Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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AYODHYA VERDICT – RELIGION, STATE and JUSTICE in INDIA

October 2, 2010 , , , , , , ,

In 2007, UN adopted October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi as the International day of non-violence.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals have been positively influenced by the overarching principles that were part of Gandhi’s discourses and messages. Though there are more than a few who question Gandhi’s integrity, his mannerism and hypocritical practices, the persona or what the man represented has undeniably influenced many leaders like Martin Luther King Junior and continues to be a beacon of Non-Violence for many in the world.

For Ahimsa or Non-Violence to be a way of life, acceptance and respect for those that are not like you is a basic requirement. I do not want to use the word tolerance, because it conveys a resistive and unpleasant feeling of “putting up with the other”. Non-violence and peaceful co-existence seem impossible when you have to tolerate the other. While this comes into play frequently with regards to religion, race, caste , gender, economic status and sexual orientation; it is not limited to just these categories. While people at large need to exercise decorum, understand, respect and appreciate difference, the state and government has a significant role to settle disputes in the event of disharmony. The August 30th- Ayodhya verdict was in my opinion a failure to separate state and religion. The verdict was not based on facts and figures but influenced by beliefs that are not necessarily grounded in objective concrete provable evidence.

I was extremely upset that the courts and judges conveniently ignored the illegality of the injection of the idol into the Masjid (mosque) in 1949. Or the harmony with which the local Hindu and Muslim people co-used the shrine prior to the “nationalistic” intrusion by forces in the country. What about the demolition of the Masjid (mosque) in 1992 – does that not have any bearing on the judgment? I am not an expert in Ayodhya issue or religious disputes in India. But, India needs to deal with such issues in a equitable and just fashion.

Rakesh Sharma’s documentary, Final Solution is set in Gujarat, India; following events post 2002 communal riots. The riots, the carnage and the loss of human life in the hands of Hindu mobs could not have happened without the active aid of the state machinery or at least the lack of effort on the part of the state to curb the attacks. The film investigates and examines a state’s role and agenda in promoting hate or dislike and the resulting violence. The consequences can be pretty scary.

On this day of Gandhi’s birth, that is celebrated and observed as the international day of non-violence, the Ayodha verdict just tells me that as the majority in the country, the Hindus can get away with illegally planting an idol and destroying a Masjid. Just because kings and kingdoms prior to British rule and independence, forced people to convert or destroy temples, should we the so called secular and democratic India do the same?

It is a bad signal to the elements that orchestrated that Babri Masjid demolition event because there are other shrines where a temple/mosque co-exit like in Mathura conveniently the birth place of Krishna. Are we telling them it is ok to do it again and there will be no consequences?

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