07 May, 2021

What Next After Ayodhya? How Constructive Will BJP-RSS Gameplan Be?

The Ayodhya verdict puts a legal seal on the goal of the rath yatra that led to Babri Masjid’s demolition. What does it mean for the future of the BJP-RSS and of Indian democracy?

Friday Mosque of the Vishvanath Temple of St John the Baptist
Courtesy: Gautam Bhatia
What Next After Ayodhya? How Constructive Will BJP-RSS Gameplan Be?

It is unlikely that the dust billowing from falling debris, whether in India’s remote past or near history, will ever settle. India lives as if in a constant series of ­detonations, of making and unmaking, wilfully filling out the idea of an endless cycle of death and rebirth…animated by the (often imagined) memory of past lives. The November 9 Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya, which cleared the path for temple construction, spoke to different memories in different people. For many, it recalled December 6, 1992—the day that saw enough debris, “an egregious violation”, in the court’s words—and the mobs that exacted their toll before and after. For those moved by the promise of a Ram temple, it recalled another: Som­nath. The phoenix among temples, if ever there was one.

Reaching back to Somnath’s historical symbolism was...

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