Jul 8, 2003


In this season of formulae, I believe I might have one of my own, which ought to be more acceptable to the vast and silent majority of this country. It probably requires a lesser amount of suspension of reality, and it may have certain fallouts that would appeal to quite a few people.

The scheme essentially involves collecting together in one place, all these self-styled representatives of both the communities, more the rabid the better. (One thing seems to stand out: here the most common factor is that most of these reps. have beards). The formula espouses a collective and democratic spirit, so the more of these people the better. We then proceed to bundle all these bearded barricaders into a room. Conventional politics has it that there are usually two ways to settle an argument: violent and non-violent. We've made several (mundane and half-hearted) non-violent attempts to settle the dispute, but let's face it, these guys have often specialised and distinguished themselves with two eyes for every hai! hai!. So why curb their natural animal instincts?

Having pushed our representatives together into a room, we announce that this is a fight to the end. Instead of every Indian going at each other's throats, we let their well-meaning representatives to do that. The ones left standing at the end are declared the winners, and the land in Ayodhya is now theirs for keeps.

And when you tap my shoulder trying to get me to inhale smelling salts, I'll confess there's no way this solution will solve anything. When one community makes it out of the room with a few casualties of their own (martyred!) but having wiped out the other non-believers, do you think the vanquished community will accept the verdict? (Court judgements are doomed to have the same fate). No, they won't, and so the game will continue. But, and this is the nub of it all, we shall atleast have become rid of a few bearded rabble-rousers, and the noise will be a little less for a few days.

These days, that's the best one can hope for.

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