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RELIGION, AYODHYA, PSYCHE AND HUMANITY – I

"I will come to meet you there."
"Please come with abbu."

This one is part of conversation between a kid and an elderly, both from the Muslim community, from the movie Firaaq. The scene in point is about a kid who runs away from the relief camp for riot affected people to find his father as he didn't see the father to be killed while witnessing brutal killing, rape and burning of bodies of his family members. The film ends with the kid back in the camp.

Now to the euphoric debates and analyses on the Ayodhya verdict. Much has been said, much is being said, and much will be said. But who all is talking about the issue. You, me, the person next door or a kid like that in the movie or that elderly person! Nah!

These are so-called representatives. Representatives of the people, representatives of advocacy, representatives of liberation of masses, representatives of equality, and representative of voices!

Riots have taken thousands of lives, from all communities, irrespective of religious preferences. But one thing has been uniform. They all were people like me or you or the person next door, irrespective of the religious prioroties. Can we go back and find a single incident when any of the so-called representatives faced demise as brutal as killing at the hand of rioters? The answer is a uniform no, indeed. Compare this to the toll estimates of thousands of killings in just two of the riots, in 1992 and in 2002.

Manipulation of the human psyche at mass level has been the most potent tool and root cause of emergence of such a class of representatives. But, at times, limitation of human brain comes to its rescue when it gets frustrated to think any further and gets out of bounds to be manipulated anymore. And this manifested psychological limit saved us this time. We may name it a maturing society. Though nothing can be said with firmness, we have intuition to believe in this.

Unprecedented security measures, high decibel claims and counterclaims, high-octane appeals to maintain peace and calm, implicit designs to gain the political mileage, and the intense media activity, in the run-up to the Ayodhya verdict, and for what? We, as a society, were more sincere with diligent representatives than what we have today. Put some hard work in finding the contemporary media coverage of the 1949 incident related to the Ayodhya conflict. One will hardly come across any significant coverage. If we talk in terms of religious hostility (as we see it today), the events in 1949 were probably on the same scale when a perceived sanctity of some religious place was breached. It was rightly left on the horizon to remain a local issue as it had been since early 1880’s.

Excess of anything is bad and it applies to the flow of information as well. When it meets the psyche that sensationalization is the lubricant of news flow, it becomes a trend to be followed, irrespective of the outcomes. Ayodhya, perceivably, became a national issue and much can be attributed to the excess flow of information. India has seen spread of Ayodhya issue and media on parallel tracks. There has always been a fine line to observe restraint in issues like Ayodhya but commercialization has blurred it over the years. And media is just one group of representatives. There are representatives and their entourage. They were there, continued with verbal exercises for over two weeks. They came in all shades, moderate and adamant, demanding and compromising. But did they represent us?

Do they represent us when it comes to sentiments in issues like Ayodhya?
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