This will need a long introduction. Please forgive me while I test your patience. Look carefully at this photograph from 2009:
Here we see a column of our beloved Indian Army. They are marching in style, down the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Meanwhile Nikolas Sarkozy, the President of the French Republic looks on admiringly. Beside him is the guest of honor, India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The leaders of two great democracies stand together in honor of the great occasion, in remembrance of a great event in history.
What is the occasion? Well, it is the most important day on French Calendar. Le quatorze juillet (The fourteenth of July). It is the day that marks “la prise de la Bastille” (the storming of the Bastille) in the year 1789.
The Bastille was the infamous prison where the French monarchy would keep its political prisoners. In the summer of 1789, when the French populace finally decided that it was time to end the monarchy, the dreaded Bastille became the first target of people’s anger. Once the Bastille had been taken over, the French people felt the weight of centuries of oppression lifted off their shoulders as if by magic. It was from the fallen ramparts of the Bastille that the cries of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” rang out. The three slogans are still captured for eternity in the emblem of the French Republic.
The first time I went to the Bastille, I expected to see the famous ruins and some sort of museum. To my surprise, I found literally nothing. Not one stone, not one tower left standing. Not even a signboard reminding us of the momentous history of the place. Rather, the most powerful statement was the fact that the dreaded symbol of tyranny had been erased altogether. The tyranny had been buried in an unmarked grave below the roads of the giant metropolis. The most that I could find was a line of rock inside one of the platforms of the underground metro station at Bastille and they said it’s from the original fortress. That’s it. Gone. Tyranny buried forever.
Well, so much for waxing eloquent about the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille. Here’s the lowdown on what really happened 🙂
Well, once the revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, they rushed in to free all the political prisoners of the regime. Guess how many they freed? 1000? 2000? At least 100, no? Well…it was just 7! Yeah…a grand total of 7 freaking people! Now consider what happened next. There was a storm of bloodletting across France. Numerous people were sent to horrific deaths with or without trial. They struggled to put together a constitutional government. Chaos reigned. Then came the so called “Reign of Terror”. The mess just got worse and worse until ….. ummm…well…the French had a new Emperor in Napoleon Bonaparte. ROFL! They started out demolishing a monarchy and just ended up with a new emperor. In short, back to square ONE.
And yet, the fourteenth of july is the most important day in the French calendar. Not because of what it achieved that day. Not because of the counter-tyranny that was unleashed to fight tyranny. Not because of the innocent lives that were lost in the anarchy that followed. But because the storming of the Bastille on the 14th of July, 1789 represents a moment of people expressing themselves against tyranny. That day empowered the French people forever. And that has never been forgotten, neither by the French people nor by the rest of the world. We honor that day even now.
NOW, let’s talk. Thanks for your patience.
The Hindu people had been slaves in their own land for 800 years. Then came some 200 years of colonization. When colonization was set to end, a deal was made. It went something like this.
H: Yay! Finally our nation will be free.
M: Grrr! We are not one but two separate nations.
H: No way.
M: Yes way.
H: Please, no….
M : You think we are kidding? Here is some Direct Action.
H: Okay, okay… so two separate nations then. One for you and one for me.
M: Wait, not so fast.
H: Why? Isn’t that what you wanted?
M: No! One nation exclusively for me and we’ll have to discuss what happens to the other one.
H: What is there to discuss about my part?
M: We have to decide what special privileges you will give me in that part.
H: Will you give me special privileges in your part?
M: No. Forget special privileges, you wont have any rights. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
H: How is that fair?
M: Because I say so. And stop saying “my part”. WE will share it. It’s “ours”, not “yours”.
M: Yes. And one more thing.
M: If we screw up our nation, we will reserve the right to flood into yours any time.
H: Thanks, I guess.
Intellectuals may disagree, but this is how I perceive the deal with my simple unsophisticated mind. But I don’t care. Incidentally, there are some great minds who saw it the same way and said it like it is :
“That the transfer of minorities is the only lasting remedy for communal peace is beyond doubt. If that is so, there is no reason why the Hindus and the Muslims should keep on trading in safeguards which have proved so unsafe. If small countries, with limited resources like Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, were capable of such an undertaking, there is no reason to suppose that what they did cannot be accomplished by Indians.”
Fortunately, the present day intellectuals will find it highly politically inconvenient to disagree with the great man who said these words. So, I feel safe quoting him. Rest assured that if Babasaheb Ambedkar was alive today, there would be idea of India intellectuals like Sagarika Ghose demolishing his thinking with hard hitting tweets 🙂
And so it is that before independence and for decades after it, the Hindu trudged along, from defeat to humiliation to capitulation… just as it had been for 1000 years. The Dynasty, which was in mindset a simple continuation of colonial rule, had a huge vested interest in keeping this set of affairs. The intellectuals were let loose upon the defeated Hindus. Some said that the so called Dravidians were a separate nation, oppressed by the Hindu Aryans. Caste and linguistic divisions were given the utmost pride of place. Every possible angle was fully exploited to keep Hindus divided. Tribal vs non-tribal. So called Aryan vs Dravidian. Dalit vs Savarna. Hindi speakers vs non-Hindi speakers. Vegetarian vs non-vegetarian. They sought to cut off arms like Kashmir, Nagaland and Manipur. Literally…every possible dividing line was exploited to the fullest.
In essence, the Dynastycrooks of post independence India learned a lesson from the genocides in the first half of the 20th century. What was common to all these genocides? That they all failed. The Turks could not wipe out the Armenians. Hitler could not wipe out the Jews. The intellectuals understood that wiping out hundreds of millions of Hindus was a non-possibility. They would have to pursue a different path.
The grand Dynasty project was to wipe clean the civilizational memory of Hindus. Once Hindus had forgotten about themselves and the world had forgotten the Hindus, the Hindus would be as good as dead. That’s why we have JNU, India’s intellectual Auschwitz. And numerous clones of it nationwide. As India’s poverty striken masses would try to break out and seek a better life, they would come in contact with the elite, through schools, colleges and newspapers. Every single one of these nodes had to be poisoned. As the native Hindus tried to rise out of poverty, they would get caught up in one of these tentacles and stung out of consciousness. They would spend the rest of their days in a daze, unaware of who they are and where they came from. When faced with a truth from the past, they would react something like this:
“Mathematics experts said they were not very convinced by Vardhan’s view. “We know Indians have contributed to mathematics to a great extent. However, I was surprised to hear what he said. Maybe the way he thinks about mathematics is different than what we academicians do,” said a mathematics professor from Mumbai University, who was present at the inaugural function.”
This unnamed mathematics professor who does not know about the history of Pythagoras Theorem deserves a “Vishishta Seva Medal” for his work as a sepoy in the Dynasty’s army. It is fitting that the professor is not named in the article, because he is just one of numerous identical robot sepoys in academia, *exactly* like he admits in the quote.
But 6 December 1992 changed everything. Hindus thinking like Hindus. Their worst fears came true. Hindus suddenly felt that they counted for something. They had begged and pleaded for decades. Not one single gesture of conciliation, however small, had been offered to them for 800 years of oppression. Hindus decided to give up the claim to ALL temples that had ever been demolished with the exception of three : Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya (Look it up, Hindus gave up all other claims by law). And among the three, they pressed for ONE. Just ONE. Could they not give us ONE, just ONE? Your mosque has been empty and defunct for decades. Can we have it? Just make ONE gesture. Please!
NO! They said. Nothing for you. Not even a needle point of land.
When a civilization rises, an empty building that has been defunct for decades cannot stand in the way. Make no mistake, this was the Bastille moment for Hindus in India.
And this moment is great not because of what was inside the building. Just like the motley 7 prisoners who were freed from the Bastille don’t matter. It was all about finding expression after 1000 years of tyranny. And just like the Reign of Terror in France after the fall of the Bastille on 14th of July, 1789 do not take away from the greatness of the moment itself, the death of innocents on and around 6 Dec 1992 do not take away from the momentous nature of the occasion.
Liberals will accuse me at this point of overlooking bloodshed. They will accuse me of belittling the value of human life. I am not. But if you accuse me of belittling human life, I will throw this accusation right back at you liberals. Because you do not cry about 6 Dec 1992 because innocent lives were lost that day and because of it. If you cared about innocent human life, you would also cry on 27 February for those burned inside the train. You would cry for innocent people who perished in countless riots in countless cities countless times after independence. But you don’t cry all the time. You only cry on the 6th of December. Why? Because for you it’s not about innocent lives. You only care about that specific building and what it used to represent. And you are angry that the building was demolished.
So, I am not belittling human life, dear liberals. I am willing to give you the benefit of doubt and say that neither are you, that you join me in wishing that no innocent life should ever be lost.
6 December 1992 is now over. It’s a part of history. Don’t deny it a place. You can do that while condemning in every possible way the loss of innocent human life. Respect life. Respect the greatness of history. Respect each other. Like the French say: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!