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Wednesday, February 21, 2001

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Rama and Ayodhya

Sir, - It is an age-old axiom that where Rama is, there Ayodhya is. (Ref: Sumitra's advice to Lakshmana at the time of Rama's departure to the forest - Valmiki Ramayanam). There can be no `disputed' area as such whereon alone a temple for Rama is to be put up.

Even if at the place where the Babri Masjid stood, there had been a temple for Rama, which, according to Hindu zealots, was pulled down by Muslim invaders and a mosque built thereon, there was no moral justification for demolishing the Masjid in December 1992, as two wrongs can never make a right. Religious fundamentalism of any flavour, generated by any community, `majority' or minority, runs counter to the national ethos and has to be fought ruthlessly.

That the sadhus and the saints who gathered at the recent Kumbh Mela did not set any definite date to start the construction of a Ram temple on the `disputed' site provides little comfort in the face of the announcement by the VHP chief that the cadres of the Parishad and of the Bajrang Dal would be armed to carry out their cherished goal - of building a temple for Rama on the debris of the Masjid. He even went to the extent of saying that he would have no objection if the Muslims also were similarly armed. This is almost tantamount to a war cry from the hawks of Hindutva.

It is incumbent on the Vajpayee Government to initiate serious and appropriate steps before an explosive situation develops. The entire secular fabric of the democratic polity is under threat of being reaved and ravaged. Mr. L. K. Advani, Union Home Minister, should strip himself of his loyalties to the RSS and its offshoots and act as the guardian of law and order with larger interests of the country as a whole by reining in his cohorts into discipline.

T. P. Rajagopalan,

Chennai

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