AYODHYA, as we have seen earlier, is not a hap-hazard, crazy, meaning-less event. It is a symbol through which two conceptions of India are facing each other, and the outcome of this confrontation will shape this country’s future for generations to come. Ayodhya is also a sign of the pressure put upon India to remain faithful to her soul, to retain the essen¬tial of Dharma, true Hinduism; to avoid falling in the trap of total Westernization, which has al¬ready stifled so many collective souls in the developing world. Bombay, although it is an emblem of all that is right in this country: efficiency, cosmopolitan life, fast industrial growth, is also a symbol of all that is wrong: im¬mense gap between the few very rich and the many extreme¬ly poor; slums, Bangladeshi immigrants’ infiltration, apparent irreversible westernization at the expense of India’s own inner genius; pollution and overpopulation. Thus, if Bombay burned, it is to be hoped that it did not burn in vain and that it will have learnt its lessons.
The consequences of Ayodhya are thus far-reaching and they have shaken this nation to the core, as the riots in Bombay have shown. But it is not over: the Congress is still quavering from the Ayodhya tremors, trying to realign itself between the secular hard-liners on one hand and those who advocate a more pro-Hindu stance on the other. And the BJP, thanks to the bungling of the Rao government, is now on the upswing and could very well be on the road to power. But instead of lamenting on the “death of secularism in India”, the “mortal blow to our democracy”, or “the shame of Bombay”, as most intellectuals, politicians and the media have done recently, it would be more fruitful to do some honest, serious introspection, and see what the whole thing leads to. Because, ultimately, the Force of Evolution, whether individual or collective, always gives through events a hint of things to come, or points a finger at what is wrong in a particular set of cir¬cumstances. What are the roots of Ayodhya then? What is the core prob¬lem that led to the explosion? WHY AYODHYA?
To put the problem in its barest equation – and it is always good to come back to the ob¬vious – the Ayodhya confronta¬tion is between a mosque, emblem of the Islamic faith, and a temple, symbol of the Hindu religion. So, ultimately, it has to do between the Muslim-Hindu divide. This we all know. But what is the root of this divide? The Muslim conquest in India started in the 7th century AD, and in the words of Sri Aurobindo, the great Indian sage and revolutionary: “It took place at a time when the vitality of ancient Indian life and culture after 2,000 years of activity and creation was already exhausted or very near exhaustion and needed a breathing space to rejuvenate it¬self.” Although Sri Aurobindo felt that “the vast mass of the Mus¬lims in this country were and are Indians by race”, he adds, “the real problem introduced by the Muslim conquest is the struggle between two civilisations, one ancient and indigenous, the other medieval and brought in from outside… That which has rendered the problem indis¬soluble is the attachment of each to a powerful religion, the one militant and aggressive, the other spiritually tolerant and flexible”… Sri Aurobindo thus always felt that the increasing antagonism between Hindus and Muslims was a game the Britishers played to divide India so as to rule her better: “…Then came the British em¬pire In India which recast the whole country into artificial provinces made for its own convenience. British rule did not unite these people, but on the contrary, India was deliberately split on the basis of the two-nation theory into future Pakistan and Hindus¬tan.”
Ah, we are coming to Pakis¬tan, at last. Because, after all, is not Pakistan, a million more times than Ayodhya, the symbol of the great Hindu-Muslim divide? How can the Ayodhya tangle be solved when two great nations, which are two parts of the same soul, which are but a play of diversity of the same oneness, are divided? Who was then responsible for this Greater Divide, the partition of India? The British? As we have seen earlier, their using secularism was but a ploy to divide and rule; but ultimately you cannot blame the British for everything. The Congress? It could never make out whether Indian Muslims were first committed to Islam and then to India, or vice versa; thus, its leaders always wavered and tried often to appease Indian Muslims, whose votes they needed to get reelected. Moreover, Nehru had by his education, although he fought the British, a Western-oriented mind; he believed in English values, and India’s Con¬stitution was a hasty adaptation of the erstwhile masters’ own. But again, the Congress could have been persuaded to listen to reason and retain India’s unity. The Mahatma Gandhi ? he should also never have accepted the partition of India because, in the words of Sri Aurobindo, “the old com¬munal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent division of the country. It is hoped that the Congress and the nation will not accept the set¬tled fact as for ever settled, or as anything more than a temporary expedient. For if it persists too long, India may be seriously weakened even crippled; civil war may remain always os¬sible, even a new invasion and foreign conquest”.
So let’s phrase the question again: why Ayodhya ? Well, Ayodhya is a sure sign that India and Pakistan (and also Bangladesh) must find ways to reunite, in any way, under any form, even a loose confederation, where everyone will keep its own iden¬tity, its own culture and religion. Then Ayodhya will only be a word in history books; then there will be no need to construct a mosque alongside a temple, or devise complicated and flimsy compromises that satisfy nobody in the end. Then there will be no more the Great Divide between Muslims and Hindus. Then even the Kashmir problem will get solved by itself. Then India will once again be the Greater India, Mother India, spiritual leader of the whole world. “THE PARTITION OF THE COUNTRY MUST GO”…