After yesterday's events, some people are behaving as if the country is doomed. On the contrary, it has been fully and finally established that we are a secular democratic country wherein the government would rather fall than allow the minority community to be taken advantage of by the majority community.
It would have been easy for Mr. V.P. Singh and his government to concede to the construction of a temple, or to holdout hopes of its construction, on the site of an usused and crumbling mosque. There would have been some frustration in the Muslim community, an opportunity for the opposition to say that the government was finally showing its true colours, but matters would have soon settled down.
Instead, on a matter of principle and to uphold the secular texture of the Indian democracy, the government has allowed itself to be brought to the brink of defeat and will in all probablity fall. No longer can the Nehrus and the Gandhis claim to be the only champions of the minorities in this country.
Hindu resurgence is this - tolerance, the protection of the minorities, the acceptance of another person's religion, and not what Mr. Advani and his men had led us to believe these past few days.
The intteresting part os that it was left to jokers and Hindi fanatics like Lallu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav to demonstrate to us what is right from what is wrong. And there cannot be just two Yadavs, the Hindi-belf of North Indiamust be filled with millions of such people who would flight for the rights of the minorities.
To say that they did what they did with an eye on the Muslim vote is to be grossly unfair to them. In the first place, the Muslim vote is not so large enough as to be worth the consequent loss of the Hindu vote.
It is also worth considering what all our neighbours would have done, or are doing, in similar circumstance. The United States is just realising what it has taken on in trying to help the Arabs. The Arabs are resenting the presence of foreginers and infidels in the country of Mecca. There are other instance: of strict codes of dress and diet in Islamic countries, including Pakistan, and the case of a non-Muslim in the Gulf who was granted one-tenth of the compensation that was nromally granted to a Muslim.
Compared to these, we should be proud of our maturity. Successive goverments have refused a ban on cow-slaughter, we observe the holiday of all minorities (though a better idea would be to observe no holidays of minorities or majorities), we attend one another's prayer meetings, we even tolerate Rajneesh, whom even the United States finally rejected and extradited. And, finally, our government arrests its own much-needed supporters because they want to build a temple on a site where a mosque exists.
It is time now, I think, for the Indian minorities to reciprocate. The Muslim leadership should convince the members of the community to offer the site of the Babri mosque for the construction of a temple. If such a gesture were made, perhaps, the Hindus may not want a small indentity of a temple there.