I did not know that Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah, former Vice Chief of Staff of the Indian army, and former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, whom I know well, could be so naive.
Gen Shah is a highly decorated Indian army officer, and has an impeccable and outstanding reputation in the Indian army. Nevertheless, he has no idea of the political realities in India.
In a function in Lucknow organised by the Indian Muslims for Peace recently, he said that for lasting peace Muslims should voluntarily hand over the Ayodhya land (on which the Babri Masjid stood) to the Hindus, "otherwise we will keep fighting forever".
But will handing over the land to Hindus really bring lasting communal peace and harmony in India? In my opinion it is silly to think so.
To my mind the Babri Masjid Ram Mandir dispute is really a device to get Hindu votes in elections, and so if communal disputes die out by handing over the land to Hindus the game will be up. Phir siyaasi roti kaise sikegi?
If the Ayodhya land is handed over to Hindu organisations it will only whet the appetite of the Sangh Parivar, like handing over the Czech Sudetenland to Hitler in 1938 by the disgraceful Munich Pact and Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy.
The next demand will be for handing over the Eidgah mosque in Mathura (adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhumi temple) to the Hindus, and then the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
It is true that many mosques in India were earlier Hindu temples converted into mosques, e.g, the Gyanvapi
mosque (in pic
) in Varanasi, whose rear wall has Hindu carvings, the Quwwat-e-Islam
mosque in Delhi (near the Qutub Minar) whose pillars have Hindu carvings, the Atala Devi Masjid
in Jaunpur, etc.
But the point is this is all past history. Should we move forward or backward? There are also some mosques which have been converted into a Hindu place of worship by installing an idol there (probably after 1947 some of our Hindu right wing brothers thought that since so many Hindu temples have been converted into mosques during Muslim rule, why not return the favour now). What should be done about these ?
And then the matter will not stop but go further. I read on the internet that the Hindu leader Sakshi Maharaj has claimed that Jama Masjid, Delhi was a Hindu temple, and so should be demolished and the temple restored.
Some have made the same claim about the Taj Mahal! Will this end anywhere ? Every mosque in India can be claimed to be a former Hindu temple, and therefore to think there will be 'lasting peace', as Gen Shah imagines, is living in a fool's paradise.
The matter is not really of religious faith, as Gen Shah in his inanity thinks, but how to keep the communal fire burning to get votes.
Apart from that, there is another aspect which needs to be pointed out. The developed countries of the world do not want under developed countries, like India, to become developed like themselves, for if the latter do, with their cheap labour their industries will undersell the former's industries and may make them close down, which obviously they would not want. Let me explain.
Babri Masjid Ram Mandir dispute is really a device to get Hindu votes in elections, and so if communal disputes die out by handing over the land to Hindus the game will be up. Phir siyaasi roti kaise sikegi?
Cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and so if the cost of labour is less, the cost of production is less, and if the cost of production is less one can sell at a cheaper price and undersell his business rivals.
For instance, after their revolution in 1949, the Chinese set up a massive industrial base in China, and this, coupled with the cheap labour available in China enabled the Chinese to undersell the whole world in consumer goods.
Today the supermarkets of Western countries are packed with Chinese goods, because these can sell at half (or less) than the price at which a Western manufacturer can sell (because Western labour is expensive).
Now Indian labour is even cheaper than Chinese labour, so we can even undersell the Chinese, provided we create a massive industrial base in India (of which we today have all the potential).
In 1947 India had few industries and few engineers, because the policy of our British rulers was broadly to keep India unindustrialised and feudal (they permitted only some light industries like textiles and plantations, but not heavy industries).
However, after 1947 this position changed, and there was a limited degree of industrialisation in India, steel mills etc were started, and many engineering colleges (like IITs) set up. The result is that today we have a huge pool of engineers, technicians and scientists, and if a massive industrial base is created (of which we have all the potential now), then with our cheap labour we can undersell the whole world, even the Chinese.
Will the developed countries permit such a situation where their industries may have to close down because nobody will buy their expensive goods ?
One China has become a headache for the Western countries (as many of their industries had to close down since they could not face the Chinese competition). Will they permit emergence of another China? So how do the developed countries prevent India from emerging as another China? (this one selling even cheaper goods)
One way is to make Indians fight each other in the name of religion, caste, language, region, race etc. There is tremendous diversity in India (as it is broadly a country of immigrants, as explained in my article 'What is India', which can be seen online ), and so it is easy to do that (through one's local agents).
I fear that behind this game of keeping the communal fire stoked up in India (to prevent India from becoming an industrial giant) is the secret hand of developed nations. But this simpletons like Gen Shah (and even our so called 'intellectuals') are unable to comprehend.
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI
Three Women of 1984
FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?
REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE
KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM
If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?
Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt
Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal
Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?
In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart
WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron
"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship
The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!
WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed
AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER
OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties
TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE
OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES
Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA
BAD, BAD WOMAN!
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT