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    Posted on 05 Dec 2012


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    Twenty Years After Babri...

    SOME EVENTS in history leave a deep scar on the collective conscience of a nation. The demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 and the nationwide communal riots that followed make up perhaps one of the darkest chapters in modern Indian history. Twenty years later, a lot has changed. There have been attempts at collective healing. There have been exhortations to move on. The post-Babri generation forms the youth brigade of India today. TEHELKA asked some of these men and women in their 20s what Ayodhya means to them.

    Gursimranjeet Khamba, 26
    Stand-up comedian, Mumbai
    ‘Much like other key events in Indian history, like the 1984 pogrom, I remember Ayodhya too being jarringly glossed over in our history books. Twenty years on, I feel part of the struggle is to remind and educate young people on what exactly happened and its impact on our socio-cultural fabric’

    Lenin Kumar, 25
    President, JNU, New Delhi
    ‘Not only was the communal campaign incorrect but it created scapegoats of the Muslim community and led the communal forces to power. It’s extremely important for the Left in this country to destroy the communal forces’

    Neel Debdutt Paul, 26
    ‘Being six years old at that time, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened, but I remember the sense of palpable sensation of dread and fear. I hope the 6th of December continues to be a reminder to the whole country of that dread. Though the cynic in me appreciates how unrealistic that sounds in the context of our fractured communities’

    Anshul Tiwari, 24
    Editor, Youth Ki Awaaz,
    ‘A lot of political and non-political view is to move on but in a country like India forgetting this incident will further harm the idea of plurality that’s the base of India’s nationhood’

    Amit Kumar, 26
    Student, Delhi University
    ‘The repercussion was that Hindu fascism entered into our mass psychology. If not challenged, the result can be no way less than what happened in Hitler’s Germany’

    Umar Khalid, 24
    Student, JNU, Delhi
    ‘It was a message for the Muslims. The events that ensued revealed how all the institutions of the State came together to deliver this message repeatedly in brutal ways’

    Alsaba Akhtar, 22
    Student, TISS, Mumbai
    ‘The riots led to an increasing insecurity and ghettoisation of the Muslim community. The Sachar Committee report was valuable but one is yet to see the actual implementation’

    Nandini Dey, 22
    Activist, NCPRI, Delhi
    ‘It is shameful that 20 years after the demolition and 10 years after the Gujarat riots, much of middle- class India is able to value efficiency and honesty above human life’

    Smrithi Sundareshan, 22
    Filmmaker, Delhi
    ‘We are a bunch of hypocrites, which is why we have failed to learn from India’s communal past’

    Pragun Bashisht, 23
    Student, Delhi University
    ‘Babri Masjid is a metaphorical monument that reminds us how fragile is India’s plural identity, because it laid bare the fact that the majority thinks Hinduism is a superior religion’

    Nabeela Jamshed, 24
    Author, Delhi
    ‘This generation is too reasonable to ignore the fact that communal harmony is beautiful and economically sound’

    Ashish Mandhwani, 25
    Student, JNU, Delhi
    ‘The onus is on the current generation to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated. Ayodhya is a big black mark, but then the darkest nights give way to the brightest days’

    Compiled by Soumik Mukherjee and Shazia Nigar

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    Posted on 05 Dec 2012



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