Secondly, Parliament had the right to challenge the Places of Worship law, and indeed some in the BJP have been asking for this to happen. Given the current numbers in Parliament, this is entirely possible.
Mustafa then said that there was no real legal cover for Muslims and they should instead try reconciliation with Hindus. Meaning that they should voluntarily give up some mosques so as to end the issue once and for all.
Something similar, though on a different subject, was suggested by journalist Saeed Naqvi, with whom I had a discussion a few days ago at the Bangalore International Centre. Naqvi felt that Hindus were upset that while Pakistan got an Islamic state, India remained secular. If India were to be made a Hindu Rashtra formally, then that sense of grievance in Hindus would vanish. He said that it might even be better for India, and pointed to the United Kingdom which officially is a kingdom with an Anglican ruler, but where figures like Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid could aspire to high office, unlike India.
Both Mustafa and Naqvi are well-meaning, knowledgable and experienced. It would not be appropriate to dismiss what they are saying and we would do well to contemplate the meaning of their words.
I wanted to look at the other aspect here. Is the assumption that Hindus are aggrieved with the Constitution of India correct? And secondly, is the historical sense of grievance behind what is happening in Kashi and happened in Ayodhya?
Perhaps it is, and for the purpose of trying to understand events, let us assume that this is the case. What follows from here is that we have to see what else has been going around us and connect it to this fresh dispute in the court.
Since 2014 but especially since 2019 we have seen a slew of state actions from the BJP that address Muslims. The criminalization of Muslim divorce, the gutting of Kashmir’s democracy and autonomy, the criminalization of the possession of beef, the ban on hijab, the ban on namaz in designated spaces, the ban on Muslims vending near temples, the blaming of Muslims for the spread of Covid, the use of bulldozers against mostly Muslim homes and shops. These are the things that have kept this nation busy and are what have made the news headlines in the last 36 months.
For us to engage with what Mustafa and Naqvi are saying, we have to assume that all of the above are also the product of Hindu resentment that they have been stuck with a secular State, and the product of their historical grievance against the Mughals. Is this the case? I do not want to answer this here but it would be interesting for each of us to ask ourselves what the core issue is, if there is a core issue.