R B Sreekumar
No jail term for the sangh parivar leaders would restore the image of syncretism and equal respect for all religions that ensured the embracing of all victims of religious prosecution - from Jews to Parsis, Ahmedias and Bahais. The sangh parivar has subverted the Indian ethos of tolerance.
Do the Hindu scriptures sanction the demolition of religious shrines of other faiths? The answer is a big ''no''. The conceptual and philosophical framework of Hinduism is enshrined in three treatises - the Brahmasutras, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Equal adoration of all varieties of divinity and paths towards God and the recognition of the right to salvation/liberation that all living beings have - including plants and animals - are deemed to be the most ennobling and elevating features of Hinduism. Ill will towards even non-believers is not permitted.
Applying this yardstick, the sangh parivar can never be recognised as a body of Hindus, though a few self-proclaimed pundits characterised the destruction of the Babri masjid as a holy war and part of a Dharmayuddha. The act is in direct conflict with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Gita is quite explicit about one's approach to any form of worship. In three shlokas, the relevant principles are unambiguously laid down. In Chapter 4, Shloka 11, Lord Krishna proclaims: "In whatever way men identify with me, in the same way do I carry out the desires; men pursue my path, in all ways." Again in Chapter 6-30, He preached: "He who sees me everywhere and sees all in me, he never becomes lost to me, nor do I become lost to him." Finally, in Chapter 7-21, He says: "Whatever form any devotee with faith wishes to worship, I make that faith of his steady."
Significantly, Uddhava Gita or the last message of Lord Krishna further reiterates the ideal of equal respect to all forms of worship. In Chapter 10, Shloka 26, He says: "In whatever form, at any time, a devotee of mine may reflect on a particular thing with his intellect, concentrating the mind on me as possessed of infallible will, he gets that very form."
The goons who razed the 16th century masjid in Ayodhya to the ground actually acted against the letter, spirit and ethos of the above stipulations of Lord Krishna. The divine chant of Lord Shiva - Jai Shiv Shankar - was also polluted by the marauders of the Babri mosque when they shouted this as a slogan of victory. The literal meaning of Shankar is one who blesses everybody with peace - Sham Karoti Iti Shankaram.
The Buddhist shrine at Bodh Gaya is an undisputed site known to be the place where prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Lord Buddha. Strangely, even today, Buddhist institutions in Bodh Gaya are controlled by Hindus. There is no politician-led mass movement for their 'liberation' by Buddhists. Hindus are in no mood to voluntarily give up their authority here - thanks to the success of economics and commerce over propriety and ethics.
Can we expect the sangh parivar to desist from launching any further misadventures? For the sake of amity among communities and the unity of the nation, it is high time that the sangh parivar adopts the line of judicious prudence and accepts the status of all socio-cultural and religious monuments in the country as on August 15, 1947 in tune with the assurance to minorities given by Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.
The writer is a retired Gujarat DGP.
Source: The Times of India