiative and CNS Diabetes Media Initiative (CNS-DMI). She has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP, and teaches Physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. Email: [email protected], website: www.citizen-news.org)
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