The facts preceding the demolition of the Babri Masjid are simple. The masjid was assaulted twice. In 1990, bjp-backed kar sevaks broke through police barricades set up by chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and hoisted a saffron flag atop the mosque. Ham-handed official action led to scores of kar sevaks being killed in police firing.
Later, the BJP's Kalyan Singh replaced Mulayam Singh as chief minister. The kar sevaks led by Advani, accompanied by bjp and vhp leaders, again entered the mosque. They had pledged no harm would come to the mosque. But on the fateful day, from an adjacent stage, the leaders exhorted the kar sevaks. Advani presided on the dais. The mob went berserk. It demolished the mosque. It went on a rampage. It burnt houses and killed over a score of Muslims residing in Ayodhya.
From this, people might easily conclude that Advani and colleagues were guilty. Ah, that is where people would be wrong. Thanks to the depositions made in the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry, it transpires that the guilt lay elsewhere.
V.P. Singh was guilty. Why didn't he solve the Ayodhya dispute in 1990 when he had the chance? Why did he withdraw the ordinance to acquire land adjacent to the mosque? After that, what option did the poor kar sevaks have except to demolish the mosque?
Narasimha Rao was guilty. Why didn't he defy chief minister Kalyan Singh and order the central police to forcibly intervene? Without a restraining hand, how could the poor kar sevaks know when to stop?
The judges were guilty. Why did they delay the verdict in the court case regarding the acquisition of land near the mosque? How long could the poor kar sevaks remain in suspense?
Rajiv Gandhi was guilty. Why did he allow access to the Ram idol placed in the mosque decades earlier? That really encouraged the start of the Ayodhya movement.
Rajiv Gandhi was doubly guilty. Why did he upset the court verdict in the Shah Bano case? That really provoked the Ayodhya movement.
Only Advani was innocent. He became a victim. The demolition was the "saddest" event of his life. The entry into the mosque by kar sevaks was the "happiest". Between his grief and bliss, have we missed something?
The mosque lies demolished. But so does the honour of Hindu society.
At times I'm saddest,
At times I'm gladdest,
But never the maddest
To admit I'm baddest!