dare touch the Muslims.”
Muslim Leader 2: All of us stand united. Abbot Gyan Das, you are the
true protector of the Hindu faith. You helped create such an atmosphere
that even the minuscule number of VHP supporters in Ayodhya were
hesitant to join the VHP openly.
Hindu Leader 2: Ayodhya has rejected the VHP and we wanted them to
understand this in no uncertain terms.
Muslim Leader 1: I am most of all relieved that their project to build
a Hindu temple on the site of our razed Muslim mosque has received no
Abbot: Now I must go to Lucknow to try to persuade the chief minister
there to stop the VHP. Meanwhile, you must all work together to build
local defense squads made up of equal numbers of Hindus and Muslims for
mutual nonviolent protection.
Hindu Leader 3: Perhaps the most significant proof of the strength of
the Ayodhya resistance came in the fact that very few of those who
attended the rally hailed from Ayodhya. One official even went so far as
to observe that there was very little local participation at all. People
mostly came from other states. The worst that Ayodhya feared did not
come to pass.
Abbot: We can’t put our feet up yet. We mustn’t forget that the
elections are coming soon. They will be drumming up violence in Ayodhya
again. They will organize riots, and innocents will be killed. We have
no time to rest. The country has to wake up to this new challenge. They
want the country to be polarized along ethnic lines and nobody is going
to come to the common people's rescue. We have to act now and fast.
(Source: “Nonviolence in the Arena,” Fellowship (January/February 2004):
_____; conflated with Dylan Mathews, “Saint Xavier’s Social Service
Society,” War Prevention Works: 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict
(Oxford: Oxford Research Group, 2001), 22-23.)
Taming the Tank
Setting: Dennis and Sheila are seated in the living room reading. John
(age 6) comes rushing in with a family friend in tow.
John: Momma, Daddy, Uncle _______ took me to McDonald’s and look what
I got! They are passing out toy tanks for free and I got one! They
give them out with the French fries.