9/11 has always been a date to dread ever since 2001 when the New York twin Towers were bombed down by a terror attack. This year too, 9/11 left a feeling of dread in the hearts of many as the Supreme Court gave a verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue… In this article, Zafar Anjum traces the Ayodhya movement from the 1990s to pause on a pertinent question he had asked in his short story published in 2015, ‘Kafka in Ayodhya’ — “…what is more pleasing to God? Your temple after destroying a mosque or the suffering of those whose place of worship you destroyed?”
While TV journalists and anchors dissected the verdict and its fallout, my mind briefly traveled back to 1992, the year the Babri Masjid was demolished. I was studying at Aligarh Muslim University then. The Ayodhya movement was at its peak and we knew that something sinister and violent was going to erupt, so we made our way to our hometown in Bihar in late November. I was at my maternal grandfather’s place when the news came of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. We saw the then Prime Minister of India Narasimha Rao appear on TV and offer apologies and shed some tears. Later on, we learnt that Rao could have done more to stop the demolition but he chose not to. Through Rajiv Gandhi and later through Rao, the Congress Party had, wittingly or unwittingly, made its own contributions to the Ram Temple movement.
Over the past few months, the Congress party has often accused the Modi government of “trying to erase” Nehruvian legacy from the Indian mind space.
Now, in an attempt to counter the Modi government, the Congress party has decided to publish reading material on Nehru’s life and works in a reader-friendly easy language.
This is part of the Congress’ plan to hold a Big Bang event to conclude the 125th birth anniversary celebrations that the party started last November.
Five years ago, the release in India of “The Red Sari,” about the president of the then-governing Indian National Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, was unthinkable. Ms Gandhi was considered by some the de facto prime minister of the country, and her loyalists were incensed by the book’s contents, which they said were riddled with lies. They burned effigies of its Spanish author, Javier Moro, in Delhi’s streets, and, according to the Spanish publisher, lawyers representing the Gandhi family threatened a lawsuit.
This model piece of non-fiction narrates a tragedy of our times—how the brilliant Manmohan Singh fell from grace and stumbled his way through a tough term as PM: Gurcharan Das in The Outlook
The Accidental Prime Minister is the story of a tragedy. This is not entirely an insignificant achievement in a country where tragic narrative does not come naturally. A rare example was Jaya, an early rendering of the Mahabharata’s central story, whose narrator was another Sanjaya from two thousand years ago. Manmohan Singh’s rise and fall has all the ingredients of a classic tragedy: a good person falls through a series of irredeemable reversals, whose cause is a mistake, a ‘tragic flaw’ which lies in human frailty.