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Ayodhya: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Ayodhya: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

September 24, 2010
Sourav Roy

The Ayodhya verdict is on its way. Stay home, but know your greatest enemy.

Ram Janmabhoomi aka Babri Masjid, Ayodhya - One of the most troublesome incidents in the history of modern India, has once again taken centre stage this month. This religious conflict has rewritten the country’s political environment over the past 20 years. The main issues revolve around access to the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque. On 6th December, 1992 the Babri Mosque was destroyed by a mob of Hindu nationalists, 150,000 strong, despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed. Communal riots followed the incident and thousands of people were killed. The Mumbai blasts of ’93 were also a consequence of the same incident. Since then the barren land in Ayodhya continues to be the time bomb of Indian politics.

The Ayodhya verdict is being seen as a major threat to the peace and harmony of this country. States are on high alert. The forthcoming court judgment is being anticipated with some nervousness by the residents of Ayodhya and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, where the state government has requested 35,000 added paramilitary police to deal with any disturbance. To add further pressure the timing of the judgement might coincide with the Commonwealth Games. Schools, colleges and institutions all across the country have decided to remain closed on this day and the common man has decided to stay home and follow this whole incident on TV.

An important question of the hour is - who are we afraid of? What is the greatest threat to the secularist fabric of this nation today? Is it the Hindus, who demonstrated their rage when the mosque was demolished? Is it the Muslims, who have been denied justice for a long time? The answer is neither. It is the media that is to be feared at this hour! Let the high court decide the good and the bad. But it is media, that is, and has remained ugly for quite some time.

Let’s roll back. In early March, 2001, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) staged a protest in Delhi against the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. Rumours circulated that copies of the Quran were being burnt at this meeting. VHP denied the rumours, but media aired them anyway. A rage erupted after Friday prayers all across the country. More than a dozen died in Kanpur. It was not Hindus or Muslims who killed them. It was the media!

One year later - In early March 2002, Gujarat was imploding in the wake of the Godhra incident. People were being slaughtered. Buildings were set alight. In one such building, a media representative claimed that the burning of Quran had been physically witnessed. The truth was that in midst of the blazing building, other items were consumed by the fire including books. So what was the purpose of this moron specifically referring to the burning of the Quran? This only added more fuel to the fire, scars of which can still be seen in the faces of innocent people who lost everything they had in those bloody riots.

26/11/2008, Mumbai - The way the media covered this whole ugly incident live, created fear and mayhem across the nation. Ask anyone who was glued to their television at the time and they will recount how the attack was gratuitously exaggerated. Had the media learnt no lessons from the Kandahar and Gujarat fiasco? It was their coverage of the Mumbai attack that provided terrorists across the border with live visual feedback for their direction of operations!

Is there no authorized body that regulates the media of this country? Are there no rules or code of conduct on reporting sensitive issues? By the way, there are no rules that govern media, but there are guidelines. Recently, the News Broadcasters' Association (NBA) issued specific guidelines to its member channels covering the Ayodhya verdict. They advised that the telecast of any news should not be sensational, inflammatory or provocative.

No footage of the demolition of the Babri Masjid is to be shown in any news item relating to the judgment and no visuals need be shown depicting celebration or protest of the judgment. There should be no speculation about the judgment before it is announced or of likely consequences after the verdict, which could be provocative. Over the years, the media has consistently proved to be the most unethical body in the country. Can we expect the dirty ratings-hungry media to follow these guidelines to keep the situation under control? Now that's a million dollar question, the answer to which the country of a billion awaits.


48 Comments

  • Jitoo Parekh
    By
    Jitoo Parekh
    01.10.10 06:40 AM
    Barnaby,Hardeep & Souray, Indian News Channels are like Tabloids.
    If you ask one, who is Mohandas Karmchand,they want point out that it is Mahatma we are talking about. As far as The Indian Express and other News Papers concerned, they Lost the Editorial in 1990.I called one up in April 1990 about a Medical Entrance Examination Fraud at 6 am, The Paper just said call after Lunch as reporters are not available.T hey do not want to cover the actual CRIME & Catch them. They want to collect their Fat Salary.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    01.10.10 01:11 AM
    @ Hardeep

    So true! Media instead of educating us, is busy scaring us.

    Instead of analyzing information and making sense, they are busy blowing issues beyond proportion.

    TV is fine. They are 'supposed' to break news. But the way newspapers have started doing the same job, hurts the most! I miss the quality of editorials that The Hindu and Indian Express came up with. I hate the fact that Asian age has lost its market. What I hate the most is the best seller newspapers of India are no more than fashion magazines! But, lets admit- even we are to blame. Supply is proportional to demands, afterall...
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    01.10.10 01:05 AM
    @ Jitoo and Barnaby

    It is an irony that Indian judiciary is pathetic. It takes ages to put a known criminal behind bars, whereas lakhs of beggars from the streets of Delhi are attended by mobile courts and thrown out of the city and left to die of hunger, all of this in the name of CWG. It truly is one of the greatest irony of this country!
  • Hardeep singh
    By
    Hardeep singh
    30.09.10 11:56 PM
    I think what the news channel do are making them the biggest criminal at the moment.
    I had an incident couple years ago where a guy was beaten up by a group of gangsters and then the news guy came and took his story buy when he didn't had any money to pay the media guy went to the other party and got paid by them to write story in their favor.. it is all messed up what they do and i think public should be aware of all of the media who manipulates any thing to the worst.. waheguru..
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    30.09.10 10:55 PM
    I like what Jitoo said above.

    It really is hard to believe that this sort of '16 years on, oh, I don't know, you can all have a piece of pie' judgment is going to have everyone calmly nodding in agreement.
  • Jitoo Parekh
    By
    Jitoo Parekh
    30.09.10 09:51 PM
    Eight thousand Page verdict by High Court.
    Equal amount of rough pages? How many copies will be made? Poor Trees and Poor Forest. And I thought,
    They all want Green World.
    Global Warming and Dimming.
    Anyone can tell me what Dimming is?
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    30.09.10 09:12 PM
    ^^

    :) Let's hope things improve. The country is at peace hours after the verdict. So far so good...

    Requesting everyone to keep things cool and not make provocative claims. We need peace and harmony.

    Remembering lines by Harivansh Rai Bachchan ji-
    ??????? ?' ?????? ?? ??, ??, ???, ???? ??????
    ??, ???, ???? ???????, ??, ???, ???? ????,
    ????? ???? ?? ? ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ????,
    ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ???????!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    30.09.10 09:05 PM
    @Jitto, very nice.

    Maybe the CWG organisers could have some use for the wrestling ring with all the problems they are having
  • Jitoo Parekh
    By
    Jitoo Parekh
    30.09.10 08:50 PM
    One-third to the Hindus, one-third to the Muslims, one-third to the Akhara/wrestling ring where they continue to fight
  • Sharath Babu
    By
    Sharath Babu
    30.09.10 06:37 PM
    I agree with u buddy, we can be sure that there wont be any bloodshed cause present India is very much different from how it was 6 decades ago.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    30.09.10 06:26 PM
    @ Sumra

    I have not tried to idealize things. I have tried to abstract a few underlying issues and highlight the solution. I feel in these times when our humanity is tested, me writing an article that runs dry on facts will only add to the problem. Yes, our generation is forgetting its cultural and religious roots but that is not a problem just with Hindus. It is a problem every community is facing today!

    I have sent you a mail. Send me your article. We can discuss further by mail.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    30.09.10 06:15 PM
    @ Sharath

    Irrespective of what decision is made, if there is slightest of bloodshed, we have failed our religion and nation. This is a real test for our nation's people and their secularist faith. As I have said before- "If every Hindu becomes a real Hindu and every Muslim becomes a real Muslim, there will not be any issues!"
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    30.09.10 06:07 PM
    @ Praveen

    Media has to be independent of state. We will become a communist state if there is one media and no difference in opinion. Well, it is the responsibility of people and media to keep things under control.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    30.09.10 05:59 PM
    @ Jitoo

    Thanks again!!

    @ DeepInsight

    You are partially correct. But we live in a democratic land where we can't hurt someone's feelings and impose ours. My stand on this issue is clear. No matter who wins the case, I will be ashamed of my countrymen if blood is shed. I don't care if a temple or mosque or church is built on that land. Life is superior than faith on any given day!
  • Sharath Babu
    By
    Sharath Babu
    30.09.10 05:54 PM
    Very cleverly designed verdict..:):):)
  • Sumra
    By
    Sumra
    30.09.10 05:32 PM
    For quite sometime I have been meaning to write a article on evolving Hindu mind post independence, and if you would mail me your id...I would like you to give it a read and express your opinion on it. But I am not sure that it would be coming out soon..as I am too busy. But whenever I write it I would want you to read it.

    Are you an NRI? This site is NRI so you must be. Stupid of me but please confirm.
  • Sumra
    By
    Sumra
    30.09.10 05:26 PM
    @ Sourav Roy:

    No I am not hurt. But you know there are certain things like human psychology, and in-depth knowledge of religion that many people seem to overlook and I don't like this. When you are stating something, you need to be sure you know that thing inside out and I don't see it here.

    And just because there wasn't a judiciary at that time doesn't make the deed right.

    I don't like when people idealize things, it overrides facts.
  • Praveen
    By
    Praveen
    30.09.10 10:40 AM
    I would say, there MUST be ONE media channel for different languages, even the newspapers n TV channels !

    all these local media's add stupid stuff in the real facts to fill there money bags!
  • DeepInsight
    By
    DeepInsight
    29.09.10 04:27 AM
    The solution is not that simple. For muslims that place is of no importance and is just a mosque built to destroy huindu's key religious place but for Hindus it is the Birth place of there prominent Avtar Ram. The best gesture would have been that muslim community should come forward to say ok you should keep your ram's birth place give us a mosque a little distance apart. But expecting such a generous stand from muslim community is tough given the nature of there religious leaders and political leaders.
  • Jitoo Parekh
    By
    Jitoo Parekh
    27.09.10 06:48 AM
    Sourav, That is a Good one.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    27.09.10 01:55 AM
    @ Raj

    Let's do it!
  • Raj Khandelwal
    By
    Raj Khandelwal
    26.09.10 11:04 PM
    Great View !!! This is called the 3-D view of our really Indian catastrophic (thats killing our "being diversification"). 1st D - YUP ! Politician. 2nd D - Fundamentalist and yes the 3-D winner is our MEDIA... who actually helps other to showcase there talent... Stop it !!! Government how much wake up call do u need, dude !! Stop making those media governed decisions, you have the power use it...( this was an appeal to Indian government, appeal what a joke). I think Indian government actually needs some motivational and counselling session from some great Gs cause they really lack the self of Being themselves, beside corruption.I Request you and all Indian People to let them believe that Yes ! they can ( actually can, i mean ) govern our country.... Lets Create an awareness campaign for the government of INDIA stating " DONT FEAR WE ARE WITH YOU, TAKE DECISIONS ".... Lets become the Gs... What do you think Sir, will it work... LAUGH OUT LOUD ( LOL ) or ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... LETS DO IT !!!!!!
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    26.09.10 10:18 PM
    @ Jitoo

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    @ Juzar

    I completely agree with you. Infact politics added as an ingredient in any aspect changes it only for worse.

    For instance, Socialism is a beautiful thing. Make it political and it becomes communism. Add politics to Capitalism and it becomes imperialism. Add politics to religion and it leads to disasters. Add politics to patriotism and it leads to wars. Add politics to a Rajshri production movie and it becomes an Ekta Kapoor soap :D
  • Juzar Noorani
    By
    Juzar Noorani
    26.09.10 09:22 PM
    Its all about people making money even if it costs lives. The entire game is based on the economics and people who get swayed by it are just fools. Politics is all about money and so is the media. Politics needs attention to feed on and so does the media. Blaming both is I think senseless. Why are we giving importance to people who make fools of us is the question we should ask ourselves, I think. Your article does make a person start thinking.
  • Jitoo Parekh
    By
    Jitoo Parekh
    26.09.10 05:44 AM
    We are all still stuck with Babri Masjid issue.
    Wait till you come across The Taj Mahal.
    My Late Father called it the Tomb of Tears. and told me," Do not burn your Slum by looking at others Taj Mahal.
    I told my son, Get Mumtaz First and think of Building a Taj Mahal.
    He may say, Get a Shiv Temple first to Build a Taj Mahal on it.
    Metamorphosis? Yes!
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    25.09.10 11:25 PM
    @ Sumra

    I'm sorry if I have hurt your feelings. But my article speaks in term of how high court sees this whole issue. Babar must have destroyed a temple that existed in Ayodhya, but there was no high/supreme court back then. But in 1990's Indian judiciary was functional! Please don't see my article as biased towards one community. As I have claimed earlier- "If every Hindu becomes a true Hindu and every Muslim becomes a true Muslim, this issue will resolve by itself"

    Don't you agree with me??
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    25.09.10 11:18 PM
    @ Anil

    Thanks. Television is suppose to analyse situations and break sensible news. Newspapers are suppose to educate us proactively. Unfortunately, News channels are loaded with cheap blabber and Newspapers have become fashion magazines.

    @ Sharath

    Answer to your question- There are several forces that act on media. The greatest force that acts on it is people; their taste and demands. Media has spoiled us but this is just one part of the circle. It is 'us' who have spoiled media. There are still sensible newspapers in our country but we read 'Times' which is more of fashion magazine filled with ads. Pick a copy of frontline and you will find one or two ads in it, that too of educational institutions or of government agencies. Their quality of articles is extremely good. But still, the country reads lame magazines to keep itself happy. Who is to blame??
  • Sharath Babu
    By
    Sharath Babu
    25.09.10 08:21 PM
    I perfectly agree with you buddy, being a democratic country, media has emerged as such an powerful entity that more than the courts verdict, its the way how media portrays the whole issue draws a line between communal violence and integrity. But my question is why we aren't using this powerful body for good use..??? Frankly my firm believe is that media is being biased and it has lost its charm which it had during the time of freedom struggle, as a common man i can only regret over this issue. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for "THE DAY".

    Yet another brilliant article, hoping for many more to come.
    My best wishes.
  • Sumra
    By
    Sumra
    25.09.10 06:56 PM
    Muslims awaiting justice? Great demolish monuments of other faiths and build mosques over them and then wait for justice.
  • Anil Raj
    By
    Anil Raj
    25.09.10 06:30 PM
    Good to see you here...,

    Majority of the youth are unaware of the issue. So, we can expect very less problems here. Really as you said, Media can take the Devil's part by recalling the things often what we want to forget..,
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    25.09.10 06:18 PM
    @ Siddharth

    Thanks for your optimistic opinion. We all hope for the same.

    @ Ratnadeep

    Thanks :) God bless us all...
  • Ratnadeep
    By
    Ratnadeep
    25.09.10 05:58 PM
    Nice thing. Good solutions are less likely to occur. But may god give us the peace.
  • Siddharth
    By
    Siddharth
    25.09.10 03:12 PM
    Article is very good.
    The comments and reply too are intresting. There is a good suggestion that we should think of other probable solutions like opening some school or orphanage. There could be more better things that the Indian Government is planning leaving their political issues.
    The major challenge in reforming is media, as it gives a negative perception in the minds of comman man.
    Youth is still alive and I hope no such riots in future will take place.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    25.09.10 03:03 PM
    @ Abhijit

    Thanks guru, for bringing into notice, the rise of BJP as parallel happening in India during those days of Babri. I personally blame it to Rajiv Gandhi who triggered the rise of BJP. If it was not his bofors, the country would have not lost trust on the PM of this nation. Equally disastrous were his clumsy efforts to woo Muslim fundamentalists through the Shah Bano case while courting the Hindu right-wing through his decision to open the locked Ayodhya gates! All these led to Babri and rise of BJP...

    The nation was crying for change and BJP was their answer.

    Yes, we need to question ourselves as far as the concept of religion is concerned. As Tolstoy titled his magnum opus- "The kingdom of God is within you".
  • Abhijit Sen
    By
    Abhijit Sen
    25.09.10 02:57 AM
    Appreciate the vision behind yours awesome blog - it really demonstrates matured comment bundled with facts.
    Yet I would somehow like to comment on neither being Muslims or the Hindus but the media you being holding responsible over here ---
    Freedom to right of speech and expression is what is dealt here that should be pure, perfect and wise from both sides one delivering and the other capturing it. People are matured enough to understand the difference between what is presented and what being the fact. If you see the rage of Hindus in the Babri Masjid Demolition it cannot be the media responsible for that. There being a wave around the country maybe politically blended but the figures show the truth...
    1984 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got only 2 seats out of 543 - in the following 1989 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP obtained 88 seats and it supported the Janata Dal-led coalition of V.P. Singh - After the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP became the premier opposition party, and the Congress government functioned as a minority. The First BJP Government (May 16 - 31st, 1996)- the single-largest political party in the parliament, with the Congress at its lowest tally ever.
    ---Can these figures be ignored and simply blamed on the media ...
    …Are the public so immature d and irresponsible that they cannot understand the right and wrong, that they get misguided so easily by the media or politics or religion.
    Its not like that its probably the convincing methodology being adopted by the political party that encourages the idle people to arise a rage and get a bit of popularity and profit of the situation for a cause which cannot be proved to be noble.
    People being matured need to justify the right and wrong, understand the reasoning behind the truth and deal with situation which being the best for the individual and also the nation. All individual needs to arise oneself, out of the selfishness in thinking, overcome blind faith on anything, be flexible in adopting the situation and perform according to circumstances. GOD lies in all which being omnipresent and omnipotent. If GOD is in you and he has the power of doing anything then all individual have the power of doing anything, which builds and wonderful inspiration to the processor, but the attitude and the understanding matters here which is mandatory to be positive.

    At last – really appreciate the thoughts of my brother Sourav… All the very best Dear in visualizing yours thoughts!

    Regards
    Abhijit
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    25.09.10 01:18 AM
    @ Azad

    Thanks for the encouragement. I myself am a great fan of your writings, and your encouragement means a lot to me :)

    @ Vinay

    I completely agree with you. An absolute verdict is not possible, atleast in the current political and social grounds.
  • vinay
    By
    vinay
    25.09.10 12:29 AM
    Personally i feel there will not be any absolute verdict for this trial.
    This incident will probably be narrated to many a generations to come.
  • azad
    By
    azad
    25.09.10 12:11 AM
    Very Well written Sourav!
    You were successful in giving the article a very interesting twist and an equally good viewpoint. Media freedom has been used many a times to incite people. I feel sad when i see media channels playing pieces like, "Hawa me Udta yogi" and "Kashmir should be given freedom"!!!

    If you would have focused on writing more on the Ayodhya issue, i would have sure played a devil's advocate! ;-)
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    24.09.10 11:38 PM
    @ Ramya

    Thanks. We all wish that Ayodhya becomes a symbol of communal peace in the future. Infact, that day is coming, mainly due to the culturally detached youth of our nation.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    24.09.10 10:29 PM
    @Afshan

    As a matter of fact, if every Hindu becomes a true Hindu and every Muslim becomes a true Muslim, the very problem will perish!

    The solution you pose is perfect! Infact, I had once written an article on this issue and had posed similar solutions. I suggest you read it- http://souravroy.com/2010/01/01/killing-in-the-name-of-god-the-ayodhya-issue/
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    24.09.10 10:24 PM
    @Shyam
    Thanks buddy.

    I agree with your views. Guess what? The possible solution has already been implemented. Delay in the verdict was the best possible solution. With 20 years that have passed, two major changes have happened-
    1. The economic reforms in India enhanced the quality of life of the Indian middle class.
    2. Globalization depolarized the cultural diversity of India. People from all communities of India today, look the same.

    These has been a serious change of mindset among Indians, which has led to unawareness of these issues among the youth and hence, very less chances of problems due to the verdict. The major threat we face today is Media!!
  • Ramya
    By
    Ramya
    24.09.10 10:19 PM
    I completely agree with your view in the article. The place should be dedicated to some social issue..like opening an orphanage or a school for the needy..a million neutral thing can be done.. Really hoping an intelligent stand is taken.
  • Afshan Mujawar
    By
    Afshan Mujawar
    24.09.10 08:45 PM
    Hagi Sophia in Turkey has a similar history. It was, at some point in time, a church as well as a mosque. It is now a museum dedicated to both religions.

    The ground in dispute should be converted into something non-religious. Build a monument to peace and brotherhood there for crying out loud! Its not that people don't have a solution to the issue.. they don't WANT the issue to get resolved.. how on earth are they going to garner votes??

    The common man is wiser now though. The reactions to LK Advani's comments during the past elections shows this clearly. Politicians looking to cause chaos will think twice before doing anything now. We can only wait and watch.
  • shyam
    By
    shyam
    24.09.10 06:22 PM
    hey sourav nice to see ur views again...
    however what you spoke is known to all of us , may be in some latent form!!!!!
    its time when we should think of the possible solutions ...
    actaully why not leaving that entire place vacant? neither of the parties will have any thing to celebrate or mourn for! and ofcourse no more of political benefits to some white kahdi people and no threat to life or property!!!!!!
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    24.09.10 05:51 PM
    @Rishi

    Thanks for your genuine support.
  • RISHI
    By
    RISHI
    24.09.10 04:12 PM
    i'm with you on this. excellent work sourav. vey well expressed.
  • Sourav Roy
    By
    Sourav Roy
    24.09.10 03:53 PM
    @Jayanth

    I agree. Even Indian Express and The Telegraph (Calcutta) are good newspapers. But they too have undergone quality degradation over past sometime :(
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    24.09.10 03:13 PM
    The media easily is ugly in the whole thing. Even though the Press Council has given guidelines not to hype the verdict up, CNBC is giving a live count down.. 3 days to go, 2 days to go etc. and Sagarika Ghose has been unnecessarily tweeting offensive...

    I do not expect anything better from these media people either. The Hindu is the only news organization in India that has an internal fact checking division!

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