The Liberhan Commission report on the demolition of the Babri masjid throws no new light on the dastardly designs of its its 67 execrable perpetrators. What it does is throw an unlikely pebble at the towering reputation and legacy of what it thinks is the 68th: Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The BJP’s rare “moderate face” has been a carefully constructed and preserved structure, designed to appeal to the soft side of India’s aspiring middle-class millions while providing the smokescreen to the saffron brotherhoodlums; a “mukhauta” in the words of K.N. Govindacharya.
That mask has been, well, unmasked by the lead-laced fingers of Justice Liberhan on the basis of a single videographed speech delivered by Vajpayee on the eve of the demolition, December 5, 1992.
Without calling the former prime minister to the witness box and without giving him a chance to explain, Liberhan calls Vajpayee a “pseudo-moderate” who can be held “culpable” of the crime of being the country to the point of communal discord by his “sins of omission”.
Given that the great voice of Vajpayee is now at the mercy of a voice-box, he cannot even defend himself from the miscarriage of justice at the hands of a judge. However, it speaks for the state of the saffron scrum that no one but no one has mounted a defence of a defenceless man.
Thankfully, Sudheendra Kulkarni steps up to the plate in today’s Indian Express:
“The most egregious part of the Liberhan report is its indictment of former Prime Minister Vajpayee, condemning him, along with Advani, as a “pseudo-moderate”. This will no doubt please communists and Muslim extremists, but, anyone who knows Vajpayee (and also Advani) knows that nothing can be a worse travesty of truth.
“I suspect that this character assassination of Vajpayee by a government-appointed commission has been done deliberately to dishonour him in India’s official history, so that only members of a particular family are recognised by posterity as true nationalist leaders.
“Implicating Vajpayee raises some serious questions. Does the mere fact that he gave a speech supporting the Ayodhya movement make him a “pseudo-moderate? Are we then to believe that only he/she is a moderate Hindu who opposes the BJP, and counters the demand for a Ram Mandir at the disputed site in Ayodhya?
“I too supported the Ram Mandir movement before 1992 (when I was not in the BJP) and I continue to support it even now, when I am no longer in the BJP. There are millions of ordinary, non-communal but proud Hindus like me who feel outraged by Liberhan’s warped belief that the only correct definition of secularism is that which disregards legitimate Hindu sentiments and silently acquiesces in the negation and falsification of the long history of temple-breaking by bigoted Muslim rulers. If Islamic bigotry could blast Bamyan Buddhas in the age of television in the 21st century, are we to believe that religiously inspired temple-destruction didn’t happen in medieval India?”
Cartoon: courtesy Satya Govind/ The Charicaturist
Read the full article: Vajpayee a pseudo-moderate? A canard