'Ram Mandir movement bigger than freedom struggle': Former Bajrang Dal president

You cannot think of Bharat without thinking of Shri Ram, says Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya

53-Jaibhan-Singh-Pawaiya Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya

Interview/ Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya, former president, Bajrang Dal

Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya, a former Lok Sabha member, was known as a hardcore hindutva leader with unmatched oratorial skills. He was also a former Bajrang Dal president and was jailed with BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Kalyan Singh and others in 1993. In 1996, he marched to Kashmir with some 50,000 young men to call for a ban on cow slaughter. Excerpts from an interview:

How do you look back upon the movement?

The Ram Mandir movement is often compared to the freedom struggle. I think it was an even bigger movement. It proved that Shri Ram is in our blood. The Parliament and state legislatures do not beat in the hearts of people; Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura do. Those who believe in Ram know how long the wait has been. Instead of 25 to 30 years, it took 500 years. The history of this movement does not start in 1984 when a pledge was taken on the banks of the Saryu. It goes back to 1528 when Mir Baqi, a commander of Babar, ravaged the birthplace of Lord Ram. Then some 1.75 lakh Hindus clung to the walls to save the structure. Many were beheaded. Their blood was mixed in the building material with which the Babri structure was made. It is rather unfortunate that people call it the Babri Masjid when it was just a blood-soaked structure that was brought down 500 years later.

How would you describe your feelings now?

I do not have the words. When I attended the [foundation stone-laying] ceremony on August 5, 2020, I had tears [of joy] in my eyes. It was unimaginable that the judiciary could make such a historic, clear and courageous decision. The fact that the mandir is being constructed during my lifetime is the fruit of good deeds done over many life cycles and God’s blessing. Like a squirrel, I have had the opportunity to contribute one small bit to the mandir.

What are your memories of December 6, 1992?

I had told the court that on December 6, I was on the same ground. However, we were at a stage at Ram Katha Kunj (a dais had been set up for leaders some 200m from the masjid). About 20 leaders from across the country were on it. Post noon, there was enhanced movement within the crowd. Some brave young men and women scaled the structure. The destruction was started, first from the left and then from the right. The only sound to be heard was Ram’s name.

Yet, no one seems to have brought the mosque down as per the court’s ruling.

I am a person of religious beliefs. I believe that this was a miracle of Hanuman. It was he who inspired people and gave them the strength to bring down the structure. K.S. Sudarshan ji (the fifth RSS sarsanghchalak) had written, ‘History cannot be made; it makes itself’. This was history making itself on Mother India’s soil. Even the courts have ruled that there was no conspiracy to bring the structure down. I am proud that despite the lack of planning that [structure] was brought down.

Are you ever disappointed that the original leaders of the movement are not given prominence today?

I am a constructive person. As a traveller, I only see hope on life’s path. The Ram Mandir movement was unlike any in the world. It was bigger than the struggle for independence, which was limited to a few cities and kasbas (towns). For the Ram Mandir movement, people from 3.5 lakh villages stood up and participated. Such a big movement was carried out only to awaken the self-respect of Indians. You cannot think of Bharat without thinking of Shri Ram. Mine is a kind Ram who even took his enemies under his cover. Surrender yourself to him and watch your life and life view change.