A Common Man’s View of the Ayodhya Verdict
On Sep 30, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had given its verdict on the title suit of the long pending legal dispute over a piece of land in Ayodhya, based on “unverified and unsubstantiated reference to the faith and belief of the Hindus”.
The verdict ran into thousands of pages and from all accounts, the same is sans of any passing mention of the vandalism that happened on 06 Dec 1992. Neither is there any reference to the death and the obliteration it left in its trail, nor any word of empathy for the victims.
Now three courses of action are available to the concerned parties. Either, move the Apex Court against the current verdict and, or accept the High Court Order in its entirety, or use this verdict as a basis for an out of court settlement that demands no further legal intervention in future. Within this third option lies a demand from most of the Hindu fringe groups which has an intimidating buzz to it. The Muslims must be generous enough to cede the 1/3 land that that the High Court has given them, so that it could pave the way for a grand temple structure.
While giving the Judgement, the Court has, directly or indirectly, provided a justification for the political movement that said of the same “faith” and “belief” to justify the demolition of the Babri Masjid. LK Advani, the senior BJP Leader, himself had always maintained that it was immaterial whether or not Ram was actually born in that spot because it was a matter of ‘aastha’ or belief. Today, with the verdict, this sentiment has found legal recognition, thereby reviving a movement that had collapsed under the weight of its own worthlessness.
Then, 18 years ago, the legal and the political system remained a mute witness to the vandalism and now, it has justified the sin by legitimizing the “faith” and “belief” of the mob who took law into their own hands. All the while, there is very little criticism of the triumphant chest thumping Hindutva spokespersons who, on every tv show are busy declaring that since the Muslims have lost, and that they should now help Hindus in building the grand temple at Ayodhya.
The Ayodhya verdict if left unchallenged will have dangerous consequences for some of the best concepts contained within the Constitution of India. As said earlier, it is indeed an indirect justification of the demolition, through the assertion, that, under the central dome lies the birthplace of ram.
But just as I say that the Judgement was tilted onto one side as it is based on matter of faith and belief of only one group there are questions to be answered too, as to how many Hindus had ever seen the idol of Ram Lalla (Either in Ayodhya, or else where in pictures or stautes). How many of us Hindus remember the ‘Leelas’ of Infant Ram?
Infant Ram is just does not exist in our beliefs. The only Ram that we worship is the one who goes to the Forest for the Van Vas and not the Ram Lalla.
Coming back to the dispute, to cite some history, it is often cited that from the 19th century, if not earlier, both Hindus and Muslims worshipped side by side within the currently disputed property. The Muslims worshipped inside the Babri Masjid, and the Hindus at the Ram Chhabutra which is housed within the Masjid Complex. (Similar type of Communal Harmony can be found in many other places of India, where Hindus and Muslims worship side by side).
This wonderful example of communal harmony and peace practice came to an end, when a politically motivated mob broke into the mosque and placed a deity of Infant Ram inside (the Ram Lalla). It is then that the Govt of India, declared the premises as disputed after Muslims protested and the gates to the shrine were locked. The locks were opened in 1986 allowing Hindus access to the shrine.
The current Judgement, by dividing the premises into three, in a way, is a step backwards into restoring the status prior to the era when the politicians got into the picture. But at the same time, the Judgement is a legitimization of the break-in of the mosque to place the idols of Ram Lalla under the mosque dome. More than that, it now recognizes this act to put the idols in their rightful place. Indirectly or otherwise, the Judgement accepts the destruction of the mosque in 1992 as well, by allotting the major portion of the premises to the group crying for a grand temple to be built.
Now that all the parties must move the Apex Court, and let us hope that the Supreme Court, in due course, will pronounce a final judgment taking into cognizance, all the relevant facts and upholding the principles of our Constitution rather than going by “faith’ and “belief”.
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