The people of a secular nation like India expect their elected leaders and the governments to focus on pressing livelihood issues instead of harping on emotive and religious issues. It is particularly unbecoming of a leader holding Prime Minister’s office to repeatedly invoke the Ayodhya issue and challenge the political rivals to demonstrate their commitment on building the Ram temple. By raising the contentious Ram Mandir issue during public rallies, Narendra Modi is only undermining the sanctity, objectivity and equanimity that his position demands of him. He must be called out for disregarding such core values. At a time when leaders of other parties are wary of wading into this sensitive debate for fear of hurting the majority sentiments, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has chosen to speak out the truth quite candidly. He called a spade a spade without mincing any words. It requires enormous courage of conviction and sincerity for a political leader to reset the narrative on Ayodhya and to remind the Prime Minister of his constitutional duties of governing the nation instead of taking partisan stands on religious disputes. Chandrashekhar Rao’s prescription that the contentious Ayodhya issue must be left to courts and religious leaders to sort out is perfectly valid and must be welcomed. It is unfortunate that the Ram Janmabhoomi issue is sought to be made the central theme of national political discourse when people of the country are grappling with basic livelihood issues.
The political Hindutva, being practised and propagated by the right wingers, is dangerous because it undermines the core secular values of the country while spiritual Hindutva teaches respect for other faiths, assimilation and accommodation. The country has already suffered enough turmoil and bloodshed in the wake of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement culminating in the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid over 26 years ago. Political parties and governments must stay out of the dispute, leaving the matter to the court and religious seers to resolve. It must be noted that the post-liberalisation generation has no memories of the Ayodhya imbroglio and it is in the interests of this aspirational generation that the country needs to exorcise the ghosts of the past. The painful baggage of the past needs to be offloaded for the sake of a better future. There is now an overwhelming yearning among both the Hindus and the Muslims for a peaceful resolution of the dispute. The dynamics of the new age calls for a fresh approach to heal the wounds and an out-of-the-box solution. Hopefully, the ongoing mediation exercise, as mandated by the Supreme Court, will help in finding an amicable solution to the decades-old dispute.