December 12, 2007

Life Is Cheap, Vote Is Priceless

December 6, 2007.

Ayodhya, India. On this day, 15 years ago, the Babri Masjid was demolished. A mob of thugs and vandals, egged on by their jingoist leaders, who called themselves the defenders of the Hindu faith, demolished this five hundred years old mosque. The mosque was built by an Islamic conqueror to commemorate his dead idol, who may or may not have existed fifteen centuries ago. It stood at the presumed birth place of a different dead idol for the Hindus, who may or may not have existed a few millenia ago.

On this day of remembrance, eminent intellectuals, politicians, and activists bemoaned the destruction of the mosque. Egalitarians held meetings and observed moments of silence to honor the memory of this ultimate symbol of human inequity, the symbol of supremacy of one man over the billions of other humans who lived and died before and after him. The followers of yet another dead idol, who go by the label Communists, heaped ridicule on the Hindus for their faith in their idol, who was but born only "in the imagination of poets". They shed a tear for each morsel of sand in the blocks of stone, columns, walls, and domes that were destroyed, and swore, "Never again".

There are several other days in the history of modern India that are worth remembering for the barbarism that is perpetrated in the name of religion:

February 14
Coimbatore bombings, 46 deaths (1998)
February 27
Godhra Sabharmati Express, 60 men, women, and children burnt alive (2002)
March 7
Varanasi bombings, 21 people killed (2006)
March 12
Bombay bombings, 257 deaths (1993)
May 18
Hyderabad Mecca Masjid, bombs kill 13 (2007)
July 11
Bombay train bombings, 200 people killed (2006)
August 25
Mumbai, car bombs kill about 52 (2003)
August 25
Hyderabad, two blasts kill at least 42 (2007)
September 8
Malegaon, Maharashtra, at least 37 people killed (2006)
September 24
Akshardham, Gujarat, temple attack kills 35 (2002)
October 29
New Delhi, blasts in markets kill 70 (2005)

This is just a sampling of the murder and mayhem, that may be directly or indirectly in response to the Babri Masjid incident. It does not include the countless terrorist incidents in Kashmir, where innocent men, women, and children, have died the hands of religious fanatics. Nor does it include the deaths of soldiers and paramilitary forces who have died in Kashmir, defending the integrity of India. I have not listed hundreds of other deaths in sectarian violence, such as those in Gujarat following the Godhra massacre, and the anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, when the State transformed itself into a weapon of mass destruction. If one were to count every day in which one or more deaths occurred in the hands of the terrorists and mass-murderers, the calendar would fill up very quickly.

Why aren't these days and deaths remembered by the politicians? Is the Prime Minister too busy to attend an event in memory of the 200 working men and women, who died on their way back home in the trains run by his government? Shouldn't those who claim themselves to be the vanguard of the proletariat mourn the wrecked lives of people, rather than a wrecked lifeless building? May I ask the Chief Minister of the People's Republic of West Bengal if he valued the life of one woman shopper in the Sarojini Nagar Market as equal to one stone removed from the Babri Masjid, at least? Mr. Prakash Karat, the Chief Rabble Rouser of India's Communists, never tires of swearing that he will not permit the nation to become a client state of the USA. May I ask him to observe one moment of silence for the soldier who gave his life in the heights of Kargil to prevent Kashmir from becoming a state of Pakistan? What am I saying? Of course, he will observe silence in honor of the fallen soldier, not for just one moment, but for an entire year, year after year.

Because, in India, life is cheap. Vote is priceless!

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