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'Peaceful Muslims, Pls Refudiate'

Mukul Kesavan, in the Telegraph, on how some arguments, without exception, represent the thin end of an intolerant, majoritarian wedge: 

As I follow the Cordoba House controversy, I know that I’ve been here before. After the Babri Masjid was razed in 1992, a majoritarian common sense evolved about the resolution of the dispute. ‘Reasonable’, ‘moderate’ public men and women argued that Muslims, regardless of the historical merits of the Ramjanmabhoomi case, ought to defer to the Hindu majority’s sensibilities in this one case. To concede the site as a gesture of goodwill would, they argued, earn Muslims enormous credit and disarm militant Hindus. To persist in laying claim to Ayodhya would merely aggravate the dispute, consolidate Hindu militancy and marginalize Muslims.

A decade later, with the Bharatiya Janata Party defeated and out of office, the realpolitik force of that argument is a little dissipated. Not to concede Ayodhya to a violent majoritarian mobilization was clearly the right thing to do at the time for anyone who took republican and constitutional principle seriously. If there’s a lesson to be learnt from the Cordoba House and the Babri Masjid controversies, it is this: if you want to be principled about not ‘appeasing’ minorities, it’s useful not to spend your polemical energies pandering to majorities.

Read the full piece at the Telegraph

Post Script: More from Hitchens: A Test of Tolerance

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