Since everyone is talking or writing about the Liberhan Commission’s findings on the destruction of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, I too have the right to air my views on the subject. To start with, I ignored the furore being made over it being “leaked” before being presented in Parliament. It is the duty of the media to ferret out news by whatever means it can. The Indian Express and NDTV did their professional jobs and deserve to be congratulated. It can be assumed that it was not leaked by the government because it could have chosen a more appropriate time on the eve of elections to get mileage out of it. Nor could it have been leaked by Justice Liberhan.
Seventeen long years and Rs 8 crore of our money it took to tell us something we already knew because most of us had seen the entire drama enacted before our eyes on our TV sets. Only, we were not sure of the exact roles played by the actors; now we are.
Narasimha Rao did not discharge the duties expected of a Prime Minister in a crisis situation. He could have prevented the tragedy but allowed it to take place. History will never forgive him.
I was uncertain of the role of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and had given him benefit of doubt, Liberhan has not and held him equally guilty. Perhaps he is, as Govindacharya described him, a mukhota — double faced.
About the rest including Murli Mahohar Joshi (Jyotishiji), Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, et al, I have no doubt of them being involved . It can no longer be doubted that all the saffron parties — the RSS, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and, most of all, BJP were parties in the nefarious plot as one.
If the law were to take its course, all these men and women should be charged for the wanton and criminal act of vandalising a place of worship. But as things are in our country, that would only make heroes of people who have tarnished the secular image of India. They have let down Bapu Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Ghaffar Khan, Sheikh Abdullah, Bhagat Singh, Jayaprakash Narayan and others who strove to make India a model of communal and social harmony.
The most appropriate punishment then would be to ostracise them from society and tell them we will not share hookah-paani with you till you atone for your sin.
Nobel Prize Winner
This year’s Nobel Prize for literature went to the young German writer Herta Muller. I had not heard of her. Not many people outside Germany had read anything by her. No matter; if she got the most coveted award for literature, she must have a lot of talent. Consequently, when her novel The Land of Green Plums (Granta Books) landed on my table, I put aside other work to devote a couple of days to good reading.
The first few pages baffled me. Her sentences did not follow each other, her vocabulary was strange and I felt I was missing something she was trying to say. Perhaps they were symbolic of things I did not know. To start with, the title of the novel foxed me. Did green plums stand for unripe fruit which can create stomach problems? Some of her characters keep chewing green plums. I was not sure. From the blurb I gathered she was writing about a German community living in a region of Rumania, bordering Germany. During Second World War they were loyal to anyone ruling Germany. Though they knew little about the Nazi ideology, they regarded Adolf Hitler as their Fuhrer and their men served in the German Army. At the end of the war they found themselves in Romania under the Communist dictatorship of Ceausescu. It was worse than the Nazi dictatorship. Every citizen was under surveillance all the time. Attempts to escape were thwarted by border guards and dogs along the Danube, separating Romania and Germany. Those taken captive were tortured. Some committed suicide. Some lost their minds. They devised codes for writing to each other, enclosing a hair from their heads. For more intimate communication they enclosed a hair from their pubics.
Everyone was famished. Men who worked in a slaughter house drank the blood of animals they slaughtered, and if the boss was not looking, they threw limbs of slain animals over the wall to be collected by their relatives to take home and cook. And so it goes on page after page. They have cold-blooded sex simply to get rid of the urge. Many times I thought I would give, but I persisted to the bitter end. I still wonder what made the Nobel Prize Committee give this year’s award to Herta Muller.
“How much leave will you need? Is there no end to your greed?” Putting his fist on the application, the boss growled.
“The first time, I took leave for my engagement, the second time, I had to make arrangements and marry,” said the employee.
“And this time, I need a few days’ more leave, sir. Because my wife is going on honeymoon — and she wants me to accompany her.”
(Contributed by Kuldip Salil)
The views expressed by the author are personal.