According to the Washington Post, a mob of Hindu fundamentalists recently destroyed and dismantled a mosque with pickaxes and rope. Many ended up with bloody hands in order to bring down the mosque.
There was dust and smoke in the air. A series of nearby homes were torched. 16 Muslims were killed with a total of 2,000 dead by the end of the riots across India in the days that followed. Another mosque, Babri, was destroyed 25 years ago in northern India.
This was in an area considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu Lord Ram. This was a blow to the secularism of India. Ayodhya, India, has ben synonymous with struggle and strife since that time, as fundamentalist Hindu leaders want no mosques there and instead a large sandstone temple devoted to Lord Ram.
India’s Supreme Court has been hearing arguments about the title dispute over the purported holy site. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a Hindu nationalist, which has an appeal for those of a hardline Hindu approach and conviction.
Modi has a brand of religious patriotism devoted to a Hindi India. With his rise, there has been a rise in the level of religious violence with lynching increasing 16% as of 2017 based on data from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Many Indian Muslims state that the Hindu nationalists are flaring up tensions along religious lines in order to be able to gain political points and other support. The supporters of the Ram Temple will be having elaborate gold pillars around the temple in a flatbed truck.
The World Hindu Council, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, will have religious ceremonies in towns and villages in order to continue the moment for their movement that wants to see a sandstone Ram Temple erected.
A District Leader for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, Smrita Yiwari, described the sense of freedom for the Hindus in India with the Hindu nationalist leadership in government with Modi.
“We used to feel that we had come from the outside and Muslims completely controlled the country,” she said, “Now, with Modi in power, things are different. We can unfurl the saffron flag for the first time… Muslims are very fanatical… They only think about their religion. They are not good to us. We don’t go to Mecca and claim a place there. Why should they be given the land where Lord Ram was born?”
Hindus and Muslims have been arguing and fighting for over 100 years about the Babri Masjid, which was constructed in order to honor the Mughat emperor Babur from 1528. These enmities go back decades and centuries.
The Uttar Pradesh high court ruled in 2010 that the mosque built on the ruins of a Hindu temple made the land needing to be split into three parcels with two for the Hindus and one for the Muslims. Hindus and Muslims have agreed that the proposed or demanded division of the land into the three parcels is unacceptable.
Religion continues to divide and be highly involved in the lives of Indians. Youth unemployment is high and many peoples have migrated elsewhere from Ayodhya. The fight over the land and Lord Ram will likely continue into the indefinite future.
Photo Credits: The National