Ayodhya verdict

The verdict is finally out. It needs a strong legal acumen or a deep knowledge of history and mythology to actually understand the nuances of the decision. Moreover to comment on a High Court judg...

The verdict is finally out. It needs a strong legal acumen or a deep knowledge of history and mythology to actually understand the nuances of the decision. Moreover to comment on a High Court judgement without going through the text of the judgment itself will only add to the hollowness of the argument. But from that entire Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi debate certain things emerge quiet clearly. One part to Muslims, one to Hindus and one again to Hindus.

The question is not that of faith, but of justice. That is why it has hurt even modern, secular and  areligious Muslims who otherwise are not much bothered about their Muslim identity. They take the decision as a legal endorsement of the same vandalizing act which happened in full public glare on Dec 6, 1992. Whether Lord Ram was born or not is a discourse rooted in mythology.

Whether Babar made a mosque at a spot which was originally a worshipping place for Hindus is again a subject grounded in history.  Court though can't adjudicate the matter of belief, but court has to address the demands of justice. What happened just 18 years back is a memory too fresh to be buried under the debris. Of course religions must not be made a contention of, but the issue is not that of ideologies, but principles. As Sunil Khilnani in his Idea of India defines Babri Masjid as the Ground Zero of Indian democracy, but with this decision it has turned out to be the Ground Zero of Indian judiciary also. If a mosque existed there for five hundred long years, that was a physical fact too monumental to be overlooked. By virtually ignoring this aspect, the court, as liberal school of Indian Muslims also believes, has set a precedent of treating minorities as  second class citizens.

More hurting is the debate about `Young India' or `Modern India' which they say must move ahead without caring much about the past. But the distinction deliberately overlooked is not between `Young India' and `Old India', or between `Ancient India' and `Modern India'. It must have been between `Just India' or Unjust India. `Ganga jamni tehzeeb' sure is a civilizational reality, but why is it being marketed only at a time when minorities are silenced. No doubt no relic of history is worth a life. No doubt co-existence is the only way to exist, but such a foundation can't be laid on the rubble of a demolished structure. You can't talk liberal platitudes by evading certain harsh facts. It's not the matter as to whose god is to be worshipped. Religion for a while is to be suspended from the  whole issue to make it appear a pure property dispute. Paying one after having the other robbed can only be a travesty of fairness.

Building a school or a hospital at the disputed site may seem to be a `mutually acceptable' middle-path that will ostensibly put the whole matter to a permanent end. Even if that is done, the demand of justice will still be the same. India, on one hand is claiming to have made giant strides on the path of democracy. But the way things are shaping up are increasingly taking it towards the Talibanisation of a nation which they appear to be so deadly against. Then what right do we have to protest against the statutes of Buddha in Bamiyan. If the same happens in a democratic India what happens in an obscurantist Afghanistan, where lies the line of difference. So the very argument of `emancipation' sounds duplicitous when the basic rights of minorities stand endangered. In a Hinduised India minority rights will either be usurped or will get drowned under the pleasantries of peace and co-existence. Ancient India or Modern India, protection of Rights is a perennial demand. Let the whole land go to Hindus, but let the facts be known.

Sure faith binds us together and faith must not set us apart. No harm if Hindus and Muslims worship at a single place to symbolise an example of communal harmony. But that can't be done by replacing democracy with majoritarianism. This way, the idea of justice will always clash with the idea of India.

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