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Beyond The Verdict

Ram Temple –A Reality?

Rudra Sen

The recent Supreme Court verdict on disputed site of Ayodhya is not a surprise, since the country has been witnessing partisan rulings and verdicts at all levels of administrative and judicial interventions. The verdict sealed the deal in favour of Hindutva, a militant political Hindu identity and is full of self-contradictions and superstitions. On one hand the five-judge bench said "The court does not decide title on the basis of faith or belief but on the basis of evidence." On the other hand it declared "The faith of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the demolished structure is undisputed." So they gifted the land to "Ram Lala", an utterly fictitious-mythological character! Eminent historian Romila Thapar has raised an important question—"The court has declared that a particular spot is where a divine or semi-divine person was born and where a new temple is to be built to commemorate the birth. This is in response to an appeal by Hindu faith and belief. Given the absence of evidence in support of the claim, such a verdict is not what one expects from a court of law. Hindus deeply revere Rama as a deity but can this support a legal decision on claims to a birth-place, possession of land and the deliberate destruction of a major historical monument to assist in acquiring the land?" The decision of the Supreme Court that Muslims should be allocated five acres of land on which they can build a mosque in a place of prominence in Ayodhya since their place of worship was illegally destroyed is also troubling. The judgement says this is because of principles of justice, but justice would mean that the administration defends the rights of the wronged, not hand over a plot of land as some compensatory act of charity.

The 5-judge constitutional bench also ruled that the destruction of the 16th century three-domed Babri mosque on 6 December, 1992 by Hindu Kar Sevaks, who wanted to build a Ram Temple there, was a wrong that must be remedied. What the remedy they have decided? They gifted the place of act of the crime to the criminals—the Hindu Kar Sevaks! What if the Ram temple were demolished on December 6, 1992 instead of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya? I don't think the Supreme Court judgment would have been the same. In that case, the demolished structure would never have been given to the party that was involved in razing it to the ground or supporting its demolition. Former Supreme Court Judge raised another important question—"If the Babri Masjid was not demolished, and Hindus went to court saying that Ram was born there, would the court have ordered it to be demolished?"

How could one forgets that thousands of fanatic Hindu mobs were mobilised to demolish centuries-old religious place of the minority community? How could we forget that the Ram Temple mobilisation sparked off violence and riots, taking the lives of 2000 people? How could one forgets innocent people were injured, displaced and killed in the name of building a temple at a place where no historical evidence can suggest that it had existed there? How could we forget this tragedy? December 6 was one of the darkest days in the Indian history. On that day, not only the doom of mosque was razed to the ground but also the pillars of secularism and democracy were broken. Justice, therefore, cannot ignore the questions of majoritarian tyranny, violation of law and order and the Constitution and mindless murder and violence. But the judgment today hurried to please the majoritarian sentiments constructed and maintained by the Hindutva forces. The so-called bench comprising several judges made a historical blunder to paint a false picture of 'India (read Hindus) being a tolerant and secular. We must not forget that "Collective Conscience of the People" was used to hang Afzal Guru. Today the same is used for building a temple and declaring "Ramlala" to be a juristic personality. The SC has Long lost its status of Sentinel it attributed to itself in 1952.

Justice can never be done without bringing perpetrators of the demolition of Babari Masjid to justice. L K Advani, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh; VHP leaders Ashok Singhal (deceased), Giriraj Kishore (deceased), Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Champat Rai Bansal; Shiv Sena leaders Bal Thackeray (deceased) and Moreshwar Save (deceased) are the main accused in the Babari Masjid demolition case along with many other BJP leaders as well as so called Car Sevaks who were present there and participated in the demolition of the historic mosque. 27 years have passed since the demolition of the mosque and CBI has not been able to do anything credible in the case. The political fortune of all the accused had grown disproportionately after the demolition of Babari Masjid and BJP tasted powers not only in various states but at the centre also. BJP (formerly Jan Sangh) struggled with their divisive agenda and could not convince the Indians to give them more than 2 seats in the 545 member parliament for nearly 40 years. The politicians found it beneficial to politicise the issue and claimed that the Mosque was built on the place where a temple stood before, and Lord Ram was born exactly 11,000 years ago where the Mosque stands now. L K Advani, rallied up people to go destroy the Mosque. They destroyed the mosque, and right after that they got some 60 seats, and when they stirred up the passion of the "Hindutva" (Political Hindu fanaticism) to build Ram Temple they gained a majority in the house of Parliament. These politicians got the taste, and have continually sowed the seeds of discord between Hindus and Muslims and earned a super-majority in 2019 elections.

After the demolition of the Babri Mosque, the then Prime Minister P V Narsihma Rao promised the country that the Mosque would be built at the same place. It was not a party promise but a promise made by the then government. When the court is asking the government to expedite the temple building process, which means asking the government to build the temple, which in any secular society is not desirable then why nobody reminded them that there is a solemn promise of a government to build the Babri Mosque which was, as rightly pointed out by eminent historian Romila Thapar, part of India's cultural heritage. Though the court asked the government to provide the Sunni Waqf Board five acres of land to build a mosque, it remained silent on the government's promise to the nation that Narsimha Rao made. If the temple is to be constructed at exchequer's money then why not re-build the mosque which was promised by the Government of India.

No doubt, people are greeting the court with 'Jai Sri Ram'. But it actually honours the so-called majoritarian sentiment. The judgement that does not show courage to challenge the brute power of a majoritarian government cannot appeal to any same person's conscience. In his famous book "Pakistan or Partition of India", Dr B R Ambedkar correctly wrote "If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost".

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Frontier
Vol. 52, No. 25, Dec 22 - 28, 2019