Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Ayodhya to Article 370: India getting rid of contentious issues

By Ravi Mishra
Updated: August 12, 2020 3:59 pm

Finally, the reconstruction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya has started . This centuries old dispute has ended now. There is enough evidence that thousands of temples in India were demolished and converted into mosques by invaders and the Ram Temple in Ayodhya was one of them. Ayodhya had become more political and settling down this issue was the only way to bring peace in the country. The temple is being reconstructed after the Supreme Court’s verdict.

“The court does not decide title on the basis of faith or belief but on the basis of evidence…it applies settled principles of evidence to adjudicate upon which party has established a claim to the immovable property,” the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had said while reading the verdict.

Having said this, it is apt to mention that without bringing peace in the society and solving social problems, no government can focus fully on economic development, as they remain key subjects of discussion in the media and the society. Not only Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Article 370, Citizenships Amendment Act (CAA), triple talaq, etc, were the issues that had not been resolved for long. But, the Narendra Modi government is trying to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. Now, there are two contentious issues, Uniform Civil Code and population control.

On August 5, the Prime Minister himself performed ‘bhoomipujan’. It is said that the temple will be fully constructed in next 3 to 4 years. Speaking on this occasion, Prime Minister Modi said, “Once the shrine is constructed, not only the grandeur of Ayodhya would become multi-fold but the entire economy of this region would undergo massive transformation. There would be new avenues & new opportunities in every sector. Imagine people from across the world would visit here. Entire world would come here for the darshan of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. How radically things will transform here!”

As it was a very long dispute and it was very close to 100 crore Hindus’ sentiment, it was natural that people would show immense happiness. The Congress too realised this fact and extended wishes on reconstruction of the temple. Some of the Congress leaders also said that this was Rajiv Gandhi who first paved the way for the temple in Ayodhya. However, fact does not point out so. This was the same Congress in 2007 that said that there was no historical proof of Lord Rama’s existence. Interestingly, a book which is yet to be released,’The memoir of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar – ‘Chandra Shekhar And The Six Months That Saved India‘, written by Roderick Matthews, claims that Chandra Shekhar had almost resolved the age-old issue, but Rajiv Gandhi brought down his government.  Roderick Matthews writes that Rajiv Gandhi thought if Chandra Shekhar settles the Babri Masjid issue, he’ll become popular in the country. He didn’t want the credit to go to him. Everyone knows that Ram temple has always been the core issue for the BJP and social organisations like VHP and RSS. Therefore, bringing Rajiv Gandhi into this matter by Congress is laughable. Hence, no surprise, like credit for Rafale deal goes to the BJP, the credit for Ram temple too goes to the BJP and other social organisations.

 

Talking about resolving the contentious problems, which were pending for years, it is noteworthy that a few months back, Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, while speaking at an event organised by Observer Research Foundation, raised the issue of social problems as hindrance in India’s development. He was talking about China and he shared his learning from China as to how they quickly resolve their problems. Dr. Jaishankar dwelt in length on the current policy of the government to first get rid of these problems.

Dr. Jaishankar said, “We look at a problem and say the problem is the problem. I wish it would go away. Our instinct is not to home in on the solution. Our instinct is to kick it down the road. We feel, let it be somebody else’s issue. So, to me, the big concern I have is years of doing it. Today, we have accumulated a legacy of problems. And if you see today what is happening in this country these problems have caught up with us. The last few years have been very active years of debate, argumentation, decision making. Now we tend to see them as individual issues. But I want to see them as a trend. Lots of what we are doing are accumulations of problems, which we have not addressed.”

“Just look at this year, look at the citizenship issue. It started 40-50 years ago. Rajiv Gandhi did an agreement in Assam in 1985. You look at 370 , it was a temporary Article. But it went for 70 years. Look at Ayodhya, show me where in the world you would have an unresolved problem for 150 years. So, we have let problem of 50 years, 70 years and 150 years. Look at GST. It is blindingly obvious that you need a single tax system and yet people kept taking it down the road,” Dr. S Jaishankar further added.

The fact of the matter is that, resolving social issues will pave the way for India’s development, as every political party will focus on economic issues. And the election would be contested on development policies. Therefore, it’s quite true that as the Ayodhya and other issues are finished, the focus of every government would be on the economy.

By Ravi Mishra

 

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