Ram Mandir case mediation a sterile exercise, says Subramanian Swamy – Team PGurus

Subramanian Swamy

PGURUSThe Supreme Court is expected to pass an order on mediation if any needed soon and continuation with the same bench or other bench on Subramanian Swamy’s petition for fundamental right to pray. – Team PGurus

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on March 7th said that the demand for mediation in the Ayodhya case is just a sterile exercise and at the most is only limited to the compensation to the parties in the decades-long pending title case and it is up to the Government, who took over the entire land to decide whom to give the land for construction of Ram Mandir. He was talking to media, reiterating his arguments presented before the apex court.

While submitting his detailed written submission, Subramanian Swamy told the Bench that the Central Government has the right to give away land to whosoever it wants after paying compensation to the others. He said the mediation process can’t solve the focal issue and it can only help in deciding compensation packages to the parties in the ongoing title case.  “P.V. Narasimha Rao Government had in 1994 made a commitment to the apex court that if ever any evidence was found that there was a temple, the land will be given for temple construction,” said Swamy.

Subramanian Swamy’s detailed written submission to the apex court is published below this report. After hearing all parties, Supreme Court said it will pass orders on whether to refer the Ayodhya land dispute case for mediation, underlining that it has no control over what Mughal ruler Babar did and is only concerned with resolving the present situation. The top court said it thinks that primarily the issue is not about 1,500 square feet land, but about religious sentiments. The Court order also said that they will also pass an order whether Subramanian Swamy’s writ petition demanding the fundamental right to pray at Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir will be heard by this bench or other smaller bench. Meanwhile, the apex court had already allotted eight weeks to settle the translation of documents in the main title challenging case.

The five-Judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which reserved verdict on referring the matter for mediation, said that it is conscious of the impact of the issue on “public sentiment” and on “body politic”. “Arguments on the issue of reference to mediation are closed. Arguments concluded. Orders reserved,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.

Hindu bodies like Nirmohi Akhara suggested the names of Justices (retd) Kurian Joseph, A.K. Patnaik and G.S. Singhvi as mediators, while the Hindu Mahasabha faction of Swami Chakrapani proposed the names of former CJIs Justices J.S. Khehar, Dipak Misra and Justice (retd) A.K. Patnaik to the bench.

During the hearing, all Hindu bodies except Nirmohi Akhara opposed the suggestion of the court to refer the issue for mediation, while Muslim bodies supported it.

“You are saying it will be a failure. We are not assuming that somebody will give it up. Primarily, we think this issue is not a property dispute. It is not about the 1500 sq ft but it is about the religious sentiments and faith.

“We are conscious about the gravity of the issue and we are also conscious about its impact on the body politic of the country. We understand how it goes and is looking at minds, hearts, and healing if possible,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the legal heirs of original litigant M. Siddiq, said that outlining of the dispute is not necessary and the court can order mediation by a mediator when parties are unable to settle it. To this, the bench said that there may not be one mediator but a panel of mediators to deal with the issue.

Dhavan said that mediation in the peculiar facts of the case can be ordered in-camera and no parties should be allowed to disclose the proceedings till the final report is filed. The bench agreed with the contention of Dhavan that confidentiality of proceedings should be maintained and said it thinks there has to be a complete ban on media reporting on the developments of the mediation process.

“It is not something like gag order but there should be no reporting. It is easy to attribute something to somebody when the mediation process is on,” the bench said. Two factions of Hindu Mahasabha took opposite stand on the issue of mediation with one body supporting it, and the other opposing it.

Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Hindu deity Ram Lalla Virajman said the faith that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya is not negotiable but the question is of Rama Janamsthan (birthplace). “We are even willing to crowd-fund a mosque somewhere else but no negotiations can take place with respect of Lord Rama’s birthplace. Mediation won’t serve any purpose,” he said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said the court should refer the matter for mediation only when there exists an element of settlement. He said considering the nature of the dispute it will not be prudent and advisable to take this path of mediation.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya is partitioned equally among the three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The case got momentum after, in mid-2015, Subramanian Swamy entered the case with a petition for seeking basic facilities to the devotees who came to pray at the temporary structure in Ayodhya.  Congress lawyers and Muslim parties’ lawyers were trying to delay the beginning of hearing of the case at each stage.

The Supreme Court is expected to pass an order on mediation if any needed soon and continuation with the same Bench or other Bench on Subramanian Swamy’s petition for fundamental right to pray.

The detailed seven-page written submission to the Supreme Court by Subramanian Swamy on March 6, 2019, is published below. – PGurus, 7 March 2019



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BJP’s Lok Sabha majority is alienating the party from its Hindu base – R. Jagannathan

Narendra Modi & Amit Shah

R. JagannathanThe Modi government, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, has actually done little to push any Hindu agenda, leave alone a Ram temple. – R. Jagannathan

With the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backing the idea of promulgating a law to enable the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Narendra Modi government has been pushed into a corner. It will be damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t.

A law, of course, won’t get the temple. Even if the Centre promulgates an ordinance to enable a Ram temple to be constructed at the Ram Janmabhoomi site, it is by no means certain that the Rajya Sabha will pass it too when the ordinance comes up for legislation. Moreover, the law will be challenged in the Supreme Court, thus bringing us back to square one. At best, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can claim that it did the best, and that is the only purpose of making such a demand before the polls.

There is also another political reality. Any temple built against the wishes, or without at least the grudging acquiescence, of the Muslim parties involved in the court challenge, will become a permanent target for terrorists and spark more communal discord in its wake. Barring a few fringe elements, ordinary Hindus will not want this to happen.

A third reality: compromise solutions are less likely with the BJP in power, unless they are driven by unconnected third parties, since it will always be seen as Hindu bullying of the minorities. The Modi government, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, has actually done little to push any Hindu agenda, leave alone a Ram temple, but it is stuck with the perception that it is doing so. The more the BJP pushes for a Ram temple, the greater will be the opposition to it. So, Congress leader C.P. Joshi’s boast, that only a Congress prime minister can get the Ram temple built, is not far off the mark. If the Congress wants to, it will fit the role of honest broker between the two sides better than the BJP for the simple reason that it is not seen as trying to shove the idea down Muslim throats. When given a choice of deciding whether the Congress or the BJP should be given the credit for building the temple, Muslims inclined to accept a compromise will most probably plump for the Congress.

Branded as a Hindu party in terms of popular perceptions, the BJP has to prove itself to be more secular than the Congress in order to hold the broad middle ground in politics. This is probably one reason why, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, the BJP managed to do almost nothing for its core constituency.

Counter-intuitively, one can say that the broader the base of your party, the narrower your policy choices, for you have to keep the interests of your diverse voter bases in mind. Conversely, the narrower your voter base, the more likely are you to keep them happy – and exercise real power.

Consider the power and clout of the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala. With a Muslim population share of 27 per cent, the league wields more power than the Congress in the state, which is in the secular middle, and thus unable to take strong positions on any issue. The same applies to the Kerala Congress and Christian politicians in the Congress. They wield more power because they do not have to speak for the entire electorate.

When it comes to the BJP, its core Hindu vote is probably around 15-20 per cent, and it would be more powerful and truer to its base if it focused on keeping this group happy than trying to expand its base endlessly, which makes it increasingly irrelevant to its base. The BJP’s natural base, in terms of Lok Sabha seats, is in the range of 100-180 seats, and its power will increase if it can leverage this base in future parliaments. Future coalitions will be happy to have a party with this many seats backing it. It means the BJP can bargain hard for its key demands—whether it is a Ram temple or a ban on conversions or something else. Even if it does not get everything, it can get something, and its base will be happy.

At 282 seats, the BJP is forced to be all things to all people. Thus, it cannot deliver anything to its core voter base. At 100-180 seats, it will wield more power than almost any party in India in an era of coalitions. Even when out of power, its sheer size will force all other parties to agree to at least one part of the agenda.

Maybe, just maybe, the BJP should consider backing the idea of proportional representation in parliament. In the vote range of 20-30 per cent, depending on which way the wind is blowing, it will never get less than 110-170 seats, come what may. It will either be a powerful opposition voice, or a key player in government. – Swarajya Magazine, 10 December 2018

» R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya Magazine.

Ram Temple in Court


 

At Ayodhya, India discovered its nationalist soul – Ravi Shankar

Babri Masjid Demolition

Ravi Shankar EttethAyodhya is the conjunction of faith and aspiration. It is possible that both would become one. Whether it will happen at the cost of one over the other will predict the contours of politics for the next 26 years. – Ravi Shankar

That day was crisp and sunny for December. The heat emanating from the crowds that had gathered on a large, grassless maidan on December 6, 1992, had its own voltage. The Babri Masjid squatted on a small hillock, its domes scarred with ugly patches, its body black and stained with turbulent history. A dinosaur from a bloody past, cornered by nationalism’s foot soldiers. I stood on the terrace of a building opposite Babur’s abomination, watching the heaving sea of people baying for blood.

They were mostly young, with saffron headbands on which “Ram” was inscribed. There were sadhus bearing shining tridents and wooden staffs. I had evaded the cops who had entered the area to take reporters away. They anticipated trouble. Unlike now, the media was not a favourite with bhakts because most magazines and newspapers—the raucous age of raging, ranting, shallow television journalism lay in the future—did not support the movement.

With the sun at its meridian, a sudden surge among the restless multitude below me caught my attention. Cheers rent the air as waves of people raced up the slope, smashing through police barricades into the disused mosque. Their roar spread through the air, scattering the birds on the domes. In the matter of what seemed like minutes, the first dome fell to pickaxes and even bare hands. Beside me, an old gentleman held his grandchild aloft and told him, “Look beta, they are setting Ram Lalla free.”

I borrowed his Ram headband and rushed down to join the crowd. Propelled by their energy, I ran up the incline into the collapsing structure which wept dust. Through the swirling plumes of collapse and clamour, a sadhu spotted me. He thrust his trident into my hand and exhorted me to pound the wall down. It was a scoop for the magazine I worked for then.

Now, almost 26 years later the old man may not be around. That grandchild would be a young man who has a job or is looking for one. His father probably drives a motorbike, and he is looking to upgrade his car. He may be married or expecting a child. A very different life from December 1992. The probability is he also voted BJP in 2014 and 2017—a vote for Narendra Modi and development.

A vote against the minority appeasement politics of the Congress. Perhaps he is now aware that Udhav Thackeray desires to become a national leader from Ayodhya and the VHP is looking for a comeback under its old Ram banner.

India discovered its nationalist soul in 1992, which was reborn as the nemesis of the Congress over four years ago. India also went through unprecedented prosperity. Ayodhya is the conjunction of faith and aspiration. It is possible that both would become one. Whether it will happen at the cost of one over the other will predict the contours of politics for the next 26 years. – The New Indian Express, 2 December 2018

» Ravi Shankar is an author and noted columnist for The New Indian Express in New Delhi.

Ramlalla Temple on the Babri Masjid site after the demolition.


 

Ram Temple: Why such a long wait? – Balbir Punj

Ram Temple in Court

Balbir PunjWhile the Ayodhya dispute is presented just as a title dispute for a small piece of land between two warring groups in a court of law, in fact it is a fight waged by a wounded civilisation to reclaim its original glory and self-respect. – Balbir Punj

Within less than two decades of raising the demand for a separate homeland, the Muslims of the subcontinent who put forth the demand managed to vivisect the country and get for themselves a theocratic Pakistan. In contrast, the majority Hindus have been struggling to reclaim Lord Ram’s birthplace in Ayodhya for the last few hundred years, with little success.

The two situations, however, are not comparable, either in their scale or their ramifications. The creation of Pakistan led to the killing of thousands and displacement of millions of innocents. Islamic Pakistan’s sole agenda since its birth has been to destabilise and dismember residual India. Rebuilding the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, in the manner of Gujarat’s Somnath, would not have hurt anyone. Instead its reconstruction would have removed a major irritant in Hindu-Muslim relations. And the proposition still holds good.

How did Pakistan become a reality in such a short time-span? Firstly, barring a few notable exceptions, the entire Muslim community rallied behind Mohammad Ali Jinnah after he articulated the demand for a separate Islamic nation in the 1930s.

Secondly, the then establishment—the Britishers—supported Jinnah’s bloody endeavour for their own strategic reasons. Since Jinnah’s divisive goal overlapped with the Left’s ideological paradigm, Communists happily worked with the Muslim League for a shared objective of dismembering India.

In contrast, the then Congress leadership, though opposed to Partition, lacked the courage to fight the divisive stratagem of the British-Muslim League-Left combine and meekly accepted it as a fait accompli. Have things changed for the better since Independence? If they have, the fate of the Ram Temple would not still be hanging in the balance.

Interestingly, the very caucus consisting of Communists, the Establishment and Islamic zealots, who worked for Pakistan’s creation, has also actively opposed the Ram Temple. The Establishment does not necessarily mean the party in power. It refers to the colonial mindset which pervades the ruling dispensation, the alienated English-educated and mostly Left-leaning elite that controls the bulk of the English media, academia, law and bureaucracy.

Despite the repeated destruction of four iconic temples—Somnath, Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya—at the hands of Islamic invaders, the temples’ subsequent phoenix-like rise from the ashes sums up the indomitable spirit of people of the subcontinent and the struggle they put up against the 800 years of alien rule to save their timeless inclusive civilisation.

Mir Baqi, when he demolished the Ram Temple on Babur’s orders in 1528-29, did not bring down a mere building. He destroyed a value system. The Babri structure erected by him on that very site was not a place of worship, but an ideological statement by a barbarian victor to humiliate the vanquished. It was the defeat of pluralism at the hands of bigotry.

Ram is not only a deity worshipped by millions since aeons. His value system and life are intrinsically linked to the identity of the nation and civilisational ethos of pluralism and morality that define the Indian public and private life. While it is presented just as a title dispute for a small piece of land between two warring groups in a court of law, in fact it is a fight waged by a wounded civilisation to reclaim its original glory and self-respect.

How has the establishment dealt with issues relating to faith in India since Independence? In 1988, Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, provoked protests from Islamic zealots in several countries, including India.  The government, under PM Rajiv Gandhi, feared a Muslim backlash and was the first in the world to ban Rushdie’s work [available online]. No legal or expert opinion was sought before denying non-Muslims (87 per cent of the population) their right to read the book, if they so wished.

The ban on the book was not based on merit, but was in deference to the supposed Muslim sentiments, or an abject surrender to a threat of violence by Islamic zealots. I am not sure if even all the Muslims in the country favoured such a ban. On 23 April 1985, the apex court in the Shah Bano case decided that a divorced Muslim woman was eligible for alimony from her husband. The Muslim orthodoxy took to the streets against it. Fearing a hostile reaction from Muslims, the Parliament hurriedly passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986, effectively overturning the SC judgment.

The Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem hosts Islam’s third holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock, a seventh-century structure believed to be where the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. The compound’s Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall to Jews, is believed to be the last remnant of the Second Temple. The Islamic tradition refers to it as the al-Buraq Wall and believes it is where the Prophet tied the winged animal upon which he later ascended to the sky.

There have been numerous skirmishes and battles for the control of this site. In all such disputes, the Communists have always sided with the warring Muslims. But none has ever questioned the Muslim belief that the mosque was built over the Prophet’s footprint and other such beliefs.

But Hindus are asked for evidence in support of their belief that Ram was born on that very site in Ayodhya. And they are also asked to prove that there was a temple prior to the construction of the Babri Mosque, which they in fact have done. Can issues relating to matters of faith (and it applies to all religions) be put to test by any known tools or adjudicated by human institutions, including courts? – The New Indian Express, 15 November 2018

Balbir Punj is a columnist in New Delhi. He is a member of the Rajya Sabha representing the BJP.

Ram Janmabhumi Graphic

Ayodhya Dispute Timeline


ASI excavations prove temple existed beneath Babri Masjid – K.K. Muhammed

Destruction of Babri Masjid in January 1992

After a comprehensive analysis of the evidences that had surfaced during the excavation and the discovery of historical artifacts, the Archeological Survey Of India came to the conclusion that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. – K.K. Muhammed

It was in 1990 that the issue of Ayodhya became hot. Before that, in 1978 itself, as a student of archaeology, I had the opportunity to survey Ayodhya. As a student of School of Archaeology, Delhi, I was a member of the team headed by Prof B.B. Lal, which was carrying out an extensive survey at Ayodhya.

We found that there existed brick foundations, which supported the pillars of a pre-existed temple. No one had viewed such findings as controversial those days. We examined the facts with due sense of history as archaeological experts.

There were temple-pillars embedded on the walls of Babri Masjid. These pillars were made of a particular stone called black basalt. There were poorna kalasas engraved at the bottom of the pillars as was the practice in the 11th–12th centuries.

In temple art, poorna kalas is one among the eight auspicious symbols of prosperity. Not one or two, there were 14 such pillars before the mosque was demolished in 1992.

I could see the pillars closely. The team headed by B.B. Lal included officials of the ASI and us 12 students from the School of Archaeology. We spent around two months at various explorations at Ayodhya. Mir Baqi, Babar’s army chief, constructed this mosque using remnants of a temple, which was either demolished by him or had been demolished by someone else.

While excavating on the back and sides of the mosque, we found brick platforms on which the black basalt pillars used to rest. It was based on these facts that I made a statement in 1990 that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. The moderates among Muslims had started to think that it is better to leave Ayodhya for Hindus and solve the dispute. Some Muslim leaders felt that leaving Ayodhya to Hindus would take the wind out of the sails of VHP. Had such voices got prominence, it would have been possible to diffuse the situation.

A few historians under the leadership of S. Gopal, Romila Thapar and Bipan Chandra started questioning the historicity of the Ramayana. They argued that there is no record of demolition of a temple before 19th century. They even declared Ayodhya to be a Buddhist–Jain centre and they took part in various official meetings as experts on the side of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC).

Many BMAC meetings were conducted under the leadership of Dr Irfan Habib who was chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). Though member secretary M.G.S. Narayanan of ICHR objected to the meetings of BMAC being conducted in ICHR, he was overruled by Irfan Habib.

The Leftist historians had tremendous influence in newspapers and periodicals, and articles published by them questioning the facts of Ayodhya created confusion in the minds of general public. They were responsible for the volte-face of even the moderates among the Muslims who had favoured a settlement.

Had only this compromise worked out, it would have been a major turning point in the history of Hindu-Muslim relations in our country. This would have resulted in the natural solution to other various contentious issues also.

This lost opportunity demonstrated that not just Hindu-Muslim fanaticism, but Communist fanaticism is equally dangerous to our nation.

My statement came out on December 15, 1990. By then, historians and archaeologists had started fierce arguments from both sides. I made it clear in my statement that I had seen remnants of a temple beneath the Masjid.

The most important artifact, which came out during demolition at Ayodhya, was the stone plaque called Vishnu Hari Shila. On the plaque it was inscribed in Nagari script of 11-12th Century in Sanskrit that this temple is dedicated to Vishnu (Rama is the avatar of Vishnu) who killed Bali and the 10- headed (Ravana).

In 1992, when Dr Y.D. Sharma and Dr K.M Srivastava studied the site they could find small statues of Vishnu’s avataras, Shiva, Parvati etc. made of clay.

These belonged to the Kusana period (100-300 AD). In 2003, when excavations were again conducted, as ordered by the Allahabad High Court, more than 50 brick foundations, which once supported the pillars of the temple were found.

The “amalaka, which is usually found on the top of the temple and makar pranali” through which the abhisheka water flows, were also excavated. Uttar Pradesh’s Archaeology director, Ragesh Tiwari, submitted a report that when the front yard of the Babri Masjid was leveled, 263 temple-related artifacts were found. After a comprehensive analysis of the evidences that had surfaced during the excavation and the discovery of historical artifacts, the Archeological Survey Of India came to the conclusion that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid.

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court also reached the same conclusion. To make the excavation impartial, it was ensured that 52 Muslims were included in the team of 131 of excavators. Not just that, the excavation was conducted in the presence of the representatives and archaeological historians belonging to the BMAC group, Suraj Bhan, Mondal, Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon. The ASI had once again, proved its impartiality. – DNA, 6 November 2018

» K.K. Muhammed is an archaeologist who was the Regional Director (North) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He is currently serving as Project Archaeological Director in the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Ayodhya Dispute Timeline

 


VHP demands government ordinance on Ram Mandir construction before Dec 6th – SNS

Saints during a VHP meeting in New Delhi on Oct 5, 2018.

The Statesman Kolkata“This is the final battle for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The government should bring an ordinance for the construction of the temple and this should be done by the end of this year,” – VHP President Alok Kumar

Upping the ante for the construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the VHP on Friday said it was fighting a “final battle” and set a “deadline” for the BJP-led central government to bring an ordinance for it in Parliament by the end of the year.

Mounting pressure on the Centre, the VHP demanded immediate passage of a legislation in Parliament for construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it cannot wait indefinitely for the judicial verdict.

The demand was made at a day-long meeting of sants which discussed the issue in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to begin hearings on the original title suit later this month and the strategy to be adopted for hastening the process of temple construction.

After the meeting, the seers also met President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a copy of the resolution to him, while requesting him to ask the government to fulfil their demand.

“A delegation of sants met President Ram Nath Kovind and apprised him of the feelings of millions of Ram devotees, sadhu-sant and dharmacharyas and urged him to make a law for a grand Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi soon,” said a resolution passed by a committee of the sants.

In the meeting, Swami Vasudevanand, one of the campaigners for the temple, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a joint session of Parliament to pass the legislation.

“We urged the President in a memorandum that he write to the Central Government asking it to bring legislation for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya,” one of the sants told a press conference after meeting the President in the presence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Working President Alok Kumar.

Addressing a press conference, VHP’s international working president Alok Kumar set the “deadline” for the government to bring the ordinance in Parliament by the year-end.

“This is the final battle for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The government should bring an ordinance for the construction of the temple and this should be done by the end of this year,” Kumar said.

Describing the Narendra Modi government as one of “Ram bhakts”, the VHP leader expressed the hope that it would acknowledge the feelings of crores of Hindus in the country and bring the law “before the sunset of 2018”.

“If that does not happen, then all the options are open before us. The future course of action will be decided during the two-day ‘Dharam Sansad’ to be held next year on the sidelines of the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad,” Kumar said.

He categorically said that only a temple would be built at the site in Ayodhya, while informing that the “Dharam Sansad” would be held on January 31-February 1, 2019 and all the prominent seers from across the country would take part in it.

Without naming Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Kumar said the janeudhari leader (one wearing the Hindu sacred thread), who had recently started visiting temples, should also support their demand.

He also mentioned that in 1989, the BJP had passed a resolution at its national meeting in Palampur for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

When it was pointed out that the matter was still sub-judice in the Supreme Court, Kumar said it was unlikely that the verdict would be pronounced anytime soon.

“I think the Supreme Court neglected its duty. We have waited for long, now we cannot wait,” he said.

Sharing the VHP’s plans for the coming days, Kumar said huge public meetings would be organised in all the parliamentary constituencies across the country, demanding an early construction of the temple.

Delegations will meet their respective MPs and raise the demand for the construction of the temple in Ayodhya, he added. – The Statesman, ^ October 2018

Carving stones for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya

See also


 

Ram Janmabhoomi Suit: Muslims and Supreme Court judges must read Sita Ram Goel – R. Jagannathan

Ramlalla Temple on the Babri Masjid site after the demolition.

R. JagannathanIt is only with a real understanding of Indian history that Muslims and Hindus can finally bury the hatchet of communal discord. – R. Jagannathan

The Supreme Court’s refusal [on 27 September 2018] to agree to the creation of a larger constitutional bench to rethink a 1994 verdict which held that “the mosque is not essential to Islam or the offering of namaaz” is correct—but partly for the wrong reasons. It is right because this was a needless red herring brought in by those who want to delay the start of hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, which will decide whether the Ram temple can be built where the Babri mosque stood. Moreover, by trying to establish—before the Babri case is taken up—that mosques are an essential practice, the Muslim petitioners hoped to pre-empt any decision in favour of the mandir.

The decision, given through a 2-1 verdict, where the majority one was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan and Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and the dissenting one by a Muslim, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, is wrong for two reasons: it is not the business of courts to decide what is essential practice in a religion, whether it is Islam or Hinduism or Christianity. Those are matters of belief, faith and practice to be decided by the practitioners themselves.

However, Justice Bhushan rightly pointed out that the 1994 judgment was made in a particular context—the acquisition of the Ram Janmabhoomi land by the government after the demolition. That judgment also did not decide whether mosques in general are an essential part of Islam; it just underlined the point that no religious structure (mosque, temple or church) is immune to government acquisition, and the only thing that can prevent acquisition is if it were to be claimed that a particular mosque had special significance for a religion.

This is what the 1994 judgment (known as the Ismail Faruqui case) actually said in para 78:

“While offer of prayer or worship is a religious practice, its offering at every location where such prayers can be offered would not be an essential or integral part of such religious practice unless the place has a particular significance for that religion so as to form an essential or integral part thereof. Places of worship of any religion having particular significance for that religion, to make it an essential or integral part of the religion, stand on a different footing and have to be treated differently and more reverentially” (emphasis added).

This is what bothers the Muslim petitioners, for it cannot be claimed that the Babri mosque had any special significance for the community. In Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, religious structures have regularly been demolished to give space for the expansion that special mosque, the one in Mecca. What bothers them is the reality that while the Babri mosque had no special significance for them, the Ram mandir in Ayodhya has enormous importance for Hindus as the deemed birthplace of Shri Ram.

It is also wrong for the court—and some of the Hindu petitioners—to treat the case as a mere property dispute and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy surely is right to shift the goalposts by pointing out that the dispute is about the Hindu right to pray at Ram Janmabhoomi. Many Hindus regard it as an affront and a denial of their own even older belief that a temple existed where the Babri was constructed–and archaeological evidence supports this claim. They believe that the building of the mosque by Babar’s general on the temple’s ruins was intended to show Islam’s religious dominance over Hinduism. The demand for the Ram mandir is essentially about correcting this.

If the courts have any doubts over this, they should read two books by Sita Ram Goel, Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them, Vols. 1 & 2 (book links below), to understand the overall context of the demand to build a Ram mandir in Ayodhya. The bench to be constituted to finally decide the Ram Janmabhoomi suit, as well as the key Muslim petitioners, should be presented copies of these books, apart from several others (of which more later) so that they know what the real issues are.

This brings us to the real underlying issue: can the courts, or even Parliament, decide this case to the satisfaction of all concerned? Whichever way the verdict goes, it is not going to make Hindus or Muslims willing to bury the hatchet and build a new relationship of greater trust in secular India. If Hindus win, and this is accompanied by triumphalist chest-thumping, it will be seen as a win for majoritarianism muscle and resented by Muslims. If Muslims win, it will tell Hindus that in secular India, even the courts are driven by minoritarian impulses, and unwilling to treat majority interests on a par with those of minorities. The sense of institutionalised discrimination against the majority will get reinforced.

The only way to ensure greater communal amity is through a mutual agreement between leaders of the two communities to allow the Ram temple to be built, in return for some concessions on the Hindu side on other issues, including possibly giving up claims to the temple sites in Mathura and Kashi, which are anyway debarred from a change in status by a law passed after 1992 by the Narasimha Rao government. The irony is that the Hindu claims are strongest in these two age-old religious centres. This in-your-face building of mosques, right next to where two of Hinduism’s holiest shrines exist, was surely a deliberate attempt by past Muslim rulers to demonstrate their religious dominance.

A compromise between the two communities, where the Ram Janmabhoomi land is shared between a mosque and a temple will be rejected by Hindus, for it means the historical record of Muslim rulers’ destructive iconoclasm will be given a whitewash.

If one were to step back and look at the genesis of this distrust, especially after 1947, one has to apportion a large share of the blame to Nehruvian and Leftist thinking, which has sought to shield Muslims in independent India from their own iconoclastic history. So, historians will now say any temples destroyed was the result of political necessity, and not Islamist religious fervour. And the Nehruvians would like to believe that a modern state must not make temples and mosques an issue today.

This is bunkum. No community or nation can run away from its past. Germans are not allowed to wish away the holocaust or the anti-Semitism of Hitler. The Chinese will never allow the Japanese to forget the rape of Nanking or other atrocities committed on its people during the period of Japanese occupation. Hindus will never be allowed to forget the damage caused by casteist discrimination. So, what is it about Islam that all historians are keen to shield present-day Indian Muslims from what got done earlier? Nobody can blame today’s Muslims for what Aurangzeb or Tipu Sultan did, but surely, they cannot be told that these rulers were not bigots.

Just as B. R. Ambedkar’s critique of caste and Hinduism should be required reading for Hindus, Sita Ram Goel’s two-volume study on the destruction of Hindu temples by Muslim rulers—Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them: A Preliminary Survey, and Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them: The Islamic Evidence—ought to be read by all educated Muslims. Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians, which critiqued Leftist history that put a rosy tint on Islamic iconoclasm, and Ambedkar’s Pakistan or the Partition of India must be read by all Muslims.

While present-day Muslims may well be aggrieved over the vandalisation and demolition of the Babri masjid in December 1992, they should also read two other books, Meenakshi Jain’s Rama and Ayodhya, and The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya. This will enable them to judge the demand for a Ram mandir in its right context.

It is significant that no “secular” or Left historian will even dare refer to these books, and that is why Muslims should read them. They will know that the Hindu case in Ayodhya is stronger than they think, and the Left has led them up the garden path by making then believe that there was no Muslim temple destruction on a large scale in pre-British Islamic India.

It is only with a real understanding of Indian history that Muslims and Hindus can finally bury the hatchet of communal discord.

Only truth can set us free from constant fratricidal conflict. – Swarajya, 28 September 2018

» R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya Magazine. 

Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them