Ayodhya: Triumph of Truth
If there is a clear winner in the vexatious dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi, it is Truth (satya), which has triumphed in the face of formidable obstacles placed by cussed political actors nurturing communal votebanks, aided and abetted by an army of rapidly secular (read viciously anti-Hindu) fellow travellers in media, academia, and of course, the west-centric activists/busybodies.
Thursday’s fractured verdict, unsurprising for a court judging around 20 different issues over a span of six decades, is laudable for the fact that the three-judge bench exuded unanimity on the essential issues – that the disputed spot was the birthplace of Sri Rama; that a temple preceded the mosque removed by mob action on Dec. 6, 1992; and that Lord Rama would not be dislodged from His abode. From 1528 to 1992 to 2010, it has been a long journey. The delivery of the judgment on virtually the eve of Diwali is fraught with poignant symbolism.
The judgment has taken the friendless Hindu community towards closure, even though the verdict divided the land among the Hindu Mahasabha, Nirmohi Akhara, and Sunni Central Waqf Board. The central dome where Ram Lalla Virajman is housed has been given to the Hindu Mahasabha.
Sites known as Sita Rasoi and Ram Chabutra have been given to Nirmohi Akhara, a Panchayati Math of Ramanandi Bairagi panth, founded by Swami Ramanand at Varanasi in the 14th-15th centuries. The panth claims direct descent from Swami Ramanuja; its greatest proponent was Gosain Tulsi Das, who immortalised the Lord in the Ramacharitamanas, written in the reign of Emperor Akbar. Gosain ji popularized the enactment of Ramlila in public, and personally participated in the performances. The panth appeared at Ayodhya sometime after 1734 AD.
There was no way such a contentious case could be perfectly unanimous. Thus, judges Sudhir Aggarwal and Dharam Veer Sharma dismissed the title suits filed by the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara as time barred, being filed in 1961 for an event which took place in 1949; this automatically confirmed the title on the Ramjambhoomi petitioners.
Justice D.V. Sharma further ruled that the building constructed by emperor Babur was built against the tenets of Islam (being a place of dispute) and did not have the character of the mosque (being without minarets). It was constructed over a massive Hindu religious structure as proved by the Archaeological Survey of India; Hindus have been worshipping the place as Janm Sthan (birthplace) and making pilgrimages there from time immemorial. The murtis were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of 22/23 December 1949.
Justice Aggarwal noted there was no clear evidence when the mosque was built and by whom, but it existed when Joseph Tieffenthaler visited Oudh area between 1766 to 1771. Justice S.U. Khan agreed the mosque was built by Babur, but on the ruins of a temple, and some temple material was incorporated in the mosque. While Justice Sharma conferred the entire land on the Ram Janmabhoomi petitioners, judges Aggarwal and Khan distributed it among the three disputants arguing that Hindu pujas and Muslim namaaz were offered in the same premises for many years; there was no formal partition of the land between them; hence they were held to be in joint possession. The last namaaz offered in the Masjid was on Dec. 16, 1949.
The case is complicated enough to vex the most acute legal eagle. To my mind, what is most striking about Ayodhya and recent high profile cases like Jessica Lal murder, Ruchika molestation, Nitish Katara murder, etc., is that the prolonged delay in the judicial process ultimately gave justice to the beleaguered litigants. This is because the cover-up / tampering with evidence and witnesses that could have resulted in miscarriage of justice if rapid trials were held, could not be sustained in prolonged litigation and petered out, even as the social and political environment changed. It is a sobering lesson for those in a hurry.
The greatest vindication at Ayodhya is of the Archaeological Survey of India, whose experts work diligently to excavate and preserve the truth of our heritage in the face of extreme nastiness from arid Lib-Left academicians who grab state funding and western patronage to denigrate India ’s civilisation and culture. At Supreme Court direction in 2003, the ASI worked under the glare of a hostile media disinformation campaign, to unearth the truth that recovered the Ram Janmabhoomi as a Hindu heritage and validated Hindu civilisational memory.
Special gratitude is owed to late Prof B.R. Grover, who single-handedly researched the medieval archives in Faizabad and discovered that Mughal-era revenue records listed the site as Masjid-e-Janmasthan – a direct reference to Sri Ram. Late Prof Swaraj Gupta assisted Prof B.B. Lal in his seminal work in Ayodhya, and had the brainwave of bringing a radar team to scan the surface below the ruins. The finding that there were man-made structures below prompted the apex court to order excavations; the rest is history…
The most positive aspect of the judgment is that a peaceful settlement can be reached without political parties or Parliament. Both the Hindu Mahasabha and Sunni Wakf Board are aggrieved and plan to move the Supreme Court. The Muslim community would do well to resist overt and covert incitement by badly beaten and bruised secular fundamentalists who could barely conceal their rage in television studios.
Muslims must accept with grace the basic letter and spirit of the judgment - that the land belongs to Sri Rama. The Sunni Wakf Board is open to negotiations, which is welcome, as it is difficult to perceive a situation in which the apex court will overturn this verdict and order ouster of Ram Lalla Virajman. We could borrow a solution from the old Arab practice (enshrined in Islamic law) wherein compensation can be offered to aggrieved parties. This would bring closure to all without aggravating the sentiments of any community.
The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com