Few months ago, I was in train. The gentleman sitting next to me was a retired Colonel of Indian Army.
Man with a class! We discussed Mughals, Marathas, Rajputs and their war styles. He enlightened me on many occasions.
And then there was a discussion on Babri. His face colour suddenly changed.
I could see swelled veins on his throat due to extreme increase in blood circulation. His voice changed. Then this happened.
Colonel : Had I been there, I would have shot every Karsevak on December 6.
Vashi : Why?
Colonel : Because no one has any bloody business destroying an ASI certified structure in a secular democracy.
Vashi : Why?
Colonel : Because that is against secular constitution of India. I would have shot every person who killed soul of secular India that day.
Vashi : How many ‘Peaceful’ men did you kill for refusing to follow Uniform Civil Code of India – the soul of secular constitution?
Vashi : Why silent, Sir?
Colonel (after 2 minutes of pin drop silence): But still, should we not condemn demolition?
Vashi : Condemn it. But you went beyond. At UCC, you accepted hooliganism with condemnation.
At Babri, you wanted to shoot in the head. What is the matter? Why two different reactions on similar actions?
Colonel : (another silence for 5 minutes)
*after 5 minutes
Colonel : What is your age child?
Vashi : I am 29, Sir.
Colonel : I am 70. Today I learnt a lesson from someone my grandchild’s age. Yes, I was wrong.
Although not fully convinced in support of demolition, I now believe either shoot all or none. Thanks for the enlightening session.
Vashi : After protecting us for decades and taking bullets meant for us on your chest, there was no debate of right or wrong with you, Sir.
You are giver. We are takers. And then this humility! Not many people have heart to change stance on merit.
*I touched his feet. Next 4 hours, we ate, laughed and enjoyed together. We openly discussed need of UCC, terror and Jihad in full volume.
There were many skullcaps in the coach who did not look comfortable. But then who cared? He was a military man and I was Agniveer!