November 9 Will Change History
What is the need of the hour, someone asked me the other day. Is it stability, is it unity, is it communal peace? It is none of these things, I told him. The need of the hour is COURAGE.
We Hindus have become a timid race, almost a cowardly race. We lack the courage of our convictions. Some of us don’t even have any convictions, and have been trying to hide our shame under high-sounding but empty phrases like secularism. For the last so many centuries, the history of the Hindus has been created by non-Hindus, first the Moghuls, then the British. Even today, the Hindus are being denied their right to write their own history, which, to me, is almost like genocide. Until we write our own history, this land cannot be ours.
Upendra Baxi, director of the Indian Law Institute and a noted jurist, said the other day that “when the foundation of the proposed Ram Temple will be put up in Ayodhya, it will change decisively the history of India and no amount of condemnation of the Indian psyche or public self-flagellation will change that history.” He is right. The whole purpose of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement is to change the history of India, nothing less, nothing more.
Those who do not see this do not know what India is. For the first time in several centuries, the history of India is being made by Indians, call them Hindu, call them anything else, if the word Hindu sticks in your gullet, as it did in Nehru’s. The Ayodhya movement is therefore a historic movement, far more historic than Gandhi’s Dandi March or the Quit India Movement.
Freedom does not mean flying your own flag or having your own government. Freedom means making your own history, writing it in your own blood on the pages of Time. As I said earlier, fate precluded us from doing so for so many centuries. Now the time has come to open up the pages of Time and begin writing what every great race in this world has been doing for so long, every great race except the Hindus.
Small-minded people like Namboodiripad or editors of Indo-Anglian papers who bring out special editions at Christmas time but never on Diwali, will not understand this, because they do not know Indian history. Whatever little they understand has been learnt from foreign historians, and from foreign books like Das Capital. We must pity these men. Namboodiripad thinks that the Ayodhya movement is communal, a word he has learnt from the British, for whom some of his friends spied, and he repeats it parrot-like, as children do their lessons in schools. Communists are political parrots who have been intoning Marx for years without realising that the man is already out of date. All over Europe, his corpse is being exhumed for public exhibition. But Indian communists are half a century behind everybody else, including their own brethren elsewhere. Because their own faith has come down crumbling, and that too in less than three quarters of a century, they have started cursing other faiths.
But we Hindus were not born yesterday. We were not born in the British Museum and did not emerge from dog-eared copies of ancient history books. We are history personified, history with a capital H. And we are going to survive for another five thousand years, not just fifty years, as Namboodiripad’s gods did.
I simply cannot understand what is so communal about a community trying to build a temple, the most honourable of acts, in their own land. Would anyone deny Catholics their right to put up a church in Rome? Would anyone say no if the Saudis wanted to build a mosque in Mecca? Why on earth should there be a mosque in Ayodhya of all places? How would they feel if someone tried to build a Rama temple in Mecca? The Babari mosque was built by Babar who had no business to be in India. He came here as a conqueror but the right of a conqueror ceases as soon as he ceases to be a conqueror. This country is now ours, not Babar’s and what is all this freedom worth if we cannot undo a wrong? That is also what history is, the undoing of a patently wrong act committed by a conqueror in the full flush of power. This is what I meant when I said that we are going to re-write history, for, I repeat again, that is precisely the meaning of freedom.
I consider the time we were under foreign conquerors, no matter where they came from and who they were-and also how they came-as the most shameful time of our history. This is what Gandhi also said and that is why we vowed to throw the British out. If the British were foreigners, so were the Moghuls, and so is everything they left behind. We have taken over old British firms and Indianised them. We have taken over their railways, their ports and harbours, their buildings, their offices, even their vice-regal house. We would have been perfectly within our rights to demolish their leftovers including the vice-regal house. Mahatma Gandhi actually wanted to turn that house into a hospital.
Surely, if we can do all that, we can also take over their churches and cathedrals, as also those of other conquerors that preceded them. We have not, done that, but I do not see why not. If the descendants of these conquerors believe that their houses of worship are too important to be treated like other buildings they left behind, surely you cannot blame the Hindus if they think that their houses of worship are also too important to be defiled by foreigners. What is good for others, is also good for us. You cannot have one law for others, just because they happen to be in a minority, and another for the majority because it happens to be too generous, or too timid to fight back.
Make no mistake. We are going to change history and we have begun doing so on November 9, 1989.
Organiser, November 19, 1989