History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought. – Etienne Gilson
All through our history the moments when a religion has found its voice, mankind has paid in blood. No major religion with the possible exception of the Buddhists has been able to avoid this. Fourteen years ago we witnessed one such event, one which we as a nation should never forget. The destruction of the Babri Masjid was more than just the demolition of a mosque, it was the ripping off of the veil and bring to the fore the voice of a religion. For long the Hindus in India have suffered silently as first foreign rulers and then Indian ones put the minority ahead of the majority.
No, this is not a piece condoning the destruction of the mosque, because the mosque was but just a building. The act was an inevitable result of years of bad management on the part of leaders who were educated and in many cases even leading lights.
Reservations and playing up to the minorities has been the norm in this country. It is a lesson we learnt exceedingly well from the British. (Sometimes I think we taught the British divide-and-rule and not the other way around.)
But then why blame the politicians, they are just doing what they think will get them votes. We, the people, however can change all that. We can look beyond our narrow lives and see the wonderful world beyond it. We can stop voting based on narrow concerns like caste, religion and creed and begin to vote based on election manifestoes. We need to ask our leaders what they are going to do about our lives and our future. We need to hold them accountable for the promises they made the last time around.
Instead of demanding for more reservations, we should be looking at more long-term solutions to uplift the backward. A free and fair education as the school-level is the need of the hour, not reservation of seats to medical colleges. We need to get big industry to invest in education through scholarships which will reward the deserving not based on social or political groups but on performance.
More Babri Masjid’s are waiting to happen unless we commit to stop such segmentation and marginalisation – both of the majority and the minority population.