‘We will free India of Muslims and Christians by 2021’: DJS leader vows to continue ‘ghar wapsi’ plans and restore ‘Hindu glory’

Even as Opposition parties up the ante over alleged incidents of religious reconversion, the Dharm Jagran Samiti has declared that it will ensure India becomes a Hindu Rashtra by 2021.

Licence to stay

Speaking in Agra on Thursday, a Dharm Jagran Samiti (DJS) functionary said Muslims and Christians will have to convert to Hinduism if they want to stay in this country.

The DJS has been at the forefront of the reconversion – or ‘ghar wapsi’ – programmes in recent times in which some Muslims have been reportedly ‘reconverted’ to Hinduism.

Conversion has become a major political hot potato with a few Hindu organisations holding ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremonies—the photo shows one such exercise in Agra—to ‘reconvert’ Muslims

Conversion has become a major political hot potato with a few Hindu organisations holding ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremonies—the photo shows one such exercise in Agra—to ‘reconvert’ Muslims

However, their action drew widespread condemnation, leading to the arrest of one activist.

“Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here.

“So they would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here,” Uttar Pradesh DJS head Rajeshwar Singh said.

He was reacting to the arrest of Nand Kishore Valmiki, a DJS activist.

Valmiki was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in forcefully converting over 100 Muslims to Hinduism in Agra.

Singh said although he has temporarily suspended his ‘ghar wapsi’ programme in Aligarh and some other districts of the state that were supposed to be held on December 25, it would be restarted soon.

The DJS leader claimed that those who have been opposing ‘ghar wapsi’ were fearful of Muslims.

But, he would set India free from this fear, he added.

“I belong to the Solanki sub-caste within the Rajput caste. The Thakurs (Rajputs) respect me. I am their leader and they follow my orders.

“The Muslims had converted Rajputs to Islam by force. But the Rajputs are rising again.

“I will ensure that India is freed of Muslims and Christians by December 31, 2021,” Singh said.

In Etah, Singh reiterated his stand, saying he wouldn’t let Muslims and Christians convert the Hindus.

“We will not let them hunt the Hindus,” he said.

“The enemies have tried many a time in the past to finish Hinduism. But every time, Ram, Krishna and Chanakya came forward to finish them and restore the glory of Hinduism.

“I am also doing the same.”

Explaining the DJS’ plans, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) secretary general Champat Rai told Mail Today: “We are of the view that there are a handful of Muslims in India.

“Others within the Muslim community are actually Hindus. Their ancestors were converted to Islam forcefully.

“Even writer Taslima Nasrin has said that her ancestors were Hindus. The Batts, who are Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir, are actually Bhatts, the Hindus.”

Rai claimed ‘ghar wapsi’ has been an ongoing VHP campaign for the last 60 years.

A resolution in this regard was passed during the 1966 Maha Kumbh in Allahabad, he said.

“We have re-inducted over six lakh people into Hinduism since 1966.

“Mahatma Gandhi, Savarkar and Swami Dayanand Saraswati had expressed their concern over religious conversion.

Uttar Pradesh DJS head Rajeshwar Singh claimed that those who have been opposing ‘ghar wapsi’ were fearful of Muslims 

Uttar Pradesh DJS head Rajeshwar Singh claimed that those who have been opposing ‘ghar wapsi’ were fearful of Muslims

“They believed it was poisoning the society. Bringing them back to their original religion means correcting the wrong.

“It is the appropriate time now to take it up on a bigger scale,” he added.

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader told Mail Today that they have formed committees in every district of the state for this purpose.

“We have included some Arya Samaj priests in the team because they issue a certificate to a converted person.

“This is a major document to prove that the converted person agrees to it,” he said.

‘Independent’

When asked about the posture of the Modi Government on this issue, he said: “We never ask Modi or any other BJP leader before chalking out our strategy.

“We only expect them to speak for or against us to clarify their stand. But Modi is the Prime Minister.

“So his silence means his approval. It is the right time for us to fulfil our agenda.”

UP minister Azam Khan said: “RSS is behaving like the Taliban. They don’t want the Constitution of India.

“They have their own agenda of finishing humanism.”

Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the DJS statement, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said: “DJS is a wing of RSS, which had supported Modi and the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections.

“They are now drifting away from the agenda of the NDA.”

He dared the Modi Government to either accept the activities of DJS or “show some guts” and disband it.

Modi stands firm despite challenges from Rajya Sabha 

By Amit Agnihotri

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected the Opposition’s demand that he reply to the ongoing debate in the Rajya Sabha on alleged forced conversions.

His decision emboldened the ruling dispensation to blame the Opposition’s “arrogance of numbers” for the ongoing logjam in the Upper House that threatens to derail the Government’s economic reform agenda.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed to the “smooth functioning” of the Lok Sabha, saying the Rajya Sabha hold-up points to “arrogance of numbers, not the arrogance of the Government”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be upset with the Opposition after he made a statement on the Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti controversy, but the logjam in the Rajya Sabha continued despite his address to the House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be upset with the Opposition after he made a statement on the Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti controversy, but the logjam in the Rajya Sabha continued despite his address to the House

The Opposition hit back, saying the Government’s “tyranny of majority” had ensured that the Lower House functioned smoothly despite nine parties “fighting tooth and nail on the issue of conversions”.

While the Government has a brute majority in the Lower House, the Opposition has an upper hand in the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister Modi is said to have asked the Government to remain firm in the face of the Opposition’s attack on conversion, and suggested explaining its position directly to the people.

Nine opposition parties have kept the Government on its toes by not letting the Rajya Sabha function for the past four days, seeking the PM’s statement on the controversial issue of conversions, wherein Muslims have been “reconverted” to Hinduism by way of “ghar wapsi” ceremonies.

FM Arun Jaitley said Congress in the Rajya Sabha were suffering from the 'arrogance of numbers' 

FM Arun Jaitley said Congress in the Rajya Sabha were suffering from the ‘arrogance of numbers’

The PM came to the Upper House on Thursday as it was the designated day he was supposed to answer questions related to ministries under him, but there was no word from him on the Opposition’s demand.

Sources said the PM had made a statement in both houses of Parliament earlier in the session, ticking off his junior colleague Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for her controversial remarks, but that had not led to smooth functioning of the House.

The “betrayal” by the Opposition, sources said, was playing on the PM’s mind and is what drove him to ask his team to remain firm.

“The PM has confidence in his ministers. If he feels the need to intervene on any issue, he will, but not under the Opposition’s threat,” a Union minister said.

The Government sources, however, acknowledged that given the deadlock, the Winter Session, which ends December 23, might end without key reform Bills related to insurance and coal sectors passing muster.

The Government’s strategy now is to break the united Opposition camp to make the most of the three working days left in the session.

They hope that the move could help it pass at least the insurance Bill which aims to increase the FDI cap to 49 per cent.

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Australia Muslim school rejected

From the BBC

Anti-Islamic immigration slogan on protester's hat

The New South Wales town does not have a large Muslim population

Authorities in an Australian town have rejected proposals to allow an Islamic school to be built there.

Councillors for Camden, a small town on the outskirts of Sydney, unanimously voted against the proposed school for 1200 pupils.

The councillors said they based their decision solely on planning grounds, citing an internal report about its environmental impact.

The proposed development had met with fierce local opposition.

Camden’s authorities received some 3,200 submissions from the public about the school and only 100 in favour.

Tensions reached their height last November when two pigs’ heads were left on the site of the proposed school. Pork products are forbidden for consumption according to Islamic dietary laws. Continue reading “Australia Muslim school rejected”

Nato fears over Dutch Islam film


Nato’s secretary general says he fears the airing of a Dutch film criticising Islam will have repercussions for troops in Afghanistan. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments came after Afghans protested on Sunday against the film being made by far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

The Dutch government has warned Mr Wilders that the film will damage Dutch political and economic interests.

Mr Wilders says the film is about the Koran but has given few details.

In the past, he has called for the Koran to be banned and likened it to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The project has already been condemned by several Muslim countries, including Iran and Pakistan.

Nato’s secretary general said he was concerned about his troops after the protests against the film in Afghanistan.

“If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern,” he said in a television interview.

‘Kick out forces’

On Sunday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film.

Demonstrators burned Dutch flags, and called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Nato force.

The demonstrators say they will step up their protests unless the Afghan government expels the troops.

The protesters also criticised the recent republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in several Danish newspapers, and called for the withdrawal of Danish troops.

“We don’t want our government to have any diplomatic relations with these two countries,” Maulawi Abdul Hadi, one of the protesters, told the Associated Press news agency.

“We don’t want Danish and Dutch troops in Afghanistan. They should be kicked out of the Nato forces here.”

Mr Wilders has said he expects his 15-minute work will be shown in the Netherlands in March and released on the internet.

Dutch authorities have told him he may have to leave the country for his own safety amid reports of death threats.

Submission

Mr Wilders’ film is called Fitna, an Arabic word used to describe strife or discord.

He has said his film will show how the Koran is “an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror”.

Mr Wilders leads the Freedom Party, which has nine seats in the Dutch parliament.

He has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.

Van Gogh’s film Submission included verses from the Koran shown against a naked female body.

What if Rajiv Gandhi hadn’t unlocked the Babri Masjid in 1986?

This article first appeared in the online version of the newsmagazine
‘Outlook India’ (issue dt. 23 August 2004) at the URL
http://outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20040823&fname=UCol+Koenraad&sid=1

In 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in to Muslim pressure in the Shah Bano affair. Overruling a secular court�s decision that the repudiated wife Shah Bano was entitled to alimony from her ex-husband, he enacted a law abolishing the alimony provision in conformity with the Shari�a. Since India, unlike secular states, already had religion-based Civil Codes, this concession merely brought the minor matter of alimony under the purview of the prevailing arrangement. More importantly, it prevented riots.

Only months later, Gandhi restored the balance by giving the Hindus something as well: he ordered the locks on the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid in Ayodhya removed. Until then, a priest had been permitted to perform puja once a year for the idols installed there in 1949. Now, all Hindus were given access to what they consider as the birthplace of Rama, the prince posthumously deified as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Fundamentally, this decision didn�t alter the Ayodhya equation. Architecturally, the building was and remained a mosque, while functionally, it had been and continued to be a Hindu temple. That is why in my opinion, not taking this decision wouldn�t have changed the Ayodhya developments except in their timing. The different players, their strategies and goals, and their resolve to pursue these, all remained the same. The Babri Masjid Action Committee and the Vishva Hindu Parishad would have gone about their �business� just the same.

However, the VHP would have been forced to continue pushing the rather petty demand for removing the locks, rather than move on to the more ambitious and more mobilizing next step of planning the construction of a new temple. Most probably, the BJP would likewise have reaped smaller dividends from such a campaign. In 1989, it might not have jumped as high as 86 seats. Conversely, Congress might not have lost the North-Indian Muslim vote to the Janata Dal. In 1989, it could have remained just strong enough to cobble together a coalition rather than leave the initiative to the unwholesome and unstable Janata-BJP-Communist combine. So, at the level of party politics, Rajiv Gandhi�s decision may have made a big difference. Continue reading “What if Rajiv Gandhi hadn’t unlocked the Babri Masjid in 1986?”

“Danish Queen Masterminded Muhammad Cartoon Affair”

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was the villain behind a hate campaign against Islam and Muslims which culminated in the Danish Cartoon affair. At least that is what some Danish imams maintain. On 30 September 2005 the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. According to the imams it was the Queen who instigated this when in April 2005 she urged the Danish people to resist Islam.

This allegation was made to Arab newspapers, officials and politicians by Danish imams, touring the Middle East nine months ago in order to stir up hatred and violence against Denmark. The imams claimed Margrethe had urged the Danes to fight the Muslim minority in the country.

This information was revealed last Summer by the Danish Foreign Ministry, which had been informed by Det Dansk-Egyptiske Dialoginstitut, the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute. The imams also claimed that the Danish government and the Danish people were behind the hate campaign. Hanna Ziadeh, the media researcher for the Det Dansk-Egyptiske Dialoginstitut, said the imams’ aim was to make the entire Danish people responsible for the Muhammad cartoons.

The imams also told the Islamic world that their voice was excluded from the Danish media and that more “horrible reviles” against Islam were being planned in Denmark, including blasphemous films and threats to burn down mosques. Ziadeh said the information he gathered was only from about ten interviews given by the imams to as many large Middle Eastern newspapers. However, the imams talked to many more Arab media, including several TV stations. Only a small part of the false information which the imams spread in the Middle East is actually known in the West. Continue reading ““Danish Queen Masterminded Muhammad Cartoon Affair””

Pagans as Patriots: Freedom vs. Prejudice

The U.S. Air Force recently released new data indicating that Pagans (sometimes called Wiccans) have nearly 1,000 registered members, more than Muslims or Jews. Of course they should have their own chaplain in the military since there are Pagan adherents serving their country. Pagans are as entitled to having their religious needs met as are Southern Baptists. Religious freedom is religious freedom is religious freedom. That cannot be said too frequently today.

Paganism is very poorly understood. It is sometimes called “the Old Religion” as it claims to be a revival of indigenous religious traditions violently suppressed by Christianity as it spread throughout Europe. Contemporary Pagans or Wiccans celebrate diversity and put a high premium on personal responsibility and not doing harm. Feminists such as Feminists have been prominent in contemporary Wicca or Paganism and emphasize the repressed Goddess traditions and the spirituality of women as expressed in witchcraft.

Paganism has an important role to play in American religious culture as it explicitly regards women as capable of embodying the sacred. It has been my personal experience that conservative Christianity in particular regards all women, regardless of their faith, as vaguely Pagan. Christian conservatives do not value women’s religious leadership as highly as that of males. Women are called the “weaker vessel” and considered less capable of embodying the sacred. This is why women are not ordained by Catholics and conservative Protestants. Women are deemed incapable of “imagining Christ” despite the fact that Genesis 1:27 clearly states that both female and male are created in the image of God. Continue reading “Pagans as Patriots: Freedom vs. Prejudice”

Reclaiming Rights of the people of South Thailand

 

 

 

 

Updates from Southern Thailand is a monthly newsletter produced by the Reclaiming Rights program of Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA). The newsletter Charged! intends to inform the international community about current news on the conflict and human rights situation in the three southern-most provinces of Thailand – Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani.
Background

 

The origins of the current violence in Southern Thailand lie in historical grievances stemming from discrimination against the ethnic Malay Muslim population and attempts at forced assimilation by successive ethnic Thai Buddhist governments in
Bangkok for almost a century. The Sultanate of Patani which includes present-day Patani, Narathiwat, Yala and parts of Songkhla province was annexed by the Royal Thai government in the early 20th century. Since the annexation, armed groups calling for independence have operated in the region. Their activities have ebbed and flowed over the last 100 years, but with the turn of the 21st century they increased dramatically.
Continue reading “Reclaiming Rights of the people of South Thailand”

History of Siamese stance to Terminate Islam in the South of Thailand

The beheading of a Buddhist village leader in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south has provoked worry across Southeast Asia. The murder committed by the Islamic separatists was believed to be in response to the deaths of 84 Muslims at the hands of Thai authorities. Although the level of violence is new, the conflict has a long history. In 1832, Thailand annexed the independent Muslim sultanate that now makes up its southern provinces, writes Bertil Lintner, and separatist tensions have persisted since then. Yet as modern telecommunications technology has enabled Islamic radicals to spread their message more easily, Thai separatists have also developed ties with Islamists across the region. For Thailand and its neighbors, the union of separatist and radical Islamic groups constitutes, Lintner says, “a much greater threat to regional stability than the local, isolated separatist movements of pre-Afghan war days.” – YaleGlobal

A New Battlefield in Thailand

Old grievances of an Islamic minority, reawakened in post 9/11 world, are set aflame by government brutality

 
 
On a slippery slope: Thai security forces subdue suspected Islamic militants. Many died of suffocation herded in trucks.
 

BANGKOK: In early November, a Buddhist village leader was beheaded in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south. It is too soon to say whether this incident was an isolated outrage or the beginning of a wave of revenge attacks for the October 25 deaths of at least 84 Muslims in the hands of Thai security forces. But the bloody incident in Narathiwat has exacerbated the already tense situation in the south – and caused a rift between Thailand and its Islamic neighbor and partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Malaysia. Many now fear that the Thai Buddhist majority may be drawn into a broader Islamic struggle. Continue reading “History of Siamese stance to Terminate Islam in the South of Thailand”

Bangladesh win to eliminate India

 Bangladesh win to eliminate India
POSTED: 3:33 a.m. EDT, March 26, 2007

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Reuters) — Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore praised his team for holding their nerve to clinch a maiden World Cup second round berth with victory over debutants Bermuda on Sunday.

Bangladesh chased a revised target of 96 in gathering gloom after Bermuda scored a challenging 94 for nine in the rain-affected final Group B match that was restricted to 21 overs.

“This is very significant for us,” Whatmore told a news conference. “It was something that I personally knew we had the potential to do. It is reality now.”

Bangladesh, who needed only to avoid defeat, joined group winners Sri Lanka in the Super Eights, their victory pushing India out of the competition.

“This game was the most difficult you could be in to qualify,” the Australian said. “Chasing that total was never easy. The ball was doing all sorts of things in the first 10 overs.”

Bermuda seamer Saleem Mukuddem took three early wickets to leave Bangladesh struggling on 37-3.

“Yes, my heart was pumping a little bit,” Whatmore added. “The boys haven’t been in this situation before. They have done very, very well.”

More upsets
Continue reading “Bangladesh win to eliminate India”

Aliies or Axis

 BEIJING, Feb. 15 — The foreign ministers of China, India and Russia have agreed to work more closely together after a series of meetings in New Delhi. They issued a joint communique, saying they want to strengthen mutual trust, international harmony and find common ground between different interests.     In the communique issued at the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India call for the democratization of international relations. They praised multi-polarization based on equality among all countries, and mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty and territory integrity.

    The foreign ministers addressed international terrorism and the need to make collective efforts under UN coordination and to combat it. The ministers agreed to work together to deal with the financing of terrorism, drug trafficking and international organized crime.

    They also addressed the great potential in economic cooperation, especially in energy, transport infrastructure and information technology.

    During a news conference after the meeting, Pranab Mukherjee said the trilateral talks produced positive results.

    Pranab Mukherjee, said, “We shared our thoughts on political, economic, and security aspects on the global situation, the present world order and recent development in various areas of mutual concern. We agreed that cooperation rather than confrontation should govern to global affairs.”

    Meanwhile, ministers agreed that the UN is an important platform for multi-polarization and world peace.

    Li Zhaoxing, China’s FM, said, “We have to further strengthen the solidarity and unity of the United Nations membership, and let the United Nations and its Security Council play a role in maintaining world peace and encouraging common development.”

    The Joint Communique says the next trilateral meeting of the three countries will be held in China.

(Source: CCTV.com)

Hilaria

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh

on p608 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

 

HILAʹRIA (ἱλάρια) seems originally to have been a name which was given to any day or season of rejoicing. The hilaria were, therefore, according to Maximus Monachus (Schol. ad Dionys. Areopag. Epist. 8) either private or public. Among the former he reckons the day on which a person married, and on which a son was born; among the latter, those days of public rejoicings appointed by a new emperor. Such days were devoted to general rejoicings and public sacrifices, and no one was allowed to show any symptoms of grief or sorrow.

But the Romans also celebrated hilaria, as a feria stativa, on the 25th of March, in honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods (Macrob. Sat. I.21); and it is probably to distinguish these hilaria from those mentioned above, that Lampridius (Alexand. Sever. c37) calls them Hilaria Matris Deûm.a The day of its celebration was the first after the vernal equinox, or the first day of the year which was longer than the night. The winter with its gloom had passed away, and the first day of a better season was spent in rejoicings (Flav. Vopisc. Aurelian. c1). The manner of its celebration during the time of the republic is unknown, except that Valerius Maximus (Val. Max. II.4 §3) mentions games in honour of the mother of the gods. Respecting its celebration at the time of the empire, we learn from Herodian (i.10, 11) that, among other things, there was a solemn procession, in which the statue of the goddess was carried, and before this statue were carried the most costly specimens of plate and works of art belonging either to wealthy Romans or to the emperors themselves. All kinds of games and amusements were allowed on this day; masquerades were the most prominent among them, and every one might, in his disguise, imitate whomsoever he liked, and even magistrates. Continue reading “Hilaria”

Tension continues in Gorakhpur

Tension continues in GorakhpurNDTV Correspondent

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 (Gorakhpur):

Communal tension remains in Gorukhpur in the east of Uttar Pradesh where more than 50 members of the BJP’s women’s wing protested outside the Kotwali area.

Continue reading “Tension continues in Gorakhpur”

STATISTICS OF ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE IN INDIA

Source: Indian Muslim Relief Committee of ISNA

Copyright ©, All Rights Reserved.


 

Data for 1954 – 1985 are taken from the records of the Home Ministry of India. Later data are compiled by the California based India Research Center.
Muslim organizations, national media, and several human rights organizations have always disputed official figures. They say the number of persons killed in these riots is much higher than the figures reported by the government.


 

Year Incidents Killed Injured
1954 84 34 512
1955 75 24 457
1956 82 82 575
1957 58 12 316
1958 40 7 369
1959 42 41 1,344
1960 26 14 262
1961 92 108 593
1962 60 43 348
1963 61 26 489
1964 1,070 1,919 2,053
1965 173 173 758
1966 144 45 467
1967 198 25 880 Continue reading “STATISTICS OF ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE IN INDIA”

Hindutva & Ayodhya

Babri Masjid It is twelve years since the Hindutva fanatics demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Perhaps no other day in independent India’s history signifies and symbolizes the communal polarization, mutual hatred, and a contempt for rule of law, so blatant in our society today, as that black Sunday in December 92. We saw Golwalkar in action, “teaching” Indian Muslims how they should lead their lives in India as “second rate” citizens — citizens without any rights. Though I had known it very well that these fanatics could stoop to any low to gain political mileage, I hadn’t thought till that day, in fact till the All India Radio confirmed the demolition in its evening news, that the struture would actually be grounded. I had the rather simplistic impression that the “karsevaks” would enter the disputed site, with the help of the friendly police, and might even damage the masjid a little bit, but wouldn’t dare to do the total demolition. As a not so politically conscious teenager, this perhaps was understandable. Unfortunately the then prime minister Narasimha Rao, it appears now, was just as naive, willing to trust an Advani and a Kalyan Singh on their word that the Masjid wouldn’t be demolished. In the days followed, people were behaving in pretty strange — or was that more natural then? — ways. I could see many friends of mine from the Muslim community keeping a distance from me and other non-Muslims. The behaviour of several of my Hindu friends was even more strange. Many were ecstatic about the destruction that took place in Ayodhya — several ordinary Hindu teenagers parrotted local RSS hooligans, for a short period though. When our college reopened after a fortnight of bandhs, hartals, strikes, and a general everything-isn’t-alright atmosphere, my closest friend confessed to me that though he couldn’t justify Gandhi’s assassination — many on the “secular” side were talking a lot about the parallels between the Masjid demolition and Gandhi’s assassination — he sympathized with Godse’s position. As one can see, talking in extremes was the norm. This was the period when I started taking a keener interest in political matters. Though never very active in day-to-day activism, I decided to pay more attention to what such local activists say. I found that those who actually work with people and their problems weren’t floundering at difficult times, unlike some of the bookish liberal intellectuals. In societal matters, words of those who are willing to make sacrifices, started appealing to me more, than the dull rigour of “academic” logic. Back to Babri Masjid, for a “secularist”, today it is politically correct to say that the issue should be settled in court. On the whole, our judiciary is exemplary, and I believe this issue can be settled in court. But I think a truly secular government should be willing to undo the wrong, and the right thing to do is to rebuild the masjid there. If I advocate anything less than this, I can’t but feel that I’m indirectly siding with the demolishers.