Hindutva forces have achieved so much in the last 10 months that it is difficult to predict what will come next.
When the year began with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing, presenting and approving a constitutional amendment that introduces a 10 percent quota for the poor in the upper caste, we should have known that this would have been a year in which it could happen almost everything. The massive mandate that the Modi government received in the Lok Sabha polls in May only consolidated this impression.
And so, this weekend, after a historic verdict of the Supreme Court, it became clear that Ayodhya will obtain a Ram Temple at the place where an organized Hindutva mafia in 1992 demolished a 16th-century mosque, known as Babri Masjid, what which caused riots around the country.
If you are not familiar with the history of this case, here is an extremely basic summary: For more than a century, Hindus and Muslims have clashed in this place in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid is located, and the Hindus claim that it is the birthplace of Ram, one of Vishnu's avatars. In 1949, Hindutva organizations conspired to place a Ram idol in the mosque, effectively turning it into an improvised Hindu temple and leading to a court case about who owns the land.
Then, in the 1980s, the BJP and its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, used a nationwide campaign to build a Ram temple on site as a means to stoke the passions (and provoke violence), which culminated in a massive vandalism scale that demolished the mosque on December 6, 1992. Since then, the case had been in court, although it has always been politically volatile, with the BJP promising a Ram temple.
The case exposed many flaws about Indian politics and society, from the tremendous emotional power of Hindu nationalism to the difficulty that other political parties have had to defend secularism, from India's insistence on returning to centuries-old disputes until the growing marginalization of Muslims. . This reading list should catch you in the background.
On Saturday, the Supreme Court met over the weekend to pronounce its decision on the case, after a 40-day record of arguments and two failed attempts at mediation.
The short version of the verdict: The land goes to the Hindus, and the government has to establish a trust that will oversee all activities on it, including the construction of a temple. To compensate for the demolition of the mosque, Muslim parties will obtain another plot of land, twice the size, but elsewhere, which will be decided by the state government (led by BJP).
The political implications are innumerable, some of which Shoaib Daniyal has compiled here.
Here is my thread on Scroll.in & # 39; s The coverage of the sentence and The Weekend Fix also collected yesterday the most interesting readings of the web on the subject.
Even earlier this year, before the elections, there were some people who believed that a Ram temple might not be built in their lives, partly because one's promise seemed more politically powerful than the temple itself.
However, things have moved quickly since then. Modi managed to unilaterally alter the position of Jammu and Kashmir (although until the people of the Valley are free to say what they think, the consequences of that movement remain unclear).
Now, the Supreme Court has cleared the decks for a Ram temple. The question to ask is: What next? Article 370 disappeared, Ram temple on the way, what could the Modi government have in mind after this?
Its sociocultural agenda is, to some extent, clear:
A national registry of pan-India citizens, as Interior Minister Amit Shah, has been promising for some time, along with the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which combined would essentially mean harassment of Muslims sanctioned by the state.
A Uniform Civil Code: A long-standing right-wing demand that seeks to abolish the personal law of individual religions, essentially forcing minorities to follow the laws of the majority.
An anti-conversion law: Another old demand, in force in some states, is linked to the belief of the Hindu right that poor Indians often convert to Christianity through "bribes."
In many of these cases, the question is not yes but when. Will the BJP find it useful to push everything now, in the hope that it can mitigate the impact of what appears to be a severe slowdown? Or will it hold on to some of these movements, so that they can be used as outlets before major state elections, or even Lok Sabha's polls in 2024?
Hindutva forces have achieved so much in the last 10 months that it is difficult to predict what will come next. But what is clear is that, despite the statewide setbacks and an economic slowdown, on the national stage, the BJP flag is raised and for now you can try to achieve almost anything.
This article was originally published on Scroll.In and has been reproduced with permission. Illustration: Nithya Subramanian