It would be good if Muslims and Hindus in Ayodhya come together for the construction of the Ram Temple at his birthplace and the construction of a mosque elsewhere in the sacred town
The ordinary Hindu or the ordinary Muslim may not view the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya temple-mosque site dispute as a personal victory or a defeat. But victories and defeats have happened at a different level. When disputing parties go to the court and receive a judgement, some lose and others win. On November 9, the pro-temple Ram Lalla Virajman got a ruling in its favour while the claims of the pro-mosque Sunni Central Wakf Board and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board were set aside.
The court judgement has bared the false propaganda the Muslim side had engaged in through the past decades. Let’s recollect that the pro-mosque lobby had rubbished the report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had pointed to the discovery of remnants of a Hindu temple beneath the demolished Babri mosque. A bunch of Left-leaning historians, batting for the Muslim parties, had ridiculed the ASI and questioned its professional integrity. This despite the fact that the ASI had conducted extensive excavations at the disputed site under the instructions and supervision of the Allahabad High Court. Incidentally, even the High Court had in its 2010 verdict endorsed the ASI’s findings. On November 9, the apex court too upheld the findings, thus delivering a tight slap on the face of those historians, some of whom had sheepishly admitted before the High Court that they were not competent enough to pass judgements.
The Supreme Court believes that ‘complete justice’ has been done in the present case in favour of the Muslim side
Incidentally, the attempt to obfuscate the ASI’s findings also came to nought. There had been efforts to spread the lie that the remnants found below the demolished mosque had been that of an Idgah, or a Jain structure — or even a stable! The Muslim parties had gone to the ridiculous extent of claiming that the material which indicated the presence of a temple had been imported from outside and placed at the site. Everything was done to undermine the faith of the Hindu community and brand them as liars.
The Allahabad High Court had at least given one-third of the disputed land to the Muslim parties, but the Supreme Court gave them none. The only concession it made was to use its special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to direct the government to provide five acres of land for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya. Article 142 states: “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until such provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.”
In other words, the Supreme Court believes that ‘complete justice’ has been done in the present case in favour of the Muslim side. But the lawyer of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has stated that injustice has been done and he would consider filing a review petition in the court. It is obvious that he refuses to gracefully accept his defeat and move on in the larger interest of Hindu-Muslim harmony. It is doubtful if such a plea if it is made, will succeed. After all, the apex court has gone into the depth of the case before pronouncing its verdict. Besides, there was no dissent among the five judges who constituted the special Bench; the order was unanimous. This leaves little scope for a review plea or a curative petition to make much headway.
Interestingly, one of the points reportedly made during the reconciliation efforts of a three-member team that included Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, was the possibility of giving land to the Muslim side somewhere away from the disputed site for the construction of a mosque, in lieu of of the Muslim parties surrendering their claim to the place which Hindus believe is the location of Lord Ram’s birth. Apparently, this was rejected by the hardliners who were obstinate in their demand for right over the disputed parcel of the land. They had been misled into believing that they had a winner on their hands.
The Muslim side failed to legally establish their claims, and all the material they presented were of no help. This is not surprising since much of their so-called evidence was in the form of opinions rendered by partisan academics. They could not counter the fact that the Hindus had been conducting prayers at the site for decades and that no namaz had been offered at the mosque since 1949.
The way forward is clear. A grand Ram temple will come up at the no-longer-disputed site. The apex court has asked the government to constitute a trust within three months, which shall overlook the construction of the temple. While it is for the government to choose the constituents of the trust, it will do well to include the major parties to the dispute, such as the Nirmohi Akhara whose claim to the ownership of the site was dismissed by the court. It would be good if, at the ground level, Muslims and Hindus in Ayodhya come together for the construction of the Ram Temple at his birthplace and the construction of a mosque elsewhere in the sacred town.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.