Imagine an alternate scenario in Ayodhya

An amicable solution could have been reached through social rather than judicial intervention.

An amicable solution could have been reached through social rather than judicial intervention.

in his final verdict on ayodhya dispute, Delivered on November 9, 2019, The Supreme Court accepted the argument of several historians that no temple, no less the Ram temple, was demolished for the construction of the Babri Masjid. It declared the demolition of the mosque illegal and demanded the prosecution of the leaders responsible for it.

A Brief History of the Controversy

However, it is also a fact that since at least the 19th century, there has been a popular local tradition that associates the site with Lord Rama in various ways, and The controversy created by this has given rise to incidents of violence. As well as compromise. In the cold night of 22-23 December 1949, with the connivance of District Magistrate KK Nayyar, small clay idols of Ram Lalla were secretly kept inside the mosque. He remained there in connivance with GB Pant, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, a strong Congress leader, despite Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s instructions to remove him. The mosque was then closed for almost 50 years and was relatively quiet on that front.

Things began to heat up in the late 1980s, partly when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi allowed the gates of the mosque to open in a corner to a site where a Ram pops (Plinth) Shah Bano lay down to balance his disastrous handling of the case. Later in the decade, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced a sudden announcement by Prime Minister VP Singh to implement the Mandal Commission’s recommendation of 27% reservation of seats for Other Backward Classes in central government services and educational institutions. Raise the Ram Janmabhoomi issue; This came to be known picturesquely as the ‘Mandal-Kamandal’ competition. BJP put all its energy in mobilizing people for Ram Mandir.

There was no violence on the spot. Several attempts were made to settle the dispute over the land on which the Babri Masjid stood, without any violence. However, by then, the dispute had turned into a political conflict between the BJP and the VP Singh government and became a Hindu-Muslim dispute. The Hindu side respectfully offered to move the mosque, retaining its structure and foundation. The relocation of the entire structure was technically possible and was completed a few years earlier in Egypt when an older monument to widen the Suez Canal was similarly moved by rail to a neighboring site; Transfers could only be done within a short distance of a kilometer or two. But the offer was turned down, as Lord’s site was not open for bargaining.

After that things progressed rapidly. The Muslim side relied on historical evidence in their favor and the impartiality of the judiciary; The Hindu side relied on the mass movement through LK Advani’s Rath Yatra and violence in its wake. The judiciary tried to work out some sort of settlement with the Allahabad High Court to divide the disputed land between the two parties, if unequal – a solution that no one liked.

Pandora’s Box Opening

In the end, the Supreme Court determined that no evidence existed of temple demolition. It should logically have restored the site to the Muslims, as it was purely a property dispute. But by overturning his own logic, he gave this place to the Hindus. The decision gave immense power to the Hindu side, represented by its various wings – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP as a party and its various governments, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, etc. – to achieve ‘justice’. is of. Innumerable examples by registering cases regarding the construction of any mosque on the rubble of an old temple. It would also have the advantage of seeking to ‘correct’ the mistakes of the past through peaceful, judicial means, putting opponents on the defensive for not showing respect to the judiciary.

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Pandora’s box is now open. It strengthens Hindutva’s grip on the political body for the next several years by placing at the center the urgency of reclaiming the old temples that had been vandalized on them by medieval Muslim rulers, for which the present Muslim residents will have to bear the responsibility. , Issues of economy, education, health, freedom etc can wait. Above all, the history of the dispute and the recourse to judicial judgment have turned the two sides into two adamant adversaries, with the enthused Hindu side seeking a solution in more aggressive aggression.

Let us now imagine an alternative scenario in the 1980s. As the dispute grew in dimension, peaceful solutions were still being sought. What if the Muslim side had firmly expressed the historical veracity of their claim that no temple was demolished to erect the Babri Masjid, but also took cognizance of the widespread belief among Hindus of the Awadh region of the existence of the Ram Janmasthan was. to hit pops) within the premises and a Sita Kitchen (kitchen) within a few yards of it and thus, claiming his property rights on 2.7 acres, ‘offered’ it in honor of Rama? Ideally, this could have been done by accepting the proposal to move the mosque around the new grand Ram temple. But even otherwise, this ‘charity’ had the potential to avert the pitching of Hindus and Muslims as staunch opponents. Muslims may have earned goodwill among Hindus and the old slogan of Hindu-Muslim ‘Bhai-Bhai’ may have got an invigorating shot in the society. This would have made it extremely difficult for the Hindutva rioters to succeed in their endeavours or for the BJP to reach such heights. Above all, this solution could not be seen as victory or defeat but as an amicable solution through social rather than judicial intervention. In any case, it had the potential to be seen as a great moral victory for the Muslims; After all, it is the spirit of victory after the Ayodhya verdict that has made Hindutva supporters so aggressive. It would also have been in line with India’s mixed culture heritage.

make room for each other

Now so much has changed that in future there is no promise of display of camaraderie between the two communities by attending each other’s festivals. Ways to share enough space between communities and in fact have to be found, even invented. The primary requirement for this is that we look beyond our own exclusionary straitjackets and make room for others to be involved with their religious sentiments. Participation rather than exclusion is the way.

Harbans Mukhiya taught History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi