In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court in a 2-1 majority verdict refused to refer the Dr. Faruqui verdict to Constitution bench. This said verdict had stated that mosque in not an essential part of Islamic practice. In recent judgment, the dissenter judge felt that matter needs to be referred to a seven judge Constitution bench. There was a feeling that “mosque not being a part of essential Islamic practice” might have had an impact on the 2010 Allahabad Court verdict which had divided the Babri mosque land into three parts, Sunni Waqf Board, Ram Lalla Virajman and Nirmohi Akhara. The argument in favour of the Faruqui case was that Namaz can be offered in an open place as well, so mosque is not an essential part of Islamic practice. On the other side, the argument is: worldwide there are so many mosques, why are mosques there, if it is not a part of Islamic practice? Surely this point did deserve a deeper consideration as it has larger implication on the society.
Now the path is paved for the hearing of the land dispute related to Ayodhya case. Though the Allahabad High Court had divided the land into three parts, the basis of that were not the land records but the faith of large number of Hindus; that Lord Ram was born there. How do we solve land disputes – through land records or through the faith of the people? This faith has been an outcome of the political campaign for Ram temple orchestrated by RSS combine, led initially by VHP and later by BJP. Can this faith determine the direction of or judicial system?
As far as claims of Ram Temple having been destroyed there over five centuries ago is very doubtful. One recalls that the time when Ram Temple is supposed to have been demolished, one of the biggest devotees of Lord Ram, Goswami Tulsi Das, was living in Ayodhya. He never recorded it in any of his writings. On the contrary Tulsi Das, in one of his couplets, writes that he can very well live in a mosque. The faith that Lord Ram was born there has been constructed over a period of time, and intensified during last few decades.
One of the great documentary film makers of our times, Anand Patwardhan, in his classic documentary Ram Ke Naam (In the name of Ram), shows as to how so many Pujaris (Priests) of so many Ram temples in Ayodhya claim that Lord Ram was born in their temple. The period of mythology cannot easily be deciphered into the narrations of history.
Now we are confronted with other problems. One is the crime of installing Ram Lalla idols in the mosque, which is very well recorded. We know of the historical circumstances leading to failure to remove the idols immediately were thwarted by the local magistrate K K Nayyar who after his retirement joined the BJP predecessor Bhartiya Jansangh. The second crime, the one of demolition of the Mosque, in broad daylight, despite the undertaking by the UP Chief Minister to Supreme Court is very well known. Liberhan Commission which went into the issue tells us that it was a conspiracy. BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati, who were on the stage from where Kar Sevaks were being incited, did enjoy the rewards of the crime as they were made ministers in the Central Government. What is happening to the dictum ‘punish the guilty’?
Nation witnessed the journalists being beaten and their cameras being broken when they were recording the act of crime. Surely, the crime of demolition must be punished. Second, the land dispute needs to be sorted out on the basis of land records. The land has been in possession of Sunni Waqf Board from centuries. In 1885, the Court did not permit the Hindus for Construction of Chabutara (platform), in the land adjoining the mosque. Even now the land records should be clear on the issue. There are attempts by some to bring in ‘peaceful solution’ and ‘out of court settlement’ to the issue. Some of these initiatives are totally articulating what RSS combine wants. They are asking Muslims to forgo their claim on the land to let the temple come up there. In lieu of that they will be given the land to build the mosque somewhere else. There are also threats that through a legislation of the Parliament, a temple will be constructed there, when BJP gets suitable majority.
Reconciliation is a process where both parties are listened to and with some ‘give and take’ issue is undertaken for resolution. This formula to give up all the land for temple construction is a very highhanded attempt to browbeat the Muslims into total submission. What we need is an honest attempt to punish the guilty and abide by the law to solve the problem. There can’t be peace without justice. The crime of Babri demolition is being presented as ‘Hindu Shaurya Divas’ (Hindu Bravery Day) by RSS combine. As such, it is a shame for our democracy! It is an outcome of the divisive communal politics, throwing our society in to dark abyss of stagnation and diversion. Our core issues relate to bread, shelter and employment. The RSS combine has built its social and political strength around emotive issues like Ram Temple and Holy Cow at the cost of the genuine issues of society. We do need to build hospitals and schools; we do need to build industries for giving employment. Ayodhya issue coming up at the time of forthcoming elections is so unfortunate. Rather than discussing the core issues of society, what will at centre stage will be the question of Temple and Mosque! How we as a nation can bring back the people’s agenda should be the central concerns for all those committed to march towards society with equality as the central focus.(Published on 15th October 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 42)