If there is one thing that the last year should have taught many people then it is this – the status quo in India is changing like never before.Any civilized person closely following events in Malaysia is bound to be struck numb with shock at the senseless rape, killing and burning of houses and property of the victims. The worst perpetrator seems to be Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing urged Christians No triumph without tribulation the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has no business questioning Christians on their religion, and questioned whether Jais was employing Gestapo-style tactics in raiding the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) yesterday. (The Gestapo is the Nazi-era police used by Adolf Hilter to oppress Jews and minorities.)“Has Jais, with the aid of the police force, become an insidious type of Gestapo in Malaysia?” .Tan said the raid by Jais and the questioning of BSM staff violated the 10-point agreement reached between Putrajaya and Christian groups on the controversy over the ‘Allah’ issue. repression by extremists who want to embellish their religious credentials. These extremists hope to make their mark by instigating Christians No triumph without tribulation.There is little point in trying to debate who started what and who did what to whom, though of course the perpetrators of the calamity should be punished in an exemplary manner – though chances are they wouldn’t. They wouldn’t, because a crowd action provides sufficient anonymity to bring out the depravity in us as a people. It is as if anonymity emboldens us to be on our worst conceivable behaviour. After all, even an otherwise peaceful people of Malaysia,No, savagery is not limited to the Rawandan genocide. Something in us keeps us ever-ready to let our savage loose at the slightest or even no provocation, as long as there is an imagined excuse to do so and sufficient anonymity of numbers to hide behind. That’s why we see gang rapes more than solo acts, perhaps.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) taking a closer look at the slight damage caused by the Molotov cocktails thrown at a church in Penang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, January 27, 2014.
One is a political party DAP, the other a term used for mobile/internet applications.
- Twitter is a service that let’s you post status updates upto 140 characters at a time.
- Instagram is a simple image sharing platform with basic filters.
- Snapchat is built on the concept of ephemerality. You share an image and it disappears once the recipient views it.
- The big guns think the ideas are too simplistic, lame, even bizarre.
- They first ignore them, then scoff at them, then ridicule and mock them.
- By the time the big guns realize the value of the new APPs, it is too late.
- They then try to replicate the same model but find the going tough.
- The fan base and user loyalties lie with the disrupters – think of Google trying to build a social network like Facebook, once they fall behind, it’s hard to play catch up.
- The first mover advantage is always with the disrupters, unless the following thing happens – The big guns or another disrupter moves faster and disrupts further.
- The newbies get acquired by the big guns for a fat sum – Facebook tried to replicate the Instagram model and failed. They then purchased Instagram for a whooping one billion dollars. You can’t beat them; buy them, works fine for both parties.
- The newbies take partial support and give a minority stake to the big guns in their company – Facebook tied up with Microsoft in its early days for financial support. Facebook is still independent but Microsoft benefits in the long run as Facebook’s partner over direct rivals like Google. Bing, a Microsoft product is the default web search option on Facebook.
- The brave newbies with guts decide to go it all alone. They do that by going public – Twitter is the prime example of this model and Snapchat seems to want to go the same way too by resisting the four billion offer from Google.
The causes of this historic event were also a matter of public record. L K Advani’s rath yatra was not a surreptitious journey. Indeed, extensive media coverage may have been part of the purpose, since he wanted to create mass momentum for his political project. Neither was there any secrecy when Congress laid the foundation stone of the temple to Lord Ram in the middle of the 1989 polls. Babri was a central theme, along with Bofors, of those dramatic elections. The 1989 BJP versions of Varun Gandhi were full-throated, not muted, in their slogans as parties sought votes with a rhetoric that has been subsequently banned: Mandir wahin banayenge! and Mussalman ke do sthaan, Pakistan ya kabristan! No one hid anything: We shall build a temple on that precise spot! Muslims have two options, either Pakistan or the graveyard!
Democracy is a volatile game played in the open. What was there left to inquire into?
All that an official inquiry could do was place a stamp of judicial impartiality on known facts. It did not seem strange, then, that Justice M S Liberhan, appointed on December 16, 1992, was asked to deliver his report in three months. If he had extended it to six months or even a year, it would have been reasonable. Why did he take 17 years?
The key actors were known and available. No sleuths needed here. Why did Liberhan take more than nine years to obtain V P Singh’s deposition, and nine-and-a-half for P V Narasimha Rao’s? Surely they were not evading his orders? Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were ministers in a BJP-led government when they gave evidence. Former RSS chief K S Sudarshan appeared only on February 6, 2001. Rao could have said all he had to long before April 9, 2001, four years after he lost his job as prime minister.
Had the commission already served its first purpose by 2001? It had outlived Rao’s term in office and thereby, ensured that its findings could not be used to demand Rao’s resignation. Rao survived December 6, 1992 by the cynical expedient of buying out those he feared most, Muslims within the Congress. Some inside government were given promotions; most outside were inducted in a January 1993 reshuffle. Conscience purchased, life went on.
It would be interesting to know if the Liberhan Commission has disclosed the one mystery of December 6: what was Rao doing that entire day? Babri was not destroyed by a sudden, powerful, maverick explosion. It was brought down stone by stone, the process punctuated by the rousing cheers of kar sevaks.
So, what was Rao doing during those minutes and hours from morning till sunset? Sleeping. That is what his personal assistant said to the many agitated Congressmen and women who phoned to ask why the government was asleep. They were shocked to learn that this was, literally, the official explanation. Their agitation cooled when they realized that the party would have to pay a horrendous price if government was destabilized. Plus, of course, there were concrete benefits in silence.
There may not be a rational explanation for a 17-year inquiry, but there is a political explanation. Every government between 1992 and 2004 had a vested interest in delay. The minority governments of H D Deve Gowda and Inder Gujral could not have survived a day without support from the Rao-Sitaram Kesri Congress. (Mrs Sonia Gandhi was not party president then.) Neither Gowda nor Gujral would have wanted a report that indicted their benefactors.
The BJP-led coalition that ruled for six years had the guilty on its front row. Only Uma Bharti has been candid enough to say that she was delighted when the mosque fell (“I’m ready to own up to the demolition and will have no problem even if I’m hanged”). Justice Liberhan could have punched mortal holes into the BJP front row when it was in office. And so when he sought one extension after another, there was public silence and private relief.
Whether advertently or inadvertently, Justice Liberhan protected politicians on both sides of the great divide. There remains a curiosity question. Why did he not submit his report in 2004? Admittedly Dr Manmohan Singh was finance minister in the Rao government, but he had nothing to do with the politics of Babri. When delay becomes so comfortable, why bother?