Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Gandhian solution to the Babri Masjid dilemma

What do you think must be done at the site of demolished Babri Masjid?
The status quo should be preserved. The debris, the rubble, representing the hardness of our hearts and the shallowness of our minds, is more sacred as a confession of our unregenerateness than an aggressive, avenging, construction of a Ram temple at the site can ever be. Or a legalistic reconstruction of the demolished mosque.
At the deepest level, no new Rama temple can in all conscience be constructed at the site until the questions of Sita’s banishment and the killing of Shudraka by Rama in the Ramayana are satisfactorily resolved by a more self-questioning Hinduism than Hindutva can ever be.
Without atonement for the miseries heaped upon women and the “lower” castes as a result of an uncritical acceptance of the authenticity of these episodes in the Ramayana, it would be an insult to Sita and Rama to build a new temple at the site of arrogance and vengefulness in Ayodhya whether or not it is the site of Rama’s birth.

Who said this?
It was Ramachandra Gandhi, the Mahatma's grandson.

Who is this 'Shudraka' killed by Rama? Possibly, Rishi Shambuka is meant. 
The story is from the Uttarakanda- a splendid satire on Religion and Ethics and the holier-than-thou Kings and self-aggrandizing Priests who blindly suckle upon those two breasts of the Goddess of Corruption.
Ram is a nice guy who loves his wife. But, because of some nonsensical scruple he banishes her and makes himself miserable. He also kills a great Rishi doing tapas (austere meditation) so as to prevent the guy from gaining Heaven, just because the fellow happened to be working class. 
Rama's action would be praiseworthy  if he he'd said- 'Bad enough the Brahmins, those lazy beggars, have indulged in this stupidity from time immemorial, but they are worthless cunts so let them keep to it. True some Kshatriyas (warriors) and Vaishyas (merchants) too have taken up this ridiculous and contemptible practise, but even that is tolerable because power and wealth inevitably create idleness and stupidity so that too can be tolerated. But, if even the working class- the productive element in Society- take up this nonsense then we are surely doomed! I behead this Rishi with my sword so as to save the common-weal. Let the working-class, at least, be free from this potent source of mischief. '
However, if Lord Ram had made such a statement, the Uttarakanda would fail as a tragic work of art and would simply become the ultimate Veda- or Divine Revelation.
Of course, from the Religious point of view, what is happening is that Shambuk is being elevated to the status of Ravana, who was a Brahmin and greatest of tapasvins (masters of austere meditation) and who gained the goal of ultimate Liberation by being killed by Lord Ram. That warrior himself, however, far from enjoying felicity is condemned, in the Uttarakanda, to separation from his beloved wife and the killing, rather than protection, of a Rishi. This is both funny, from the Cosmic point of view, as well as touching, if not tragic, because the truth is Religion and Ethics fuck up middle-aged people who somehow think they are better than others.

One important consequence of the Uttarakanda is we cease to clamour to have an Incarnation of the Lord to lead us here and now. Why? Incarnation is bad for God. It ends tragically. God suffers when he takes human form. Let the incarnations who have already come suffice for us. If some fuckwit sets himself up as an Avatar or Prophet, tell him to go fuck himself. He is a worthless piece of shit. Don't kill him. The guy is probably mentally ill. But don't give him money or let him sleep with your daughter or son or wife or whatever. Beat him as and when required and piss upon him at regular intervals so as to communicate your deprecation of his claims to moral authority.

Having dealt with the message of the Uttarakanda, let us now look at Ramachandra Gandhi's solution for the Babri Masjid issue. 
He says a crime has committed against women and 'lower' castes and for this reason nothing should be done, neither should the mosque be built nor a temple constructed, nor the land be returned to an agricultural purpose.
Thus, Gandhi thinks, reparation for a historical crime dictates how land should be used here and now. 
What is the flaw in this argument?
If a crime against women and lower castes requires reparation, why not a crime against the 'High Caste' Manuvad Hindus? Were they not conquered by Muslims? If reparation is owed to Women and Scheduled Castes why not to High Caste Hindu men?
The British left over 65 years ago yet India is quite happy to go on receiving Aid from the U.K on the grounds that this is some sort of reparation for their past crimes.
However, the British justified their exploitation of Bengal by saying it was reparation for the Black Hole of Calcutta, the massacre at Kanpur and so on and so forth. 
Ramachandra Gandhi, in the end, reveals himself to be as stupid as his grandfather- who thought the earthquake in Bihar was a divine punishment for the horrors of the Caste System.

The Mahatma was a head trauma victim. He wrote and said stupid things. His grandson was an intelligent, educated, man of spotless reputation. Yet, because he made the mistake of treating his grandfather's writings and sayings as being other than the ravings of a crackpot, he ended up saying foolish and stupid things.

What stupid and foolish people say about Ethics and Religion, in other words, almost everything Scholarly published under that rubric, is mischievous shite.

The Babri Masjid issue, all along, was a situation where co-operative Game theory- not tit-for-tat competitive Game theory- needed to be applied. The Law permits it, Revealed Religion (not Gandhian idiocy) sanctifies it, and the principle of Subsidiarity (the essence of Democracy) commands it.

Gandhian politics looks like an ideal basis from which to build co-operative solutions. Yet, neither in Gandhi's hands , nor in those of his heirs and apostles, has it ever worked as such. Instead, it has functioned as a mischievous interressement mechanism which flash freezes people and communities into eternally antagonistic roles. 

Gandhian thinking would turn the whole of India, the whole of the world, into nothing but rubble which is to be treated as sacred, which must be left in place, because 'the debris, the rubble, representing the hardness of our hearts and the shallowness of our minds, is more sacred as a confession of our unregenerateness' than as anything else more socially utile.

The point about Ayodhya is that it is a Temple town. Everybody can benefit if the pilgrim trade increases. There is a positive sum co-operative solution that dominates all others.

The Saudis have been accused of vandalism because they knocked down a lot of old buildings- no doubt of great antiquarian interest and aesthetic value- and turned Mecca into a technological marvel of Civil Engineering which, I am given to understand, fulfils its function very well at a utilitarian level. Ordinary people, from all over the world, go on pilgrimage there and find the experience glorious. Saudi Arabia will be able to draw revenue to maintain the Holy Places, from the pilgrims even if their oil suddenly runs out. 

It appears, the dilatory Indian Justice system has at last handed down a judgement that can be the basis of a co-operative solution. Instead of rubble, something more conducive to commerce may appear on the site.

It is noteworthy that the Gandhians, here as elsewhere, contributed nothing to the solution but, rather, sought to make permanent the worst possible outcome on the grounds that so stupid and foolish a course should be held 'more sacred'.

2 comments:

Sanjay said...

Whoa there buddy! Why are you picking on Ramachandra Gandhi? He was one of the good guys. Enjoyed a cold beer and knew all the old film songs.
Damn good writer, by the way and not a 'Gandhian' at all.

windwheel said...

Right. I guess I was thinking of his goody-goody brothers. So long as he got a couple of pints down his throat from time to time, he should certainly be forgiven preferring rubble where at least one could at least smoke and share a bottle of tarra to whatever ugly monstrosity Corporate Religion plans to erect there.