The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) seems to have woken up to a reality: demolition of temples in Jaipur by the state government. About 100 big and small temples, some as old as Jaipur, were demolished to facilitate construction of the metro railway and vehicular traffic. And obviously, the Sangh parivar is not happy with it. Temples or any religious structures can be demolished if necessity persist then newly builts structures can be razed. Damaging or demolishing the buildings of archaeological and historical importance is one of the greatest crimes in the world. Like, the one ISIS is doing right now, wiping out the precious sites of Mesopotamian Civilization! It’s outright unacceptable, be it temple, mosque, church, synagogue, whatever! RSS coming out in support, Sangh-backed “Chakka Jaam” (traffic blockade) is not enough to disapprove this demolition.
The Hindu fanatics and right wingers always cry about extensive evidence of temple destruction by the Muslim invaders of India in medieval times. Time and again, Muslims are attacked for this. From Sinkiang and Transoxiana in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, and from Siestan province of present day Iran in the West to Assam in the East, this vast area, which was long the cradle of Hindu culture, came to be littered with the ruins of temples and monasteries, belonging to all schools of Santana Dharma – Buddha, Jaina, Shaiva, Sakta, Vaishnava, and the rest. Archeological explorations and excavations in modern times have proved unmistakably that most of the mosques, mazaars, ziaratgahs and dargahs which were built in this area stood on the sites and were made from the materials of deliberately demolished Hindu monuments. Believing the history, we Hindus have harassed Muslims and demolished many structures like Babri Masjid. Some even went on giving logic that, Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahal, an old Shiva temple, but same radicals kept mum and silent when hundreds of temples were demolished by Vasundhara Raje’s government in Rajasthan.
Visibly disconcerted over the adverse public sensitivity, state leaders of the Sangh and its affiliate socio-cultural bodies, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Jagran Manch, met over the weekend at Bharti Bhawan, the state RSS headquarters, and came out with a call for a two-hour long ‘chakka jam’ (traffic blockade). Meanwhile, BJP’s joint general secretary V Satish was in Jaipur to discuss this development with party’s state leadership. A technical committee of RSS office bearers surveyed the destruction of the city’s old temples and heritage. The fact-finding report – incorporating details of the demolished temples and damaged idols that were shifted under a roof, and the allurements allegedly offered to the priests of various temples – would be sent to the national headquarters of RSS at Nagpur. The report would also mention the objectionable roles played by the government officials involved and silence of the elected representatives over the “operation demolition”. After the demolition of temples and structures, all this report and investigations is of no use because the same temple cannot be reinstalled again. If this had happened in the Congress government then the same RSS-BJP would had protested like anything and communal riots would have been ignited. Waking up after a deep slumber, RSS leadership has come up after everything has taken place. Where were they when the temples were being demolished?
The focus in the demolition debate is gradually shifting to the role of district officials, with several BJP and RSS sources, interviewed blaming official high-handedness for escalating the stand-off. There is a lot of anger in Jaipur, especially in the walled City. Public representatives need to be consulted before such big decisions. However, consulting elected leaders is no longer a part of the governance process. Without letting anyone know, officials came and removed the temples in the dark using the same JCB machines that pick up garbage all over the city. What do you expect, when you play with public sentiments in this way and still try to save Chief Minister of state who is equally responsible for this act?
This sort of a thing – the demolition of temples – could happen during Aurangzeb’s time. The people will never let them do it. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is yet to break her silence on the issue, met district officials — including District Collector Krishna Kunal, Jaipur Development Commissioner Shikhar Agarwal and Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Ashok Jain — in the evening to hear out their explanation. The state BJP president, Ashok Parnami, and national joint general secretary (organization) V Satish, who is in town on a damage control mission, were also present during the meeting, held at the secretariat. In last one year, 73 structures were razed or relocated by the Jaipur Development Authority, out of which 65 were temples while the rest were shrines. More than 800 temples in Gujarat too were destroyed when Modi was CM for construction of roads in spite of opposition from RSS and VHP.
Anyway, after coming to power Modi is busy appeasing Muslims, his ministers demolishing temples. Here after, BJP has no moral authority to talk about Hindutva or Mandir. Next time, they should mind their own business if someone tries to demolish the temple. After all, Modiji has promised development at the cost of anything and everything.