Babri Mosque vs Kartarpur

It was a coincidence of historical proportions when Supreme Court of India (SCI) chose to announce the verdict (reserved a month back) on 9th November, same day the Kartarpur Corridor was inaugurated by PM Imran Kahn in full media glare.

Land expansion of Kartarpur from 5 acres of original land to hundreds of acres and spending millions of dollars is a testimony to Jinnah’s Pakistan, who had historically desired “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Pakistan, despite being negatively projected by Indian and International media on issues of treatment of minorities, has displayed openness and magnanimity for its minorities and Kartarpur Sahib is a testament to Pakistan’s ethos and philosophy of looking after the minorities. Pakistan spent closer to 20 million dollars on the first phase of the corridor, other projects for Sikh community include Baba Guru Nanak University and expansion of work on other major Gurdwaras across Pakistan.

The first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, founded Kartarpur in 1504 CE on the right bank of the Ravi River and established the first Sikh commune there. Following his death in 1539, Hindus and Muslims both claimed him as their own and raised mausoleums in his memory with a common wall between them.

Coming to Indian part of treatment of minorities, Babri Mosque is a sad story of gradual and perpetual ostracizing of Muslims in India. Monuments and heritage sites are protected by domestic and international laws and conventions, Babri Mosque was no exception. Even looking at legal dimensions of possession of property, Babri Mosque stood in possession of Muslim community for centuries and no law on earth can justify demolition and judicial condoning of this crime. Rubbing slat on existing wound of Muslims of India, the RSS pressure groups made sure that even Supreme Court of India joins their cadres and announces the infamous decision on the day of opening of Kartarpur corridor.

The Supreme Court of India has actually set a new precedent; any Hindu individual or organization can get up, point out that such and such house, monument or religious site of Muslims was built on a Hindu shrine and demolish it without any question. And it is already happening.

According to Al Jazeera report of 6th Feb 2018, which has even echoed after Babri Mosque verdict, an Indian politician sparked controversy after saying that Taj Mahal, a popular tourist destination in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, will soon be turned into a Hindu Temple. The stunning white marble mausoleum was built in the 17th century by Mughal King Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in Agra, about 200km from the Indian capital, New Delhi. Vinay Katiyar, a member of parliament for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told local media that “there is not much difference between Taj and Tej [Mandir]”, referring to a Hindu far-right claim that a temple existed in place of Taj Mahal. “It was our temple. Taj Mahal will be converted into Tej Mandir soon,” he said.

Is majoratarianism of RSS driving India into a new normal of accepting Saffronization of the so called secular India?

The answer is yes. With Cow vigilantes marauding the country side across India, lynch mobs killing innocent Muslims regularly in public, hate campaigns by Sanghis against liberal and secular voices and endorsement of demolition of Babri Mosque by Supreme Court of India, the dream of Hindutwa Republic is almost a reality.

Despite the fact that Muslim political leaders in India have always supported Indian Union, and even earned the title of Sakari Muslamans, RSS Hindutva Republic has gradually squeezed their breathing space. As reported by Hindustan Times last year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit out at AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for “playing minority politics” and said it saw him as a ‘neo-Jinnah’. “As far as Asaduddin Owaisi is concerned, he is in the mainstream polity of India, so with utmost respect I say, that in the present political scenario, I see him as a neo-Jinnah,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said referring to Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Are Muslims in India being pushed to the wall and has the time come for them to demand another Pakistan?

Coming back to Kartarpur corridor: reaction Sikh diaspora and Indian Sikh community as well as international media has exposed the Hindutva agenda. Initial reaction by Sikhs was of euphoria and tears of thanks for Imran Khan and General Bajwa. Indian efforts to drive controversy in Kartarpur corridor remained unsuccessful; by choosing 9th November to announce the reserved Babri Mosque verdict of Supreme Court of India, Indian establishment thought that this will generate a heated debate within Indian and international media and deflect attention away from Pakistan’s master stroke of Kartarpur Corridor. Unfortunately for India, it boomeranged on her face.

Unfortunately some sections in Pakistan including Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman echoed sentiments of Narendra Modi by making the Kartarpur Corridor controversial, looking into the roots of it, it is clearly visible that Maulana Fazal and Modi have a common pain; the bridging of gap between Sikh community and Pakistan.

Some media reports suggest that Sikhs are thinking of nominating Imran Kahn for Nobel peace prize, according to The, several Sikh organizations, including “Sikhs for Justice”, have decided to launch a campaign seeking the Nobel Prize for Imran in a bid to make the world recognize his peace efforts. The Sikh community, in this regard, will write a letter to the Nobel committee, a body responsible for most of the work involved in selecting Nobel laureates, wherein it will highlight the details pertaining to Kartarpur opening amid heightened Pakistan-India tensions.

To conclude, a contrast between Kartarpur Corridor and Babri Mosque verdict is a contrast between Pakistani and Indian ethos, especially of their dealing with minorities. Pakistan’s stereotyped perception, built by Indian establishment and their surrogates in Western media, has been shattered; the international community should now focus on Hindutva Republic and mobocracy established by RSS goons.

The authors are freelance journalists.

Are Muslims in India being pushed to the wall and has the time come for them to demand another Pakistan?

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