In Ayodhya, the murder of sense and sensibility

As the Ramdhun reached the phrase ‘Ishwar Allah tero naam’... the kar sevaks launched their violent assault. In they went, smashing heads, tearing bodies limb from limb

A scene from the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 (Getty Images)
A scene from the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 (Getty Images)

Krishna Pratap Singh

The forces of oppression and supremacy have created no little trouble in the recent history of Ayodhya.

History stands witness to the fact that whenever such forces acquire unlimited power and prosperity or become drunk on dominance, they try to interchange the definitions of goodwill and ill will.

The intention is to project all efforts to spread goodwill as efforts to spread ill will, and all acts that spread ill will to be honoured as acts of goodwill.

In the first half of the last decade of the previous century, this city had to go through many such turning points, when it saw such powers turning each into its opposite.

Amidst the frenzy spread by them, Gandhians and Sarvodaya workers from different parts of the country came to Ayodhya for the first time with the belief that hatred could never defeat love under any circumstance, and that their prayers had the power to change the mindset of misguided people under the influence of malignant forces, heeding none, intent only on extending the barriers of ill will, relentlessly.

The kar sevaks of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad did not take even 24 hours to maul the confidence of these social activists.

They had just begun their three-day fast at Ram ki Pauri, near the spot where Bapu’s ashes were immersed in the river Sarayu in 1948, praying for the purification of everyone’s intellect, the equality of all religions and the establishment of goodwill.

As soon as the Ramdhun of ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram...’ being sung reached the phrase ‘Ishwar Allah tero naam...’, the kar sevaks, who had been keeping watch over the activists ever since they gathered, launched their violent assault. In they went, smashing heads, tearing bodies limb from limb.

A Sarvodaya worker from Orissa received such severe head injuries that he had to be taken to the hospital.

The kar sevaks didn’t stop there. They continued a verbal assault by hurling threats and abuses.

Then, they took to an ‘impeachment’, saying that the Ramdhun being sung by the activists equated Ram and Allah, which was an insult to their Ram and hence would not be tolerated by them. To any sensible person, this could have only one meaning—by singing the Ramdhun, they had degraded Babu’s favourite prayer. This was the first time in Ayodhya that the words carrying the message of religious unity—‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam’—were vilified in such an inhuman manner.

Who knows what clay the Gandhians and Sarvodaya workers were made of? Even after enduring such trials, they did not deviate from the path of goodwill, and decided to continue their fast peacefully.

But on the heels of the kar sevaks, came the government sevaks, the policemen and administrative officers, as enemies of their decision...

As soon as the police and officials reached the site, instead of cracking down on the attackers and protecting the activists’ right to a peaceful fast, they ordered them to bring down their tents and leave at once.

The government representatives did not even deign to answer the question as to why, instead of providing protection to the activists’ peaceful campaign to spread goodwill, they were taking the side of the violent kar sevaks.

Senior Gandhian and Sarvodaya leaders Siddharaj Dhaddha and Amarnath Bhai were among those activists.

When they made it clear to the officials that they would neither give in to any pressure, nor give up their right to sing the Ramdhun and fast peacefully, they were silenced with the threat that a prohibitory order was in force, under which the police and the administration had the authority to stop them without assigning any reason.

Ninety-year-old Amarnath Bhai, who now lives in a village in Varanasi, says that when they asserted that the prohibitory order was unfair and that they would resort to civil disobedience, they were all arrested and pushed into buses.

When night fell, they were sent, under the watchful eye of guards, to a jungle. There they were told they were free to go wherever they liked.

“We refused to get down from the bus. We demanded to be taken to a nearby police station where we could register a case of violation of our rights. At this, the policemen took us to a police station where they enacted the charade of accepting our demands, then dropped us off at the railway station.”

The foregoing is a translated extract from Zero Mile Ayodhya by Krishna Pratap Singh


Title Zero Mile Ayodhya

Author Krishna Pratap Singh

Publisher Vaam Prakashan

Book cover of 'Zero Mile Ayodhya', the Hindi title by Krishna Pratap Singh
Book cover of 'Zero Mile Ayodhya', the Hindi title by Krishna Pratap Singh

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines